Title: SUSLAK's 'News of the World'

Release Date: 2018-03-01

Document Date: 2005-08-18

Description: Since 1996, a Cryptologic Services Group special liaison in Seoul has been sending out an informal daily email newsletter for NSA staff targeting North Korea. The newsletter is focused on key intelligence issues encountered by U.S. Forces Korea. The liaison staffer is hoping to turn the newsletter into a blog, but is “not sure NSA’s computer systems or philosophy is ready for such a thing.”

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(U) SUSLAK's 'News of the World'
FROM: John Sharon
CSG USFK/Ground (F45)
Run Date: 08/18/2005

(U//FOUO) Special U.S. Liaison Advisor-Korea (SUSLAK) organization issues newsletter
(S//SI) Before coming to Seoul, Korea in the summer 1996 for my first tour at CSG-USFK*, I
was told by the S2B4 managers that one of the things they wanted was information about what
the J2* was interested in. My predecessors had done a fine job in answering RFIs* and
representing SIGINT, but really hadn't let the folks back at Fort Meade know what USFK was
doing.
(S//SI) So when I got to Seoul, I started sending informal daily updates to about a half-dozen
folks at HQ. With a bit of irreverence, I named it "News of the World," a reference to a song by
The Jam, a 1980s British New Wave band, about a particularly sleazy UK tabloid.
(S//SI) There seems to be a demand for this sort of thing, because nine years and several
authors later, the "News" has grown into a rather hefty document with a worldwide circulation of
more than 200 North Korean SIGINTers. The "News" has succeeded because it fills a niche. NSA
has added a whole battery of formal measures, tasking vehicles, and VTCs to connect the
customer requirements with the producers. However, I have found that a lot of people still want
to read a single informal, easy-to-access daily e-mail that addresses the key issues facing the
most important consumer of North Korean military SIGINT: the USFK J2. Lastly, there's a
nuance and timeliness that you can't get from the formal vehicles NSA has available.
(S//SI) The "News" covers a broad range of items. At its core are articles from the USFK J2
Black Book (the authoritative J2 USFK daily intelligence assessment), notes from the USFK
Combatant Commander's 0900 morning meeting, and commentary on what USFK J2 analysts
are talking about. We also include RFIs, write-ups of conferences, VTCs and meetings we attend,
administrative issues, and papers we provide USFK J2 analysts.
(S//SI) Sometimes, I'll toss out an idea designed to elicit responses from subscribers to the
"News" because I try to run the publication as a two-way street. There are a lot of smart people
with interesting ideas and great information in the NK SIGINT community. I want those ideas
and information so I can feed them to the USFK J2 folks.
(S//SI) Operationally, the point of the "News" is to let SIGINT producers know what
the USFK J2 consumers want so that they can better provide it. With requirements broadly
written, producers have considerable discretion as to what they decide to report. The "News" has
resulted in reports being written that addressed specific high-priority concerns of USFK J2
analysts that otherwise might have gone unanswered.
(S//SI) In a philosophical sense, the "News" is also a teacher. Reading it provides an ongoing
education as to what consumers are thinking and how they think, which is especially useful for
junior analysts digging away in the SIGINT trenches. Finally, there are a lot of people who just
want to know the bigger intelligence picture on North Korea because they are serious
professionals who care about the target.
(S//SI) Over the years, the "News" has become the day-to-day face of the CSG-USFK. From the
comments I receive, folks read it and like it, although often for very different reasons. And thus,
I have considered starting up a new service -- "News of the World Blog" -- but I'm a not sure
NSA's computer systems or philosophy is ready for such a thing. Not yet anyway.
(U) This article is reprinted from the Foreign Affairs Digest July edition.

*(U) Notes:
CSG-USFK = Cryptologic Services Group, U.S. Forces Korea
J2 = Director of Intelligence (see an explanation ).
RFI = Request for Information

"(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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