2.2 SPYWARE: PROMIS Software
The Eitan-Maxwell affair
PROMIS (Prosecutors Management Information Systems) was the Dept. of Justice’s (DOJ) case management information system during the 1970s. It was developed through contracts and grants from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) to a small IT firm named INSLAW (Institute for Law and Social Research), run by William and Nancy Hamilton. Before founding INSLAW, Hamilton was a contractor in the R&D unit of the NSA who set up listening posts to monitor the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war.
The IT revolution was toddling along with its rolling out and databases were very primitive. They were neither relational nor interconnected with different categories of data. Hamilton best described these inefficiencies:
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The United States government, the most powerful government in the world, has internal information systems which are mired in the archaic technology of the 1960s. There is a Department of Justice database, an Attorney General's database, and an IRS database. Every arm of government has its own database. But none of them can share information. That makes tracking offenders almost always difficult and building cases against them a long and bureaucratic task.
Relational databases emerged in the 1970s with IBM, Oracle, and Microsoft developing rudimentary platforms. Enhanced PROMIS, however, was a game changer as the best relational database on the market. PROMIS could have made the Hamilton family multi-millionaires. Due to their love of country and "unassailable belief in the Constitution and those it served", they wanted the federal government to be their first client.
William Hamilton contacted the DOJ to brief them on Enhanced PROMIS and got a call back from Madison "Brick" Brewer, the Justice Department's project manager. Brewer once worked under Hamilton at INSLAW. He told Hamilton he was sending a visitor to INSLAW headquarters in Washington DC: Dr Orr, a supposed Israeli public prosecutor. That was his alias. His real name was Rafi Eitan, the infamous deputy director of operations for the Mossad.
Eitan had already conducted numerous espionage ops against the US, including the NUMEC affair in which Israel illegally diverted 200-600 pounds of government owned highly enriched uranium to Israel for Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program. Then came the Jonathan Pollard case, Pollard "read copied and transmitted every worthwhile secret the United States possessed” and passed them to the Soviets through Israel.'The CIA named Pollard as the most damaging spy in US history. Rafi Eitan was his handler.
These tip-of-the-iceberg cases are the most well-known examples of Israeli espionage ops against America. Israel's penetration of the US intelligence community is monumental and much bigger.
Israel’s LAKAM (or Bureau of Scientific Relations) was designated to prowl for "scientific and technical intelligence abroad from both open and covert sources", particularly in the United States. "Every week LAKAM staff dutifully shipped boxes of technical journals back to Tel Aviv."
PROMIS was put to use by the DOJ in the early 1980s through a contract with INSLAW. But the Department withheld millions of dollars in lease payments, which forced INSLAW into bankruptcy—clear and deliberate act to take down an American patriot and remove him from his intellectual property. With INSLAW and Bill Hamilton effectively destroyed, the DOJ, then headed by Attorney General Edwin Meese, transferred PROMIS to the NSA. The CIA then inserted a backdoor in the software. Renown “hacker” and low-end intelligence asset, Michael Riconosciuto, claims to have also reprogrammed the software.
With this backdoor in place, the CIA secretly installed PROMIS in the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Switzerland to ostensibly:
... keep track of electronic fund transfers to combat money-laundering and other criminal activities, including drug trafficking, securities and banking frauds and political payoffs. The CIA also began to furnish the software to its agents in the field to track data.
The NSA got a piece of the action and used PROMIS to penetrate the global banking industry. A secret memo prepared by the ‘Special Assistant to the President for National Security Planning’, ordered the NSA:
... to penetrate banks to combat money laundering and other criminal activities including drug trafficking, illegal sales of high technology to the Soviet Union and gun running to terrorist and guerrilla groups.
The CIA also sought to sell PROMIS software to intelligence agencies around the world, which would allow them to tap these agencies at will. Earl Brian, a Reagan affiliate and former CIA asset, offered to use his technology firm, Hadron Technologies Inc. to market PROMIS. Earl Brian was the former Director of California's Department of Health under governor Ronald Reagan. He was deeply involved in the October Surprise Case when the Reagan-Bush transition team delayed the release of US hostages in Iran during the Hostage Crisis. In exchange, they sold spare parts to Iran during the Iran-Contra affair. With the help of money from Ursula Meese (wife of Edwin Meese) and her husband's Washington contacts, Brian managed to establish ‘Hadron’ as a computer contractor for the United States government.
Brian was a shady fellow. Before joining Reagan's cabinet, the Securities and Exchange Commission cited him for issuing press releases designed to inflate stocks in his company. He was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 57-months in a federal penitentiary.
America was not the only country to place a backdoor in PROMIS. In 1981 the Hamiltons were visited by Rafi Eitan who posed as Dr Ben Orr. He said he was impressed and wised to purchase PROMIS but his ‘cover’ was soon blown and he left without buying. Nonetheless, he was able to get a free copy through Earl Brian. Eitan then worked with a former Mossad agent, an Iranian Jew named Ari-Ben Menashe, who tapped Yehuda Ben-Hanan, a Silicon Valley computer engineer, who built another backdoor into PROMIS—this time, exclusively for the Israelis. They had a backdoor to any intelligence agency that purchased PROMIS from them.
However, they weren’t able to sell it openly and had to recruit a third-party. Eitan knew the perfect man, Robert Maxwell.Maxwell used his Pergamon Press technology network to buy up Israeli technology firms that were fronts for the Mossad: companies like Degem Computers. In the United States, Maxwell had a raft of small companies that were spin-offs from Pergamon Press in Britain. A number of those companies were based in Virginia and Arkansas. Board members included several former members of intelligence-agencies.
W. Dekker, Minister Van den Broek, Henry Kissinger and Robert Maxwell, 1989 Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Maxwell's most infamous and damaging PROMIS affair was a business venture with China and CSIS (China's Secret Service). The Chinese could only dream of obtaining US nuclear secrets and other secret technology from Los Alamos Laboratories. Maxwell boasted that even Los Alamos' defences, like the walls of Jericho, would tumble under the power of Enhanced PROMIS.
He gave China access to Israel's backdoor. The Mossad was livid at Maxwell for revealing its backdoor, but Eitan used this turn of events to his advantage.
He planned to penetrate deep into the very heart of America's nuclear arsenal using his doctored version of Enhanced PROMIS. He devised a plan for Robert Maxwell to sell the software to Los Alamos.
Author Gordon Thomas detailed Maxwell's selling of Enhanced PROMIS software to Sandia National Laboratories:
On a blistering hot day in January 1985, Robert Maxwell lumbered down the steps of his private Lear jet at Albuquerque airport. Behind him an aide carried the magnate's bulky briefcase, emblazoned with Maxwell's initials in gold leaf. This was the tycoon's second trip to Albuquerque in the past four months.
The first trip had been an exploratory one, made at Eitan's suggestion, to see if there was a potential market for the Enhanced PROMIS software to be sold to one of the many laboratories and research centres operating within the Los Alamos complex.
Maxwell had discovered on his first visit there that there was a long-standing requirement at Los Alamos for the latest compatible database software. On his initial visit, Maxwell had presented himself as President of "Information on Demand" a company incorporated in Virginia.
However, the nature of the man had not stopped him from boasting that he was the single most powerful newspaper magnate in the world and that, through his parent holding company, he controlled an interlocking web of companies that were there to explain what he called "the cutting edge of technology that our company in Israel has developed.
What followed has thus far remained under strict secrecy in FBI files.
Eighteen heavily redacted FBI documents in the possession of the author and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, provide sufficient clues to piece together a startling new slant to the botched investigation by the FBI into later thefts from Los Alamos of its most sensitive nuclear secrets in a joint operation by Mossad and CSIS — using Israel's doctored Enhanced PROMIS software Robert Maxwell had sold to Beijing.
Thus, began an Israeli-Chinese technology sharing relationship that is increasingly active to present day. American technology has been legally and illegally acquired by Israel and sold to China; a country that is now in the midst of a trade war with the US.
Israel on the other hand, is now the second largest arms exporter to China—Little Israel.Israel now supplies China with technology that would have otherwise been sold by the United States. Israel is also covertly supplying Russia. She not only profits from the trade war, but also violates the deepest level of US national security—her purported close friend and ally.
Author Gordan Thomas explains how enraged the Western intelligence community became over Israel’s behaviour in this matter:
Having laid out all they knew, the two officers from London turned their attention to the matter that primarily concerned them: the damage done to joint US/UK/Canadian intelligence operations, not only as a result of China acquiring the Israeli-doctored Enhanced PROMIS software, but how it had been used to remove the secrets from the very heart of the West's defence against its new potential threat, China. That had been done with the complicity of Israel.”
Moreover, middle management of both intelligence and military communities are never permitted to finish the job of removing these espionage circuits. A political decision generally stops the investigation in its tracks, and never allows the “Network” to become ensnared in investigations. Arnon Milchan, among countless others, is a prime example.