Dead Drop: July 15

POLAND’S FIRST NATO OFFICER: Last week, on the day the NATO summit opened in Poland, an exhibition was opened in Warsaw honoring Colonel Ryszard Kukliński, a Polish military officer who started providing Warsaw Pact secrets to the CIA in 1970.  “Ryszard Kukliński was, in fact, Poland’s first Polish NATO officer, and so the opening of the exhibition on the first day of the Alliance’s summit is no coincidence,” according to Filip Frąckowiak head of Colonel Kukliński Intelligence Museum.  According to Radio Poland “The exhibition features 19 display panels documenting the life of Colonel Kukliński and his mission to thwart the Soviet Union’s top secret war plans for Europe in 1970-1981. These included blueprints for an attack by the Warsaw Pact countries, comprising the Soviet Union and other communist countries in Eastern Europe, against Western Europe.”

NIC KNOCK: The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is an arm of the Director of National Intelligence charged with producing finished intelligence reflecting long-term strategic analysis based on the views of the entire intelligence community.  The NIC’s premier product is the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), a document designed to give policy makers the IC’s best judgment on complex issues.  But a Dead Drop source tells us that the NIC has produced no NIEs in 2016 at all.  The NIC elders (called National Intelligence Officers or “NIOs”) have been producing lots of short papers for NSC Principals and Deputies – but the NIE drought comes at a time when you would think the nation’s leaders could really benefit from some help in their strategic thinking on the myriad of national security challenges currently facing the nation.

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: The LA Times reported over the weekend on the arrest of Gregory Justice, a 49-year-old employee at a defense contractor, for trying to sell U.S. secrets to someone he thought was a Russian.  Turns out it was the FBI.  According to the Times, Justice (whose name seems like it was made up in Hollywood) is a big fan of “cinematic secret operatives such as Jason Bourne and James Bond.” But, according to the paper, he “had a special love for The Americans, the FX series about KGB spies in the United States.”  Apparently he didn’t pay close enough attention to the tradecraft to get away with his crime.

BERENSON’S BACK: Prolific novelist and ex-New York Times correspondent Alex Berenson will publish his 11th novel in January.  This one, called “The Prisoner,” brings hero John Wells back to his roots as an undercover al Qaeda jihadi. Wells manages to get himself captured and imprisoned alongside a hardened ISIS operative being held in a secret Bulgarian jail.  The mission: to find out who the high level spy is among the ranks of CIA’s top leaders. Some real-world talking heads will tell you that the best way to get information out of a detainee is to become his friend – but it sounds like John Wells is taking that to the extreme.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR (SER)VICE: Back in May, former NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe wrote in The Cipher Brief that the political parties would be wise to consider former senior military officers to fill out their 2016 slates.  Maybe some people were listening.  Since then, there have been persistent reports that retired Lt. General Michael Flynn is under serious consideration to be Donald Trump’s VP.  And earlier this week, General Stanley McChrystal’s name was floated for the same position. The Dead Drop is not sure if McChrystal (a member of TCB’s network) is interested.  Then on Tuesday, it was reported to the surprise of many (but subsequently confirmed) that the Clinton campaign is vetting retired Navy four-star James Stavridis (another TCB network member) to be Hillary’s running mate.  O’Keefe even cited Stavridis in his TCB piece as “a huge asset for any ticket.”  In the July 1 Dead Drop we predicted there will be some surprises in the Veepstakes.  Maybe we were right.