I wrote GMJ 8, Code Name Odette, about ciphers & codes and the problems the West has in decrypting the messages they intercept. Before Snowden betrayed NSA secrets (it was open knowledge anyway) there is no doubt that most of the signals were intercepted and read and it saved lives. After his extraordinary delusions of doing good by betraying his superficial knowledge, ISIS upgraded their security with no less than five new encryption programs. Now it is a major problem but there are even more concerns.
Intelligence analysts had long since worried about the fact that the radicals are smart enough to play counter intelligence games. You always think when busy with counter terrorism that you are the hunter. You track them down and when you get them cornered you kill them or kidnap them and then kill them or arrest them if official. In covert operations no one is ever arrested, detained and interrogated yes, but no courts are involved and the habeas corpus rule don’t count for much (it is still there but since no daft lawyer knows you got his client detained he cannot do anything). Obviously this leads to abuse which is why the liberals and others are so much against covert operations.
They have reason to be. It was a South African covert operator, Colonel Eugene de Kok who commanded a death squad called C1 during Apartheid who made the offhand remark that “covert operations are always illegal.” The need for secrecy then is of extreme importance but once again, even with the best of intentions, abuse does take place. It is a never ending circle argument for which I have no answer really as it is needed at times but not approved. What is important though is that many an analyst suspects that radicals are groomed to infiltrate Western Agencies as penetration agents. This is a real problem.
We discuss this in Code Name Odette (GMJ 8) and Code Name Sanford (GMJ 9) which will be published in about two weeks. (The editor and cover designer are still busy with it.) It was vastly interesting what took place and a good read as all GMJ Books are well researched and factually correct. If you look at what we know you will see that the radicals have a strong Syrian Intelligence influence written all over them. How do we know that? Logical deduction when you read the so called “Al-Qaeda Manual” which was found and came to the fore on the computers of the London Tube bombers in 2005. Most of the operations described in that “manual” are against Mossad (known in the GMJ Books as “the Jerusalem Water Works” as they are sometimes referred to in my world). Now interestingly, the question is who trained Syrian Intelligence and the answer goes back all the way to the Soviet Union. It is extremely logical that the pupil almost always follows the master and what the Soviet Union in the form of the KGB and GRU were well-known for was penetration agents.
A penetration agent is a person with no known affinities to the enemy working inside the Agencies supposed to find him. Kim Philby and the Cambridge Five (or ten, who knows) is the classic example of this and a horror story by itself. I have no doubt that such penetration agents are planted and that the radical Muslim problem will be with us for a long time yet. Violence has a way to create a circle of violence and once started it is hard to stop with both parties claiming the right to revenge. Therefore it is logical to assume they will play the longer game and that means penetration agents which are not a quick operation – it takes many years and even decades. However they are planted now and in the last five years.
In Code Name Odette, GMJ 8, you can learn a lot about the world of codes & ciphers with real cases mixed in between as well as a historical look at how it was used (and abused) in history. The research broke my computer. I got to one website and it suddenly crashed (highly abnormal) and in the end I had to completely restore it to as it came out of the factory. Not even professional IT people could fix it and had them puzzled. Now in the book you will read Angelique Dawson making a comment to Major Foxtrot that he should not research ISIS ciphers or his computer will crash. As with many things inside the books that took place, my computer did crash spectacularly and I do not really believe that it was by chance. We know that many websites are controlled by Agencies and they are smart people well able to take note on who does what. I can tell you, I will not visit that website again or reveal the name.
It is further astonishing to me that whenever I publish a new GMJ Book I find a few days later a news story on the topic in the book (it is by chance, I assure you). Like now we have one saying the NSA (no such agency) cannot break the ciphers anymore and they do blame Snowden even if it is not said so directly. The facts speak for itself, after he revealed his knowledge they sharply and immediately upgraded their security. This was not by chance at all.
Technically, there is a remarkable difference between a code and a cipher – you can read Code Name Odette and find it explained in terms which even I understood. It is so interesting what came out - the Morse Code of dots and dashes is not a code but a cipher, I did not know that but it is the book and as always you can take for granted none of the characters say anything without me able to validate it to you. I really hope readers enjoy GMJ 8, Code Name Odette.
George M James is a pseudo name for the author and used for security reasons. He is an expert on counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations in sub Saharan Africa, a military and war historian and published author of 43 books. His late wife was an American Patriot that served with the U.S. Navy. His books are widely read among military veterans of many nations.