Intelligence: December 6, 1999


While the Navajo code-talkers used by the US Marines during WWII in the Pacific are well known, it is almost unknown that the US Army employed a smaller number of Comanche Indians as code-talkers during the D-Day invasion at Normandy and in other campaigns. The last surviving member of the group, Charles Chibitty, received the special Knowlton Award (given each year for outstanding contributions to military intelligence and counter-intelligence) at a ceremony in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes on 30 Nov. Like Navajo, Comanche did not have words for all modern military equipment. While it had a word for "airplane", it did not have words for fighters or bombers, so these became "fast airplanes" and "pregnant airplanes" respectively. Hitler was known as "posah-tai-vo" or "crazy white man".--Stephen V Cole

US Petty Officer 1st class Daniel M. King remains in custody at Quantico, Virginia, on charges of espionage. He was arrested on 28 Oct and charged on 5 Nov, but this was not publicly acknowledged until the news media broke the story on 29 Nov. He first came under suspicion when he flunked a routine lie detector test for someone with his security clearance. He is charged with passing secret documents to Russian intelligence in 1994, three years after the Cold War ended. This was thought to be a one-time incident, not a long-term espionage operation. King was working at the Navy communications decoding facility at Ford Meade, Maryland, during the time of the alleged espionage, and mailed the Russian embassy a computer disk containing information on how US submarines eavesdrop on Russian undersea communications cables. Hours after the arrest was reported by US television, US diplomat Cheri Leberknight was arrested in Moscow by Russian police on charges of espionage, questioned for a short while, and then released. The State Department refused to comment on a possible link between the two cases. --Stephen V Cole


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