Title: All-Source Victory on the High Seas!!
Release Date: 2018-03-01
Document Date: 2005-11-04
Description: The U.S. Navy worked with the NSA to find a handset traveling with a shipment of narcotics in the Arabian Sea. The French navy boarded the vessel, seizing 3.5 tons of hashish. But the handset was no longer on board; it was subsequently located on the vessel from which the drugs had been transferred, and the crew of that vessel was also taken into custody.
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(U) All-Source Victory on the High Seas!!
FROM: SIGINT Communications and
LCDR Victor Spears and LCDR Jamie W. Achée, USN,
Run Date: 11/04/2005
(S//SI) The " hash highway " -- a smuggling route in the Arabian Sea -- recently was the
backdrop for a multi-INT, multiple nation collaborative effort which halted a large shipment of
narcotics whose profits most likely would have supported terrorist-related activities. This
takedown contributed to making the maritime route a less desirable venue for smugglers and
terrorists. The story of this U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and Intelligence
Community success follows.
(TS//SI) NAVCENT's Geo Spatial Metadata Analysis Cell (GSMAC), drawing on information held in
several NSA databases, detected and geo-located a suspicious VOICESAIL handset off the
Makran Coast, Pakistan, on 23 May 2005. Dialing analysis established that this particular
VOICESAIL handset was linked to individuals in Pakistan who had terrorist connections,
suggesting that the person(s) using it also may be involved in terrorist activities.
(TS//SI) During the target development process, GSMAC analysts collaborated with the
NAVCENT Maritime Interception Operations Cell to identify this handset as a "Contact of
Interest," thus prompting a Fleet Intelligence Advisory directing Fifth Fleet units to locate the
vessel the handset was on, conduct surveillance on the vessel, and board it. The GSMAC was
able to track this handset for another 3 days, until, in a strategy used by smugglers making runs
along the Pakistan-Yemen stretch known as "Hash Highway," it went silent for the 6-9 day
voyage to Ra's Fartak, Yemen.
(TS//SI) One week later, the GSMAC detected this same handset in communication with
associates in Pakistan while off the coast of Ra's Fartak. Based on tips from GSMAC, a U.S. P-3C
maritime patrol reconnaissance aircraft was deployed with the goal of identifying vessels in the
area that may have the handset onboard. On 3 or 4 June, the P-3C observed suspicious cargo on
the deck of one such "candidate" vessel, the dhow SAFARI:
(U) The SAFARI (U) Over 3 Tons Hashish Seized On Board SAFARI
(S//SI) This observation justified a boarding by authorities from the French vessel FS CDT Birot,
who quickly found an unconcealed load of 3.5 tons of hashish. Responsibility for this capture was
moved from the Birot to the USS OKANE.
(S//SI) Although SIGINT led officials to the drug-carrying vessel, HUMINT revealed that another
vessel had set first off from Pakistan with the goods and transferred them to the SAFARI. Here's
how this played out:
(S//SI) Personnel from NAVCENT and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) questioned a
suspect who had been moved from the SAFARI onto the USS OKANE. Initial questioning of
SAFARI's crew determined that the original VOICESAIL handset was not onboard the SAFARI
and that an at-sea narcotics transfer, from a yet-unidentified vessel to the SAFARI, had occurred
one day prior to the SAFARI's boarding. The timing of this transfer was confirmed by analysis of
VOICESAIL dialing data.
(S//REL) Over the next several days, a P-3C and a UK NIMROD maritime patrol aircraft, acting
upon VOICESAIL tips provided by GSMAC, located a vessel which they believed may be home to
the VOICESAIL handset. This vessel, the dhow AL HAMEED, was boarded off the Pakistani coast
by officials from the Canadian patrol frigate HMCS Winnepeg; questioning revealed that:
the suspect VOICESAIL handset was indeed aboard the AL HAMEED;
the hashish was offloaded from the AL HAMEED to the SAFARI on 3 June;
, master of the AL HAMEED, is the brother of
, a suspect questioned on the SAFARI.
...This crew was also taken into custody.
(S//SI) Intelligence gleaned during debriefings - to include cellular telephone numbers
confiscated from the dhows and information on other Pakistan-Yemen operations - was
published in ten Intelligence Information Reports.
(TS//SI//REL) The story of dhows SAFARI and AL HAMEED is more than just a tale of drug
interdiction at sea. Associates of this smuggling network have ties to foreign fighters, arms
trafficking, and to Al-Qa'ida and other terrorist organizations, according to NSA, CIA, and DIA
(S//SI//REL) This success is owed to the real-time merging of tactical and strategic intelligence
gained from SIGINT, HUMINT, and IMINT (each discipline associated with a different member of
the Intelligence Community) as well as from international cooperation . This collaboration
enabled authorities to locate these two small vessels in hundreds of miles of open ocean. MultiINT operations such as this one have forced smugglers in this area to move their routes inland
or farther south of the Hash Highway - interruptions like this negatively impact their operations.
In-depth analytic collaboration such as this is crucial in identifying and disrupting these types of
"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."
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DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108