Title: InSIDer's View of History: SIGINT Appearing in the Press (repost)

Release Date: 2017-04-24

Document Date: 2004-12-07

Description: (Repost) The Reagan White House likely leaked a SIGINT report to the Washington Post about the Sandinistas purchasing a helicopter in an effort to convince Congress to fund the Contras, according to an NSA senior intelligence authority.

Document: DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL

(U) InSIDer's View of History : SIGINT Appearing in the Press (repost)
FROM: Deborah Maklowski
NSA/CSS Senior Intelligence Authority and IA Skill Community Advocate
Run Date: 12/07/2004

(U//FOUO) Note from SIGINT Communications: This article first appeared in May 2004. We
asked Deborah Maklowski to describe a memorable incident from her career...
(S//SI) The one that comes to mind occurred in the mid-80's, when I was working Polish Military
Trade & Aid, and President Reagan was trying hard to convince a reluctant Congress to fund the
Contras in Nicaragua.
(S//SI) I'd been following a deal in the making between Cenzin, the Polish government entity
that handled foreign military sales, and the pro-Soviet Sandinista government of Nicaragua for a
(one) helicopter (the Sandinistas were NOT big spenders). Poland manufactured and sold a lot
of helicopters, mostly for crop-dusting, and I didn't track those sales, but when I got the specs
on this one and saw that it would be equipped with rocket launchers, I put out a report.
(S//SI) When I got back into the office the morning after the report was released, my branch
chief asked me how much money I'd gotten for my Washington Post article: he then showed me
my SIGINT report reproduced as an article in the Post. The only change to the text I'd written
and released was the lack of classification. My guess is that the White House, which was looking
for anything that would help make a case with Congress for support for the Contras, just
unilaterally decided to release the SIGINT to the press, without asking and without sanitization,
as yet one more piece of evidence of Soviet (well, sort of) support for the Sandinistas.
(S//SI) Twenty-some years later, I have to admit that my outrage at having a fragile SIGINT
source put at risk so cavalierly was tempered by a guilty sense of pride that the Post had not
seen fit to edit my text at all!
A Lesson in Personal Accountability
How a Four Star General Once Waited for a Lowly Captain to Finish Eating Lunch
In SHAPE, In France
"Soviet Rocket" Strikes Chicksands
Onboard Air Force 2 Bound for Moscow
Testifying Before Congress... Who Turned Out the Lights?
Resourceful NCOs at Goodfellow
Desert One - The Iranian Hostage Rescue Mission
Meeting President Reagan
"Local Support" as Stress Management
Quite a Welcome!
The Adventure Continues -- Evacuation from Belgrade
(U//FOUO) Do YOU have a story to tell? We want to hear it! Please see the kickoff article for
details.

"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet
without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)."

DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS
TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL
DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108

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