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bombing. In doing so he no doubt made it clear to the country's leader,
Muammar Qaddafi, that he'd better change his codes or get new crypto
equipment. In his blast over leaks Odom said, "Leaks have damaged the
system more in the past three to four years than in a long, long time."
Then, asked about the disclosure of the Libyan intercepts, which had
been revealed by President Reagan, Odom said, "Libya, sure. Just deadly
losses." He refused, however, to elaborate.
Odom also created a storm over his handling of the aftermath of the
Iran-contra scandal. In December 1985, as a cabal of Washington
officials, including William Casey, plotted to send missiles to Iran in
exchange for the release of hostages being held in Lebanon, Lieutenant
Colonel Oliver L. North of the National Security Council staff turned to
NSA for help. He wanted a number of specially designed "KY-40" laptop
computers containing secure encryption chips so he and his fellow
conspirators could communicate secretly via e-mail while traveling.
At the suggestion of a fellow staffer on the NSC, North was referred to
John C. Wobensmith, a senior official in NSA's Information Systems
Security Directorate, which is responsible for developing, distributing,
and keeping track of all codemaking equipment. North told Wobensmith
the machines were needed for his work with American hostages in
Lebanon. Because it was a covert operation, North said, he decided to
deal with NSA himself.
Wobensmith claims that shortly after he was approached by North he
walked up to Odom, who was passing between offices, and had a brief
stand-up conversation with him. "I know you are supporting Colonel
North," Wobensmith says Odom told him. "I authorize you to continue
doing that support, give him what he needs, give him a couple of KY-40s
if he needs them." Odom later said he did not recall the conversation.
Wobensmith passed on the computers to North but failed to have him
sign a receipt for them, a fact that would later come back to haunt him.
Two years later, following the devastating scandal that erupted as a
result of the Iran-contra affair, a senior official at NSA recommended that
Wobensmith be suspended without pay for fifteen days for the slipup
over the receipt and for giving inadequate instructions to North about the
KY-40s' use. But a four-member appeals board, after five days of
hearings, recommended that no disciplinary action be taken and
awarded Wobensmith about $50,000 to reimburse him for his legal fees.
Odom was incensed. He believed that Wobensmith was responsible for
casting the agency into the public spotlight, a rare and unforgivable sin
in NSA's secret city. He was also worried that Lawrence E. Walsh, the
Iran-contra independent prosecutor, might now have reason to turn his


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attention to NSA. "You didn't hear the name of this agency come up in
the hearings," Odom once boasted. "The reason was I understood Oliver
North's ilk long before most others did. I made damn sure this place was
straight." According to one person with knowledge of the events, Odom
was also upset that Wobensmith seemed to enjoy his contacts with the
"political scene" in Washington. He told another person that the violation
of proper procedure was inexcusable and that if Wobensmith were a
soldier, he would have had him court-martialed.
As a result, Odom reversed the panel's decision, ruled that
Wobensmith should be reprimanded, that he receive only $1,229 for legal
fees, and that he be ordered hidden behind the "green door"”away from
any public contact”as quickly as possible.
Many NSAers were outraged, some believing that Wobensmith had
been scapegoated by the director. Wobensmith's boss, Edwin R.
Lindauer, Jr., the deputy director for information security and one of the
agency's most senior officials, protested Odom's action to the appeals
board. "I personally am very upset," he said, "when I find a person
dedicated to performing his duty has to defend himself against his own
director, and pay considerable funds to accomplish that." Lindauer went
on to say that the incident was one of the "significant factors" that drove
him into retirement. "I am totally disgusted with the management and
policy of this agency," he said, "that castigates a person such as John."
Wobensmith didn't know what had hit him. Before the charges arising
out of his failure to get receipts from North, his supervisors had been
preparing to recommend him for a bonus. Several years earlier he had
been one of four people nominated by the agency for a Federal Career
Service Award as a result of his extensive voluntary public service”he
spent between thirty and forty hours a week doing volunteer work in his
community.
After his demotion, people turned away from him. "I was pretty much
isolated," Wobensmith said. "I saw a lot of fences going up, a lot of doors
closing." The shunning was especially difficult to bear given the unique
hardships of working in NSA's secret city. "We deal with our families in a
very special way when we work in this place," he said. "That is, we can't
tell them what we do. I think they understand that growing up, but when
there comes a time that they know you've worked so hard, and they see
this kind of thing, they say: 'What's happening? This is a place you're
dedicated so much to. Why is [it] that, suddenly, you're in essence being
abandoned?' "
Eventually, Odom himself was basically shown the door. He was
reportedly passed over for promotion to four-star rank as a result of
differences with Reagan's secretary of defense, Frank Carlucci. At the
same time, the Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended against



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extending his tenure at NSA beyond the typical three years. "It was made
clear to him he was no longer welcome," one source told Bill Gertz of the
Washington Times. Odom had a different take. "I've had a hell of an
impact on this agency," he said. "I've really kicked this agency into line."
Odom's departure opened the way for the Navy to sail back to NSA.
The first naval officer to become DIRNSA since Bobby Inman, Vice
Admiral William O. Studeman seemed almost his clone”apart from the
new director's likeness to Wallace {My Dinner with Andre) Shawn. Like
Inman, Studeman was born in Texas and, also like Inman, he had most
recently been director of Naval Intelligence. "I think it was just fortuitous
that all the stars happened to be in the right place in the heavens," he
said of getting the job. "This is clearly the main gun of the intelligence
community."
He was sworn in as the twelfth NSA director on August 1, 1988; upon
moving into his office on the top floor of Operations Building 2B, he
found a number of problems left over from Odom's disastrous reign.
"There were some morale problems when I came here," Studeman
recalled. "I got the impression that NSA had become quite insular." Odom
also tried to push on Studeman a number of his pet projects. "He clearly
wanted his thrusts to continue and had a vested interest in his thrusts,"
said Studeman.
On top of Odom's agenda was his plan to spend enormous amounts of
money to make his eavesdropping satellites "survivable" in the event of a
Soviet attack. Most senior officials at NSA thought the idea loony. "It was
clear this agency did not want to spend the money on survivability," said
Studeman. "They wanted to spend it on Sigint . . . and there was a sort of
a major effort down there to wait out General Odom or to slow-roll him
on the issues." Studeman also rejected Odom's arguments. "Early on," he
said, "I chopped all those survivability initiatives off. ... I think General
Odom had some frustrations about his ability to make decisions,"
Studeman concluded, "or talk about issues and actually have the system
respond around here."
Studeman also found the agency widely split along cultural lines.
"This place is cut seven ways from Sunday with cultures," he said. "You
have the way NSA itself is organized, whether it's linguists or engineers
or mathematicians or cryptologists or support people. ... Or if it's Army,
Navy, Air Force, or NSA, or whether it's research people and operators, or
whatever."
When Studeman arrived, the Cold War was still hot and the Reagan
largess continued to flow. Besides expanding its own network of listening
posts around the world, NSA began helping to beef up its partner Sigint
agencies in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Since the
signing of the UKUSA Communications Intelligence Agreement on March



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5, 1946, the partnership had grown continuously. By the late 1980s,
there was barely a corner of the earth not covered by a listening post
belonging to one of the members, or by an American satellite.


A key member of the UKUSA club is Canada's diminutive but
resourceful Communications Security Establishment (CSE), which grew
out of the World War II Examination Unit. In 1946, the Canadian
Department of External Affairs recommended the creation of a new
national signals intelligence organization. Thus was created the
Communications Branch of the National Research Council, with a total
of 179 employees. Britain supplied many of the intercepts for the
fledgling agency, which, by 1962, had grown to about 600 staff members.
In 1975, when the CBNRC still had about the same number of
employees, a series of orders transferred it to the Department of National
Defence, where it took its present name. Situated near the Rideau River
in a suburb of Ottawa known as Confederation Heights, CSE is
headquartered in the nondescript Sir Leonard Tilley Building, at 719
Heron Road. Five stories high and L-shaped, the brown brick building is
surrounded by a high fence and barbed wire. An underground tunnel
connects it to an annex, a windowless $35 million block of cement
designed to prevent any signals from escaping. On the roof is a silver
forest of antennas. By 1996 CSE had more than 900 employees and its
budget was about $116.8 million (Canadian) a year. Manning listening
posts in various parts of Canada are about 1,100 military intercept
operators. Inside, desks are grouped according to the regions of the world
and many employees sit in front of computer screens, their ears cupped
in plastic muffs.
For a time during the late 1970s, as NSA was celebrating its
enormous success with satellite eavesdropping, the CSE was becoming a
dinosaur. The more satellites circled the earth, transmitting rivers of
intercepted data, the less NSA depended on the CSE ground stations
sweeping in over-the-pole signals from the Soviet Union. At the same
time, the CSE's codebreaking organization, O1 Division, was on life
support. Much of the information was still being processed by hand.
Only one person, Ed Cheramy, truly qualified as a cryptanalyst, and even
he worked only on ancient, manual systems. When he died in early 1981,
CSE effectively went out of the codebreaking business for a time. The
agency's computer setup was primitive. According to Canadian
documents, CSE's targets "had become very sophisticated and difficult to
analyze" and its cryptanalytic department "had a poor reputation as a
dead end, being unproductive." In the words of one insider, O1 "had
become obsolete and unreliable."
Thus, in early 1980 a decision was made to bring the organization



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back to life. New blood was pumped in. In 1979, Peter Hunt, formerly the
CSE liaison officer to NSA, had taken over as director general of
production, replacing Jack Dornan, who had held the job since way back
in the late 1950s. Within a year, Hunt was named chief of the entire
CSE. As a first step he reached out to NSA for help, sending down one of
his organization's most gifted scientists, Thomas Johnston, who held a
Ph.D. in physics and was a dynamo with advanced math. Johnston
returned with an expensive prescription. It called for aggressive hiring of
mathematicians expert in such esoteric fields as stochastic and Markov
processes, shift register, and polynomial theory. The entire cryptanalytic
staff needed to be rebuilt, and a powerful supercomputer was required.
At the time, CSE's Sigint database was loaded on IBM 370 mainframes,
and obsolete PDP-8 and PDP-11 computers were used for linguistic
analysis.
The multimillion-dollar price tag for the supercomputer was resisted
by the budget office. Nevertheless, Johnston continued to argue his case.
(In the meantime, he managed to convert one of the IBM computers into
a codebreaking machine able to supply him with the critical daily key on
a foreign cipher system he had been attacking.) At first Johnston pushed
for the purchase of a $3 million”$5 million Control Data Corporation
Cyber 740, largely because NSA was also considering buying one.
Eventually, however, NSA went with the newer, more expensive Cray X-
MP and Johnston was forced to plead for even more money to keep up.
Faced with what NSA calculated was "a 40-year catch-up" in
computer cryptanalysis, the Canadian government finally bit the bullet
and approved the purchase of a slimmed-down Cray, the X-MP/11
(modified). It cost $12,082,000 (Canadian) with the required Cray
maintenance contract and instantly became the most powerful computer
in the country.
The mighty machine was set up in an expansive, air-filtered computer
center. At beige terminals, sixteen cryptanalysts tapped out complex
questions while their mechanical wizard quietly crunched numbers,
spitting out results in illionths of a second. Instructing the whirring
brain was an NSA Sigint software package, the Folklore operating
system. NSA also trained a number of Canadian cryptanalysts and
computer operators in the Cray's use.
Catching up in cryptology was an expensive undertaking. By 1994,
the CSE had spent a whopping $34 million (Canadian) on the X-MP
alone. Over the 1980s, it has been estimated, the modernization of CSE
cost upwards of $100 million. By 2001, the staff had grown to about 900,
upping the annual budget to $98 million. Adding to the cost was a new
twenty-four-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Canadian Sigint Operations
Center (CANSOC).



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Much of the collection is done by intercept operators attached to the
Supplementary Radio System, whose headquarters are at Tunney's
Pasture, in Ottawa. Among the CSE's listening posts are those located at
Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Leitrim, just south of Ottawa in Ontario.
Its antenna farm includes four large satellite dishes, and it listens to
diplomatic communications in and out of Ottawa. At its Gander,
Newfoundland, post the CSE has a giant elephant-cage antenna and
concentrates mostly on naval intercepts. The Gander listening post is
connected with NSA's worldwide Bullseye high-frequency direction-
finding network. Several others are largely operated remotely. These
include Alert on Ellesmere Island in the Northwest Territories, which for
decades has monitored Russian over-the-pole communications, and CFS
Masset in British Columbia, which also has a giant elephant-cage
antenna.
Among CSE's targets are such allies as Japan, South Korea, and
Mexico. As at NSA, trade intelligence has become a big priority. During
negotiations leading up to the 1992 North American Free Trade
Agreement, CSE intercept operators were very busy. "They spied on the
Mexican trade representative during the NAFTA negotiations," said Jane
Shorten, a former CSE linguist. "I just remember seeing those
summaries. I know my colleagues who were Spanish linguists were
working really hard at that, doing extra hours." Under Project Aquarian,
Shorten monitored South Korean diplomatic reaction to meetings with
Canadian trade officials about the CANDU nuclear reactor. She also
eavesdropped on communications in and out of the South Korean
Embassy in Ottawa.
"Knowledge is power," said Liberal Member of Parliament Derek Lee.
"When we as Canadians sit down with another country to negotiate an
agreement, our negotiators must be possessed of as much knowledge as
they can get their hands on. There isn't a country in the world that
wouldn't do that."


While the Canadians may be the new kids on the block when it comes
to signals intelligence, the British virtually invented Sigint”hundreds of
years before signals even came along. As early as the Elizabethan period,
at least a few people in England knew that the Crown secretly read

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