September, 1997....there's another inspection team in country... a biological
inspection team, headed by a scientist named Dr. Diane Seaman.
UNSCOM is full of unique characters, and she is one of the unique characters.
She is a coldly efficient woman, a warm human being but, man, she is
professional as the day is long.
And Diane was doing no-notice monitoring inspection. And normally, a team
would show up, and you arrive in the front of the building, and the Iraqis
greet you, shake your hand, you go in and you have a cup of tea with the
director, you talk about your program, then you go off and you monitor the
Well, Diane said, 'I'm not going to play that game this time. We're going to
show up and we're going to go straight to the back stairs and go upstairs, and
see what happens.'
As she got upstairs she ran into two guys coming downstairs who had briefcases.
They saw her, she saw them, they tried to bar the door and run. She said, 'No,
not in my lifetime,' and she got the door open. Imagine it: These are two
burly, Iraqi special security organization personnel, running away from little
Diane Seaman. She caught them, she intimidated them, she was the alpha dog.
She got them in the room, and got the briefcases from them.
She opened up the briefcases and started rifling through, and the first thing
she sees is the letterhead of the Special Security Organization. Now... if you
see something about the S.S.O., that's critical. And she went, 'Ritter told me
about that, this is big.' And she starts flapping through, and she sees
biological activity staff of the S.S.O. Man. Looked through more: Clustering
and gases, gangrene, something the Iraqis had weaponized, a prohibited
No further questions. Locks it up, hands the briefcases to one of her
inspectors, says, Take them down to the car and get out of here. And the guy
got out, and as he was going down and getting in the car, the big Iraqi team
came up, burst in, said, 'We want the briefcases.' Too late, Diane had already
taken them back to the BMVC, where they were studied more.
One of the sites that we had wanted to inspect was the Al Hyatt building. We
had information that it was the administrative offices of the Special Security
Organization and we felt that certain activities, to include the biological
activity, were being conducted there, at least staff was headquartered there.
And Richard Butler had decided that that was too confrontational, and that he
was going to scratch that off of this inspection.
But I now have documentation [from Diane Seaman's discovery] which justifies
this kind of activity. So I worked with Diane and we coordinated with Richard
Butler, and we confronted the Iraqis at an evening meeting. And Richard
Butler said, If the Iraqis don't answer your questions, you're authorized to do
a night inspection of the Al Hyatt building.
So, we go in, and we start meeting with the Iraqis, asking questions, and
they're not giving us the answer we want. So, after a while I interrupt the
meeting, I say, Look, we can do it the easy way, or we can do it the hard way.
The easy way is, we ask a question, you answer it to our satisfaction, and
we'll confine this discussion to this room, and we'll be done tonight. The
hard way is, we ask a question, you don't answer it to our satisfaction, and
then we're going to run a night inspection, and I'm telling you, you're not
going to like it. And they were like, But you said your inspection was done.
I said, You can start it again in a heartbeat, by not cooperating.
Apparently, they might have thought we were bluffing. We asked the question,
they didn't give us the answer, we terminated the meeting and went back, got
final authority from Richard Butler, and now we assembled an inspection team to
go to the heart of the presidential palace area in Baghdad, where Saddam
Hussein lives and works. In the middle of that is the Al Hyatt building, where
the Special Security Organization had offices.
And we take off in a convoy of about 14 vehicles, Diane Seaman, me, the rest
of the inspectors. Now, in the front of me is a vehicle driven by my operations
officer, the brilliant Chris Cobb Smith, a former Royal Marine, artillery
gunner, courageous man, a brilliant planner, and he's navigating us in. He and
I had spent hours looking over U-2 photographs, picking the best route in.
So, he's leading the convoy in, as navigator. As we approach the turn-off to
the Al Hyatt building, we come to an intersection. Now, we had anticipated
that there would be a roadblock there, but there wasn't, the road was clear,
light was green, so Chris' vehicle starts snaking through. Light turns yellow
at that point, so Chris accelerates through, because standard operating
procedure is, once a convoy commits through a traffic light, we all go through.
Normally, what the Iraqis do is block traffic to get us through. We don't want
to have a convoy split, in the city.
So, he accelerates through. As he accelerates, an Iraqi Special Republican
Guard, one of the elite troops protecting Saddam Hussein, who's supposed to be
manning this roadblock, had apparently been snoozing on the side, wakes up and
goes, My God, cars. So, he comes up and he slaps Chris' car, but Chris just
kept going. He turns around, and there's my car. Now, I have a French driver
that night, a French military officer, whose command of the English language
was limited. And I look at the situation. The guy's got a gun. And I said,'
We might want to stop the car right now.' And he keeps going, towards this
soldier. The soldier's screaming, shrill voice, panicked. I said,' We really
might want to stop the car right now, go ahead and stop the car.'
He keeps going, straight at the solider. The soldier locks and loads his
weapon, puts it on fire, gets down into a crouch -- I mean, he's ready to fire.
You see him bracing, and he's screaming.
I turn, and I scream at the top -- 'Stop the damn car, you son of a bitch.'
Stops. The guy's screaming, getting ready to shoot, and I'm thinking, 'That's
it, we're dead,' when this flash of green comes off of my right shoulder. It
was one of the Iraqi minders, the people who escort us, and he jumps between me
and the soldier. A spilt-second, I think, we would have all been dead. The
solider now has it, and he's screaming at this guy, getting ready to knock him
Meanwhile, another guy comes up, a Special Security Organization uniformed
officer, pulls his pistol, points it at this Iraqi colonel, then points it at
me, he's got it leveled at my head, and he's going back and forth, the
soldier's going back and forth, screaming at the top of the voice, and I'm
thinking, 'This is really interesting.'
Chris, meanwhile, is zipping on, and three Iraqi vehicles were following him at
high speed. So, Chris is moving on fast, and in front of him there's another
check point. And you see guys pulling out RPGs, rocket propelled grenades,
loading machine guns, getting on their knees, ready to shoot. I grab their
radio, and I don't want to make any sudden moves because I've got these two
goons, who are very nervous: 'Chris, you might want to stop the car, these
guys have guns. '
And Chris had an Australian driver, a military guy, at the wheel, who's a very
cool character, and slowly, without screeching the brakes, stopped the car.
The Iraqis come in front of him, and we finally get Chris back, and the
situation calmed down, somewhat.
Later on, we had more S.S.O. guys come out, and they were not happy about us
being here. These were big thugs come out, and they're all waving their
pistols around, and a lot of guns in the area, a lot of testosterone and a lot
of adrenaline and a lot of energy. And it was a very, very tense situation
there for a while. We got it calmed down and we were able to get people
focused on the matter at hand, which was, do we -- are we going to be allowed
to proceed to the Al Hyatt building? The answer, in short, was no.
But it was a tough situation, and it's about the closest, I think, we came to
getting a lot of people killed. It was just that close.
The first week of the inspection [in June 1991], we played by the rules that
the I.A.E.A. had before the war. We would tell the Iraqis that the next day,
'we would like to inspect this area.' Of course, the next day they wouldn't
allow us in, and ultimately would lose the material.
Finally, after a week, I decided that we're going to use the full powers we
had under the UN Resolution 687 and carry out a no notice inspection.
Because otherwise we weren't going to find anything. So we suddenly appeared
at the gate of a military facility and demanded access.
The poor commander of the base that day said, "I have no orders to let you in."
But he made what turned out to be a genuinely fatal mistake for him. He said,
"You can put up as many members of your team as you want to on this water
tower, which is right inside the gate." So I had four of my daring-do members
climb this 50 meter water tower, and literally-- because we video-taped this--
if you look at the timeline of the video, it's about 90 seconds into it and it
looks like dinosaurs rolling around the back of the base, there's so much dust
being stirred up. What had happened is the calutrons were stored on these
very large tank transporters, which are about 90 feet long, actually, some of
the bigger ones. And they were charging out the back of the base.
Now, this was a problem for us, because the photo interpreters had told us,
"Don't worry about covering the whole perimeter of this huge base, because
there is no rear entrance. Well, there was a rear entrance. It was a very
small one, but the Iraqis decided to use it, and that's what kicked up the
dirt. So I had the team split and go around the base to try to get parallel to
the calutrons being moved, and stop them or photograph them. In the process,
the Iraqis decided to fire shots over their head, but we did get the
photographs. And the photographs are damning as to what the Iraqis were
The humorous story.. is, we threw together these inspection teams. There was
no preparation during the war for them. So it was come as you go with whatever
equipment you had. Rich had managed to bring his family's camera, the only
camera he had. And his wife had told him before the mission, "One thing:
don't lose this camera. This is our brand new camera." So the Iraqis, after
firing shots over their heads, stopped finally, ran the team off the road, and
demanded the cameras and the film. Well, Rich, at that point, had secreted the
film in a place that the Iraqis were unlikely to easily find, but he didn't
want to give up the camera, so he managed to convince the Iraqis, "It's not a
camera. It's binoculars." I later told him, "Give up the camera. We'll chip
in together. It's the film that's ...(inaudible), not the camera." But he
remembered his wife's charge to him.
And that [inspection] was a turning point... the senior officials of the
I.A.E.A., including the Director General, had wanted to declare that Iraq was
in total compliance, because we had in the first mission found everything that
they had said they had. And it was only because a few of us were determined to
look at the evidence seriously and really see if in fact we had found
everything-- that we had a second mission. Well, this was proof that no one
could deny. It was physical evidence of a very, very large uranium enrichment
program. And it was also the evidence of concealment, that from the very
beginning, the Iraqis had not been living up to their obligations. And you
couldn't deny that.
Starting in July  we had evidence from a defector that they were
consolidating documents [describing their nuclear program], and some evidence
as to where the site was...
By late August, early September, we were convinced that, in fact, we knew where
the documents were, and we decided to conduct this inspection mission. This
was a mission going after the very heart of the program, and in fact we were
We got the documents, and the Iraqis were astounded. In fact, one of the
documents we got is still an amazing one-- an order to the Iraqis two weeks
before we arrived, saying that I would be leading the team. They thought we
would be going after the documents and they were ordering the Chief of
Security to the building to empty the building of all sensitive documents. He
wrote back on the bottom of the memo, "I can't do it in this time frame." And,
thank God, he wasn't successful in that time frame. We suddenly were in the
building, and the Iraqis realized we had the damning evidence, the full extent
of their program. And this was laid out exactly in black and white that they
were proceeding to produce a nuclear weapon. Not just enriching uranium, as
they claimed: "Well maybe we did that. But we didn't have any intent to
produce a weapon." This described their progress in great detail towards
producing successfully designed nuclear weapons.
And so they kicked us out of the building, literally, by force, and said, "You
can leave the parking lot, but you're not taking these documents." We said,
"If the documents don't go we're not leaving the parking lot." And so, that
was the source of that standoff. The determination of our team of
international inspectors that their mission was sufficiently important that
they were willing to be hostages, or as the Iraqis preferred to refer to us,
"guests of the state," in a downtown Baghdad parking lot.
If you're in a situation like that, you survive by two things. A), you've got
to go through the normal bureaucracy of filling out reports anyway, so you keep
the team busy that way. And you think of how you make the Iraqis more
uncomfortable than they're making you. That is, you don't let the pressure
focus on you. I mean, it was dangerous, from our point of view, for us, but
you forget, it was also dangerous for the Iraqis. Here they had a group of 43
inspectors stuck in a parking lot, not letting them go. They didn't know how
the U.S. and the Coalition would respond. And we kept trying to emphasize to
them that they didn't know how, and that it could be dangerous for them. We
had the advantage--it was the first time that satellite communications made a
difference to an international inspection.
I had the rule, on every inspection I led, that as soon as we got to wherever
we were inspecting, we set up a satellite telephone. Now, in the first
mission, it was two suitcases-- two huge suitcases. By the time of the
September mission it was the size of a modest sized briefcase. That's how much
the technology had progressed. So in fact, we were in communication with the
rest of the world. People could and did call in from wherever to ask to
interview. So we did that as a means of keeping the world informed of what the
Iraqis were doing. The Iraqis had no way of understanding the power of the
world's media and the larger public as they focused on that issue. And by the
time they figured out that this probably wasn't in their interest-- We now
know they considered taking out our satellite communication capability, but
they were worried. How would the world respond if suddenly we went off the
And we did that. We played on that as a means of keeping pressure on them.
Now, let me say, we got out of that parking lot not because of communications;
we got out of that parking lot because the Security Council was united behind
the inspection purpose. And that's the real difference of what changed over
the eight years. When I came out of that parking lot raid, I went back to a
private member meeting of the Security Council. The first two states to speak
in support of what we had done after I finished a briefing, were Cuba and
Yemen, neither states generally friendly to the United States nor personally
friendly to me at any time in my career.
They were united. This was not something led by the United States or the
British. There was a strong Security Council purpose there. And my great
regret is, in fact, that purpose is gone now. And I think that's what's
happened to UNSCOM. The Coalition has fundamentally fissured.
Back then, the world was worried about Iraqi nuclear weapons. There was a
period of optimism that if in the post-cold war world, that the Council could
act together, it could deal with the threats of the peace. I guess in
retrospect, maybe it was naive optimism that the UN Security Council could do
the role that was intended for it in 1945. In '91, '92, that still prevailed.
But certainly by '94, '95 and now in '99, that optimism is gone. It's gone as
a result not only of Iraq, but because of Somalia, as a result of Rwanda, as a
result of Bosnia and Kosovo now. And fundamentally, as a result of Russia
One last thing on the parking lot incident. You're surrounded by the
Iraqis, and yet you're on a satellite phone to CNN!
That's correct. You know, that's the power of communication. In fact, it's
the first time I personally realized, the Earth really is round, because you
would sit there, and not only was it CNN. You'd do the Japanese morning
television news, the Australian-- I had a very accurate understanding of where
the sun was at any one time, because of the schdule of morning and noon and
"Live from the Baghdad parking lot, David Kay."
Well, my favorite interview was actually a Chicago radio station called in and
asked what we really wanted. I said, "We'd really like some pizza." Because
we were existing off of MRE's and there was a promise, "Well, don't worry.
When you get out of the parking lot we'll see that you get Chicago pizzas."
We're still waiting for those pizzas, as the matter of fact
[But] I think the Iraqis were genuinely worried about military action being
taken place. And that's why they didn't take the satellite telephone down.
"Shake the Tree" was, you could say, the last desperate effort of UNSCOM to
break through Iraq's concealment mechanism. You had in Iraq many overlapping
layers of special services, whose principal job was to foil UNSCOM's work; to
anticipate where UNSCOM would go, to build cover stories, to evacuate the
material. There were networks of temporary and more permanent hide sites.
Sometimes they tried to develop a good cover story for UNSCOM, and sometimes
they didn't even bother. Toward the end, this competition was increasingly
One of the last inspections that Scott Ritter did, he shows up at the
headquarters of Special Security Organization Directorate in downtown Baghdad.
It's a site from which he's been barred before. They've recently been given
permission to go back into Iraq. So he shows up at this site. As he's driving
up, the power-- quote unquote-- fails. Lights go dark. Unexplained power
outage. "Sorry about that, Scott." He goes into the building, using
flashlights through the hallways, and in every office, he finds a clean desk, a
man with a mustache with two or three sharp pencils and two or three empty file
folders, and they ask him, "What do you do here?" And he says, "I register
marriages." This is at the Special Security Organization headquarters in
And so it was very much in your face by the end. The Iraqis saying, "We know
what you're trying to do and we're never going to let you do it. You're not
going to catch us at it." So "Shake the Tree" is an effort to puncture through
all these walls of deception and cover up. And it goes like this:
There will be a very open effort by UNSCOM inspectors to come upon a sensitive
site. Simultaneous with that, there will be covert efforts to look and listen
to what the Iraqis are doing in response to the UNSCOM approach. Now from the
start, they've synchronized U2 overflights with these inspections. They've
synchronized some other overhead assets like U.S. satellites or signals
aircraft that are operating on the edges of Iraq. This time, they're using
these ground based scanners to listen to Iraqi radio communications.
This is significant because Iraq has no reason to believe that these can be
listened to. First of all, they're encrypted, using the best European
technology that money can buy. Second of all, they're VHF signals, meaning
that they are quite short range, and that means it's very, very hard to hear
them from space or even from aircraft. So, they have good reason to think that
these are secure. UNSCOM, in cooperation with the United States, Israel and
Great Britain, has brought in these scanners which are capable of intercepting
these signals and recording on the digital tape. The tapes are then brought
out and they are stripped, which is the intelligence term for breaking the
code, and they are then translated form the Arabic. And even then, you need to
understand the way Iraqi communications security works.
Even when it's encrypted, they're still speaking in a kind of code. For
example, they would never use the word "missile." Sometimes they would say,
"eagle" when they meant "missile". But, gradually UNSCOM is learning a great
deal about Iraqi concealment methods and who's ordering it and who's running
the organizations. For example, they find out that the people who look like
traffic cops on all the streets where UNSCOM is driving are operating on the
network of the intelligence services, and are being given information and
providing information about UNSCOM's movements in real time. Because one of
UNSCOM's cardinal principles was no advance notice. You would know which site
was being inspected when the inspectors turned up. But you'd know a little
sooner, because you knew which direction they were heading, and the traffic
cops were reporting back and so on. This is perhaps not surprising. But
UNSCOM broke through the mechanism of the concealment in an effort to come up
with a way of catching these hidden caches, either in place or on the open
road. If they ever got to a point where they arrived where the materials were,
and they were under guard, then they would simply be turned away, and then it
becomes a matter for the Security Council.
Every now and then, though, they would catch the Iraqis where the stuff isn't
under guard. There was the case back in '91 where the Army Major managed to
photograph the calutron. There is a case much more recently-- I think it's
September of '97-- when a diminutive female microbiologist from the University
of Florida-- decides to go in the back door instead of the front door of a food
laboratory which she's inspecting, because all those sorts of laboratories are
dubious. And two great big, husky, Iraqi security guards clutching briefcases
literally run into her on their way out the door as she's on her way in. And
she says, "Stop." And they don't know what to do. There's this woman standing
in front of them. And they turn back around and run back inside the building.
And this woman starts running and chasing them. And she catches them. And at
this point I guess they could either shoot her or give her the briefcases, and
they gave her the briefcases.
And this is the kind of thing that "Shake the Tree" was supposed to create:
more and more opportunities like this, in which UNSCOM finally would get its
hands on the hidden stuff.
The famous office safe that was planted at UNSCOM headquarters in Baghdad.
Can you discuss this?
Well I chuckled when I found out that the UNSCOM people had used an office safe
to camouflage their intercepting equipment because that's exactly what I did
when we had to mount an operation in Moscow. We used an office safe to house
all the intercept equipment and also to protect it from radiation which
emanates from all equipment. It's called tempest radiation. An office safe
prevents this radiation so we used it many years ago.
So the reason you use a safe is because the surroundings.. steel cover of
the safe prevents what?
Prevents the unwanted radiation coming from the equipment within that safe
radiating out to perhaps a van which would be sitting on the street close to
the embassy, that's one reason. The other reason is when you've finished your
operation for the day, you slam the door of the safe, you swing the combination
lock and it just looks like an ordinary office safe.
Right. But the shielding is to prevent the buggers being bugged.
Absolutely, that's what it's for. Now you do have to shield the front of the
safe with a copper mesh so the knobs to the receivers and demodulators etc come
through a copper mesh. Again, this thing is completely airtight and 'tempest
proof' they call it.
And you developed this in Canada?
Yes, we did. We did that many years ago and used this in Moscow at our embassy
What did you call it?
We called it Stephanie. It was a code name given to that operation. Stephanie
was the name of the daughter of one of the chiefs of the organisation I worked
So in Baghdad they actually had a safe in place. Would that then have had
to be adapted?
Yes. Primarily drill some holes in the bottom so you can get some power into
the safe in your antennae cables, that's primarily what you have to do. And
drilling a hole through a safe is not too difficult a task. And then they
would have to protect the front of the safe with copper mesh or something like
that. But if the safe is on site, it's fairly easy to do.
Now open the safe door for me and I see about 5 trays. What are they
Well you would have one which would be a pre-amplifier which would amplify the
signal as it comes from the antennae. Then you'd go into a de-modulator which
breaks the signal down into a readable form. And if the signal contains two or
more signals on their own, then you would have to de-multiplex it, and then
What does that mean?
It means to break the two signals apart. You can put two telephone calls, for
instance, on the same line. Well you'd have to de-multiplex it or separate the
two into two separate conversations. And then you would have maybe some other
gismos, a scanner might be in there to pick up active frequencies. You
probably have.. oh maybe a recorder button would be in there too to record the
conversations or whatever it is you're after, and something maybe to change the
analogue to digital form so it would be easy to record, and then maybe compress
Well I want to raise that with you. The bottom tray apparently was the
compressor for all the signals. How would that work?
That compresses it timewise. If the signal is already in a digital form you
just push the digits closer together timewise. So instead of taking 10 micro
seconds to transmit a word it would only take 2 or 3 micro seconds.
The famous burst transmission.
The famous burst transmissions yes.
Now how do you transmit from that office safe? Where would the information
have gone and where would it have finished up and how would it have been
It would have been transmitted from the office safe to a location safe but
outside the borders of Iraq. In this case I believe it's Bahrain. It would be
transmitted there by low power microwave signal - very, very low power - in a
burst transmission so very difficult for the Iraqis to intercept that.
Where's the transmitter?
It would be in the safe also. A very, very small low powered transmitter,
right within the safe, and the antennae used to intercept the signals would be
used also to transmit the burst transmission out.
But if the safe is shielded from interception, how can it then transmit
Oh it goes by a coaxial cable through the holes in the bottom of the safe to
the transmitter which is probably concealed in the form of a video camera or an
air vent or something on the roof of the building or close to it.
In fact we're told there was a video camera on the roof disguised as an
Common practice used by the Special Collection Service to hide
So that's both receiving and transmitting?
Can be used for either one, yes, and usually is.
I'm told that there was something that identified key words so that not too
much material was transmitted to Bahrain. What would that have been and how
does it work?
Well I am familiar with the system called Oratory which was developed by the
NSA to filter out the unwanted conversations on transmissions. You feed into
Oratory the words that you want the intercept on, such as Saddam Hussein, such
as Inspectors, such as anthrax, whatever you wish. You feed these words into
this computer and tell the computer you want all conversations or
communications containing these words. The other end of the computer you feed
in all the intercept that you get, and coming out of Oratory would be the
intercepts that you asked for containing these words.
Where is Oratory and what does it look like?
The Oratory that I was familiar with was about the size of a bread box. Now
I'm sure today they've reduced this down to the size of a package of American
cigarettes or even smaller.
Would that have been in the safe?
Yes, that would have been in the safe also unless it in itself is tempest
proof. Now the Oratory that I worked with was tempest proof so you could leave
it out - but not necessarily so.
So the signal then goes from UNSCOM headquarters in Baghdad to Bahrain, and
it's received by what?
Would be received by a normal dish antennae, it would receive that, Bahrain,
in that form, and maybe broken down for some real time analysis and real time
If you're getting real time reporting, logically that information would go
to the nearest base we know of which would be Royal Airforce, Akrotiri in
That's a logical place to send it, yes.
But we know some of the signals went to Fort Mead.
So again, how would that be transmitted and what happens when the
information gets to Fort Mead?
If the information received at Bahrain is in an analogue form it would be
changed to a digital form. It would be multiplexed together. You'd have more
than one transmission and in this case I believe it's five. You'd put these
five transmissions together in a digital form, then you would multiplex, in
other words mix them all up. So you'd have five conversations mixed up
digitally. Then they would be compressed into a very small time frame, then
encrypted and then relayed via satellite from Bahrain to NSA at Fort Mead or
the Special Collection Service at Belsville Maryland, and at that location they
would do the opposite. They would decrypt it, decompress it, de-multiplex it,
get the plain language and do a long-term analysis.
Now we're told that a substantial amount of the signals that came in were
garbage. Is that the usual...
Always the case. Yes, that is most usual. I would say 99.9% of the
material intercepted in any one location is garbage and goes to ground. But
that .1% that you get is a gem, it's the Hope diamond.
It will be denied.. it will be formally denied that the process that you've
just talked about took place.
Of course. Of course it would be formally denied.
Well I don't think anyone in that business would get up and say yes we are
doing this. The plausible deniability is so easy and done by all countries
that participate in this.
How would equipment have been brought into Baghdad?
Baghdad historically is a very difficult capital city to get the equipment
into. It is known that they X-ray all diplomatic bags coming into Baghdad and
going out of Baghdad. Very, very difficult to get equipment in. I do know
that in the early days when I was involved in an operation the Americans were
not very welcome in Baghdad but the British were somewhat more welcome. So the
British were able to bring into Baghdad receivers, demodulators,
de-multiplexers, literally piece by piece, knob by knob, in diplomatic bags,
that is the normal way.
But if the bags were X-rayed, why weren't these things discovered?
Because they were normally wrapped in tin foil and then put into a tin box
of some sort and concealed. So when the bag is X-rayed, all that will show up
is just a square box of something.
So your best bet on that one, how Stephanie was smuggled into
Well Stephanie was definitely smuggled into Moscow that way, but the British
into Baghdad would have been going by diplomatic bag. It's the normal way to
Can I ask you about some of the eavesdropping and bugging equipment - I
suppose it's the same really - that according to Ritter was left in Baghdad and
was used. What are we talking about here?
Well we could be talking about a number of different types of equipment,
probably some stuff that was bought at the local radio shack and modified for
that purpose, probably some stuff that was developed by the Special Collection
Service at Belsville, Maryland, probably some stuff that they could probably
obtain right on the open market in Baghdad and modified for their own
What kind of bugging equipment would we not expect to see?
Very little. I would think in Baghdad just about every type of bugging
equipment that has been used by the NSA or the GCHQ was probably in use
No, but what did you use that was really unusual?
We used listening devices, in Moscow and other places, to intercept
conversations of the leaders of that country that we used that type of
But what did the bugs look like?
Oh the bugs looked... we never used bugging of rooms, we didn't use that
type of bugging at the organisation I worked for. Again, the RC impeded that
sort of thing. But when I was in the business, bugs were quite big and
difficult to conceal, and I know nowadays they're very small and very difficult
I want you here really to talk about pigeons and twigs and roses and so
I didn't know you're into that because they're not bugs, those are
What about intercept devices?
Well I do know that the Special Collection Service was able to have some
very sophisticated and funny intercept devices. An example would be right in
Washington DC. The Soviet Embassy there was a very difficult embassy to plant
a bug in an office, but one of the engineers at NSA decided to catch a pigeon
which always sat on a ledge of the window of this office and bug the pigeon.
So the pigeon actually contained a little receiver and a little transmitter and
a little antenna, and as it sat on the window ledge of this office it picked up
the conversations within that office and transmitted them to an NSA van just
down the street.
And it worked?
It worked very, very well. Typical NSA fashion, after the operation was
over they caught the pigeon, removed the bug, but stuffed it as a memento and
it sits there at NSA as the prize.
Any other devices like that for...
Tree branches commonly used also at the embassy in Washington again, the
Chinese Embassy. It was known that the Ambassador would not hold classified
conversations in his office because he thought that his office was bugged,
which in fact it was, but he did go outside and sit on a garden bench on a
regular basis and talk to his senior advisors on presumably classified matters.
So again the NSA got a tree branch, fashioned one similar to it out of fibre
glass and then planted the bug inside this tree branch. On a very windy night
in Washington DC the branch was thrown over the fence of the Embassy and it sat
right underneath the bench where the Ambassador held his conversations, and
again it transmitted these conversations to a van down the street.
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