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

Release Date: 2016-12-07

Document Date: 2004-05-28

Description: 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//FOUO) InSIDer's View of History : SIGINT Appearing in the Press
FROM: Deborah Maklowski
NSA/CSS Senior Intelligence Authority and IA Skill Community Advocate
Run Date: 05/28/2004
FROM: Deborah Maklowski
NSA/CSS Senior Intelligence Authority and IA Skill Community
Advocate
(U//FOUO) Note from SIGINT Communications: In the course of an
interview with Deborah Maklowski, we asked the question, "What
was the most memorable experience you've had during your
career?" Ms. Maklowski's response follows:
(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!
(U//FOUO) See other editions of InSIDer's View of History :
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

SERIES:
(U) InSIDer's View of
History '04
1. InSIDer's View of
History ... A Lesson
in Personal
Accountability
2. InSIDer's View of
History : How a Four
Star General Once
Waited for a Lowly
Captain to Finish
Eating Lunch
3. InSIDer's View of
History : In SHAPE,
In France
4. InSIDer's View of
History : 'Soviet
Rocket' Strikes
Chicksands
5. InSIDer's View of
History: Onboard Air
Force Two Bound for
Moscow
6. InSIDer's View of
History : Testifying
Before Congress...
Who Turned Out the
Lights?
7. InSIDer's View of
History : Resourceful
NCOs at Goodfellow
8. InSIDer's View of
History : Desert One
- The Iranian
Hostage Rescue
Mission
9. InSIDer's View of
History : SIGINT
Appearing in the
Press
10. InSIDer's View of
History : Meeting
President Reagan
11. InSIDer's View of
History : 'Local
Support' as Stress
Management

(U//FOUO) Do YOU have a story to tell? We want to hear it! Please
see the kickoff article for details.

12. In SID er's View of
History : Quite a
Welcome!
13. In SID er's View of
History : The
Adventure Continues
-- Evacuation from
Belgrade

"(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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