Archive for November, 2011


November 30, 2011

These are excerpts from an article published in the Wall Street Journal on November 26, 2011:

Engineering Communism By Steven T. Usdin (2005)

This little-known gem of a book is about Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, two idealistic New York engineers and members of the Rosenberg spy ring who decamped for the Soviet bloc in 1950, before the FBI could arrest them. Steven T. Usdin’s account of the two City College grads is made all the more gripping because the author knew Joel Barr: The journalist was in Moscow in 1990 working on an article when he was introduced to a respected Soviet scientist named Joseph Berg, a tall, bespectacled septuagenarian who spoke perfect English, albeit with “a classic Brooklyn accent.”

When Usdin inquired about the accent, Berg said: “We have good schools here.” But Usdin wasn’t having any of it, and Berg soon owned up to being the fugitive Joel Barr. He took the American to Zelenograd, the secret scientific center he had helped build for the Soviets, and gradually told his story to Usdin. Amazingly, Barr visited America in the 1990s. Instead of being arrested, he was granted a new American passport and Social Security income. Alfred Sarant’s life was equally unusual, with parts rivaling some of the seamier episodes of “Days of Our Lives.” When Julius Rosenberg was arrested, Sarant and a friend’s wife fled to Mexico, eventually reaching the Soviet Union. Sarant was put to work with Barr, and together, Usdin says, the men “played a catalytic role in creating Soviet microelectronics.”

Red Spies in America By Katherine Sibley (2004)

An excellent history of the ways that the nascent Bolshevik state succeeded in weaving its superb legion of espionage agents into the fabric of a Depression-ridden America—a nation preoccupied with homegrown desperadoes like John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde. The Soviet efforts produced a rich harvest of aircraft blueprints, fuel formulas, intelligence concerning chemical plants and government secrets.

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev (2009)

This huge tome is the best catalog yet of Americans who spied for the Soviet Union and the information that they may have passed on. For decades, ideological combatants have argued bitterly over the complicity of players like Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White and J. Robert Oppenheimer. “Spies” sheds much helpful light, thanks to the collaboration of John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr—Cold War espionage scholars of the first rank—with Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB agent who walked out of his agency’s secret archives with thousands of pages of notes and transcriptions. Curious readers can now discover exactly who Julius Rosenberg recruited, who turned the Soviets down (Oppenheimer) and who, to the surprise of many, worked as a courier passing information: the American writer I.F. Stone, whose KGB code name was “Pancakje.”

The Rosenberg File By Ronald Radosh, Joyce Milton (1983)

‘The Rosenberg File’ remains the best account of one of the most controversial legal cases in American history. A son of the left, Ron Radosh nevertheless wasn’t going to be guided by politics or party-line doctrine as he looked into activities of the key characters in this saga. He and Joyce Milton produced a classic piece of historical and investigative journalism showing that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and accomplices actively participated in an espionage campaign to provide stolen U.S. military secrets to the Soviets. The authors of course were attacked by the (now dwindling) band of Rosenberg defenders, who denounce every new piece of damning evidence, from tell-all monographs by former Soviet agents to the Venona cables (decrypted communications between Moscow and Soviet embassies in the U.S.). But the ideologically driven attacks failed to rebut the book’s contentions. “The portrait that emerges” from the Rosenbergs’ “letters and other sources,” the authors write, “is one of rigid, self-righteous ideologues motivated by contempt for their countrymen and, at times, reveling in the knowledge that they were earning themselves a place in history.”


November 27, 2011

There is great admiration for President Ronald Reagan in the countries formerly occupied by the Soviet Union.

Georgia’s pro-Western president in November 2011 unveiled a monument to Ronald Reagan in the capital of the ex-Soviet state praising the 40th U.S. president for “destroying the Soviet Empire.”

Mikhail Saakashvili, whose government has for years had tense relations with Russia, also lambasted Moscow’s attempts to “restore” the Soviet Union by creating an economic bloc with other ex-Soviet nations.

The Georgian president said the bronze statue that depicts Reagan sitting on a bench “deserves a place in the heart of Tbilisi, the heart of Georgia.”

A Polish statue honoring Ronald Reagan for inspiring Poland’s toppling of communism, was unveiled in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, November 21, 2011.


November 26, 2011

Jim Lacey, professor of strategic studies at the Marine Corps War College, on November 23, 2011, commented on U.S. policy in Asia in National Review:

With a considerable amount of fanfare, the Obama administration has spent most of the past two weeks “pivoting” our foreign policy toward Asia. This “pivot” is being broadcast as if the current administration was the first to notice Asia’s importance. Never mind that American presidents have been actively involved in Asia at least since Commodore Mathew Perry was sent there to force open Japanese ports for trading. If we forget about the Pacific theater in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Nixon’s trip to China, etc., then maybe it is possible to believe that this administration is the first one to take note of Asia’s importance. Of course, Presidents Clinton and Bush visited Asia over a half-dozen times each. So there is a chance the region was relatively high on their agendas. Last week’s Asian tour was President Obama’s third visit to the region, although one of those was for a G-20 summit. As far as I can see, therefore, the current administration has so far paid about as much attention to Asia as its predecessors.

So what does this much-heralded strategic “pivot” mean? Rather than admit that its Asian policy for the past three years has been a disaster, the administration has decided to go with the story that it neglected Asia for three years so as to concentrate on fixing the rest of the world. With Iran about to go nuclear, the Arab Spring turning into the Arab Winter, and Europe melting down, the administration has apparently decided to write off these unsatisfactory places and “pivot” its attention to Asia. On the plus side, however, after three years of getting it all wrong in Asia, the administration is apparently ready to face reality.

For the first time, the administration appears ready to give up on policies and initiatives that portrayed us to the Chinese as weak and irresolute. Previously, the administration’s refusal to sell much-needed arms to Taiwan and the decision not to have President Obama meet with the Dalai Lama caused our regional allies to start questioning America’s willingness to stand up to Chinese bullying. As the American financial crisis worsened and the administration offered Congress plans to substantially cut the military, our Pacific allies were given additional reasons to doubt America’s ability and commitment to stay engaged in Asia.

China was not slow to take advantage of the perception of American strategic retreat. Instead of cautiously testing the waters in its relations with its neighbors, China began dictating to them. This new aggressiveness is clearly on display in the oil-rich South China Sea, which China is rapidly trying to turn into a Chinese lake. That other nations in the area believe they have an equal right to the sea’s resources is of no concern to Chinese leaders, who have demonstrated nothing but contempt for their neighbors’ complaints.

Almost 2,500 years ago, Thucydides wrote about the small island of Melos, which was trying to navigate a difficult middle ground as the two great powers of the age — Sparta and Athens — warred with each other. At one point, Athens demanded that Melos renounce neutrality and join the Athenian alliance against Sparta. The Melians first told Athens to beware, as they were a Spartan colony and Sparta would surely come to their aid. Seeing that the Athenians were openly contemptuous of Sparta’s power and resolve to come to their aid, the Melians switched tactics. They began pleading that it was wrong for a state as powerful as Athens to behave in such an aggressive manner to its weaker neighbors. The Athenians replied: “. . . you know as well as we do that right is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” In the end, the Melians resisted but were rapidly overcome. The price for not bending to Athens’ will was that all of the Melian men were killed and the women and children were sold into slavery.

The growing perception that America lacks either the wherewithal or the resolve to come to the aid of nations in China’s proximity has sent those countries scurrying to find other solutions to their security problem. With China treating them with the same contempt Athens showed to Melos, and unsure that America’s protective umbrella was still overhead, the region has begun looking toward its own self-defense. If this trajectory continues, one can easily foresee a regional arms race culminating in at least South Korea and Japan becoming nuclear powers. Moreover, as China continues pushing its neighbors about, the chances for miscalculation and war increase exponentially.

So, it was a bit of a relief earlier this year when many of those within the administration who had been most loudly advocating dangerous levels of accommodation with China were finally purged. We are now seeing fruits of a new, more muscular policy being put in place by their successors. As this column has stated before, it would be a major policy blunder to try to interfere with China’s rise. Any such attempt would be likely to fail in any event. But that does not mean America should look away when China dangerously throws its weight around. Rather, China must be encouraged to use its growing power within the international norms created in the wake of World War II. Because China is strong does not mean it should be allowed to “do what it can” as a weaker Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines “suffer what they must.” These nations will suffer a fate similar to that of Melos if the United States abdicates its role in the region and the world.

One should keep in mind that a transfer of power in the Pacific from America to China is not likely to have the same exceptional results as the earlier global transfer of power to us from Great Britain. When Britain decided not to hamper America’s growth and later turned over its global responsibilities to us, this was done with a certain awareness that the two nations shared similar political philosophies and world views. Few in Britain worried that a world dominated by America would have radically different norms from what the British would have created if they possessed the power to do so. In fact, Churchill was so sure of our shared traditions and common outlook that he bequeathed some valuable advice to his successors: “Stay close to the Americans.”

No one says anything similar about China. Unlike the leadership handoff from Britain to America, which resulted in a huge amount of geostrategic continuity, a handoff of power from America to China, either globally or just in the Pacific, would transform the world. There is a quantum difference between a world policed by a brutal dictatorship and one where a free and democratic state plays the dominant role. No American president is ever going to say, “Stay close to the Chinese.” Making room for China’s rise, therefore, does not mean the United States should retreat from the world and hand over the mantle of global leadership to China’s dictators.

The nations of the Pacific have recently seen the true nature of China’s Communist regime. That is why so many of them are eager to embrace a larger American military presence in the region, and why they are signing on to new American-led regional pacts. Still, there are concerns. America would not have to “pivot” back to Asia if we had not first pivoted away. Moreover, the very notion that the world’s global superpower should ever “pivot” is a false one.

America cannot afford to pivot. Pivoting by its very definition means that you are focusing on one area while neglecting another. The problems in Europe, the Persian Gulf, the Middle East more generally, and the rest of the world will not disappear because we pivoted away. In fact, our neglect just assures they will all worsen. We can’t fix everything or even most things, but we can often keep everything from going to hell in a handbasket.

America remains the indispensable nation. The world’s, as well as our own, peace and prosperity rest on the United States’ remaining engaged throughout the world. America does not pivot. Being a global superpower, and usually a force for good in the world, means staying fully engaged everywhere. When we have failed to do that in the past, the result has always cost us dearly in blood and treasure.

In that regard, there is one more thing that worries me about our new, more muscular policy in Asia. How do we plan to back up our new initiatives? China will not be influenced by words. It is not cowed by soft power or even smart power. It does, however, understand the hard power of military might. Seemingly in recognition of this, President Obama said in Australia, “Reductions in U.S. defense spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific.” This is nonsense. One simply cannot cut one or two hundred billion a year out of the defense budget without its affecting our military in the Pacific. That is, of course, unless you are ready to denude everywhere else of all U.S. military forces.


November 24, 2011

Clifford D. May, president of the U.S. readers that Foundation for the Defense of Democracy on November 24, 2011, in National Review reminded back in 1985, Charles Krauthammer, writing in Time magazine, called President Ronald Reagan “the master of the new idea.” :

Among the then-novel notions he was championing: limited government, supply-side economics, and developing the technological means to defend America against missile attacks.But it was Reagan’s approach to foreign policy that really caught the young pundit’s eye. In the 40th president’s State of the Union address that year, Krauthammer discerned what he dubbed the Reagan Doctrine. Anyone who aspires to the American presidency — and, indeed, the man who hopes to remain in that office — would do well to recall Reagan’s principles and consider how they might be applied to contemporary challenges.

The two central pillars of the Reagan Doctrine were “peace through strength” and robust opposition to totalitarianism. In Reagan’s day, of course, the Soviet Union and the ideology of communism posed the most serious threat to liberty. Today, it is the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ideology of jihadism. A quarter century ago, “peace through strength” implied not weakening America’s military at a time when the Kremlin was seeking to expand its sphere of influence. What it means today is not weakening America’s military at a time when Islamists are waging an unconventional war against America and its allies.

Reagan was committed to the idea of American exceptionalism. “The Reagan [D]octrine,” wrote centrist scholar Walter Russell Mead, “was rooted in an unshakable belief in America as the indispensable nation.” Today, there are those who are pushing the United States to “share sovereignty” and accept the authority of the “international community,” especially such institutions as the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice. Reagan would have just said no.

Though Reagan did not call for exporting democracy, he did believe in supporting democrats. “We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives on every continent . . . [to] secure rights which have been ours from birth,” Reagan asserted in that State of the Union. “Support for freedom fighters is self-defense.”

In fact, though he did support democratic groups whenever possible, Reagan also assisted groups that were merely anti-communist (e.g. the Nicaraguan contras and the Afghan mujahedeen). He believed it was possible to defend both American ideals and American interests — though not necessarily simultaneously.

The Reagan Doctrine drew on many sources. In 1960, at the inaugural meeting of Young Americans for Freedom at the Connecticut home of William F. Buckley Jr., who would become Reagan’s friend and mentor, the Sharon Statement was adopted. It proclaimed “that we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies . . . that forces of international communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties; that the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace. . . . ”

Along these lines, in 1977, four years before reaching the White House, Reagan told adviser Richard V. Allen that his “idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic. It is this: We win and they lose.”

Upon becoming president in 1981, Reagan predicted: “The West won’t contain communism, it will transcend communism. . . . It will dismiss [communism] as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.”

In 1982, in what became known as his Westminster address, Reagan offered a more diplomatic articulation of his conviction that the Soviet Union could — and should — be rolled back. The right policies, he made clear, could hasten a more ambitious goal: regime change.

In 1983, in Florida, in a speech arguing against nuclear-freeze proposals, he sparked a furious controversy when he warned of “the aggressive impulses of an evil empire. . . . They preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the earth. They are the focus of evil in the modern world.”

Those who helped develop the Reagan Doctrine — including George Shultz, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Ed Meese — understood that they were advocating a sharp break with the foreign-policy establishment, academia, and the mainstream media, whose leading lights were proponents of containment, détente, and arms-control agreements. And not one of them would be so morally judgmental as to call the Soviet Union an evil empire!

“[T]he truce with communism was over,” recalled former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, adding that from then on, “we would give material support to those who fought to recover their nations from tyranny.” She said those words in 1997, six years after the Cold War had ended in the victory for the West that Reagan had envisioned — but had not expected to come about so quickly.

Those who hoped and even predicted that the shredding of the Iron Curtain would lead to universal acceptance of Western values were to be proven wrong. Instead, the forces that fought for global domination by an economic class led by commissars were soon replaced by forces fighting for global domination by a religion led by ayatollahs, mullahs, and sheikhs.

What else would it mean to adapt the Reagan Doctrine to the present? Iran’s rulers, for years the world’s leading supporters of terrorism, have become the greatest single threat to our liberties. They must not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons. The United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace. Support for Iranian dissidents and rebels should be seen as self-defense.

It goes without saying that Reagan would favor comprehensive missile defense. His Strategic Defense Initiative was denigrated by critics as “Star Wars,” as science fiction. But Reagan was right to believe in scientific progress. Today, we have the technology to make offensive missiles obsolete. What’s lacking is the Reaganite will to build the shield.

The Soviets espoused the Brezhnev Doctrine, the 1968 proclamation that the communist sphere only expands, never recedes. The jihadis have proclaimed a similar rule. Today, most of the lands with Muslim rulers are persecuting, if not “cleansing,” their religious and ethnic minorities, even while Islamists increase their numbers and influence in Europe, the U.S., and Latin America. An updated Reagan Doctrine would not passively accept that.

Like every great statesman, Reagan made his share of mistakes. In 1983, four years after Iran’s revolution, the Khomeinist regime deployed Hezbollah, its Lebanese-based terrorist proxy, to slaughter U.S. Marines and diplomats in Beirut. Focused as he was on the Soviets, Reagan decided to withdraw from Lebanon and not make anyone pay for those crimes.

Think of that as an experiment: There are those on both the far left and the far right who believe that Americans can make themselves inoffensive to fanatics sworn to our destruction. But the retreat from Lebanon, like President Clinton’s retreat from Somalia ten years later, merely served to convince Islamists that the time to challenge the Great Satan had arrived.

Krauthammer concluded his essay by calling the Reagan Doctrine “more radical than it pretends to be. . . . [T]he West, of late, has taken to hiding behind parchment barriers as an excuse for inaction. . . . ”

More than a generation later, that habit persists. That’s why the Reagan Doctrine ought to be revived, renewed, and applied by the next occupant of the Oval Office to the clear and present dangers of the 21st century.


November 24, 2011

Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and Robert McFarlane, national security adviser to President Reagan, have joined Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign as members of his national security advisory team.

They’re the best known of the 10 men and two women who’ve signed up to advise Gingrich, many of them veterans of the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. In a statement introducing the group Tuesday, he refers to them as “this world class group of experts” on whom he’s relied “throughout my career.”

In the George W. Bush administration, Gingrich was a member of the Defense Policy Board (along with Henry Kissinger). In 1999, he was appointed to the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century that examined foreign policy challenges through 2025.

Gingrich used the announcement to take a dig at President Obama. He said he’ll draw on his advisers’ experience and knowledge “as we assert our vision of an exceptional America that, contrary to what President Obama may believe, will continue to be both the world’s leading power and most assiduous defender of freedom for generations to come.”


November 23, 2011

In a book review in Washington Times on November 21, 2011, America is described as under attack. Not by a uniformed army with rifles and tanks. But the invasion is here and advancing. The soldiers of the attacking “Red Army” are part of a “radical network” that “excels at lying in wait and perfecting its assault so that when the right vehicle arrives, whether it’s President Obama or someone else, it is ready to strike.”:

The network is presented in Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated To Save America By Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, Broadside Books, $26.99, 351 pages, 2011. Below a summary of the review:

The network has influence in American classrooms, media, Congress, government bureaucracies, foundations, the environmental movement, the labor movement, the peace movement, immigrant rights groups and others.

The new book is an excellent reference book for thos who want to keep track of the Red Army that seeks to weaken or bring down America.

An influential group is the 75 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), originally founded as a “sister” of the Democratic Socialists of America. DSA is also an affiliate of Socialist International.

The book lists many groups in the socialist “Red Army.” It includes 56 socialist-oriented organizations of all stripes, from the Communist Party USA to the Soros-affiliated Open Society Institute to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to scandal-ridden ACORN to the AFL-CIO.

The anti-American writings of the late Marxist historian and Communist Party member Howard Zinn project classroom influence that “cannot be overstated.”


November 22, 2011

Newspaper Berlingske Tidende on November 21, 2011, commented on Business Minister Ole Sohn’s claim that he halted the steady stream of funding from Moscow as soon as he became head of the Danish Communist Party in 1990. The story is ‘riddled with holes’ according to leading historian Morten Thang of Roskilde University:

Mr Sohn’s version of events was questioned again over the weekend by one of his closest advisors during the Cold War period, former DCP treasurer Hans Kloster, who accused Mr Sohn of being ‘personally involved’ in ensuring a steady stream of money from Moscow to the communist printer, Terpo Tryk, which ‘laundered’ cash for the DCP.

Additionally, the former Moscow correspondent of the communist newspaper Land and Folk, Professor Kurt Jacobsen, claims that in 1990 he was asked by Mr Sohn to call a Soviet telephone number and plead for money for the Danish Communist Party (DCP), shortly before USD150,000 ‘appeared’ in Copenhagen.

Mr Thang said it’s time for Mr Sohn to admit that the DCP was in so much debt at the time he was forced to beg for cash from Moscow. “His explanations don’t add up “, he said. “All the people and documents that have emerged recently paint a very definite picture that the DCP received money from Moscow and Ole Sohn was very much involved in the process”, he said.

Thomas Wegener Friis, lecturer at the Centre for Cold War Studies, dismissed Mr Sohn’s version of events as ’embarrassing’


November 21, 2011

UPI on November 20,2011, reported that Libyan officials said they’ve captured a master spy in the former Gadhafi regime indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity:

Authorities in Libya’s interim government said Abdullah al-Senussi, brother-in-law of the late Moammar Gadhafi and former head of the Libyan Intelligence Service allegedly responsible for crimes perpetrated against the Libyan people during Gadhafi’s 42-year rule, was captured at his sister’s home in the southern town of Sabha, in the southern part of the country, The Tripoli Post reported.

It was the same section of the country in which officials captured Saif al-Islam, the son of the late dictator.

Al-Senussi was Gadhafi’s right-hand man who allegedly oversaw all terrorist dealings and was a close adviser to Saif al-Islam, the BBC reported.

The ICC issued criminal warrants for Gadhafi, his son and others June 27 for alleged crimes against humanity for the government’s use of military force against civilians calling for democratic reforms.

Libyan officials said they want to put Saif al-Islam on trial in Tripoli instead of an international court in Europe.

Interim Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keeb issued a statement saying Saif al-Islam, who was captured Saturday near the border with Niger, should be tried by his native peers rather than at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Regardless, the prime minister said the National Transitional Council would ensure Saif al-Islam would be tried transparently, the Tripoli Post said.

“I reassure our people and the world that Saif, and those with him, will be given a fair trial in which international rights and norms will be guaranteed,” he said.


November 19, 2011

CNN reported on November 19, 2011, that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, had been captured in a firefight in the Libyan desert according to Libyan military sources. Below a few excerpts:
Saif al-Islam was caught by revolutionary fighters after 15 days of pursuit in the area between the southwestern oasis town of Obari and southern town of Sabha, military commanders in Tripoli said.

The 39-year-old, one of the most-wanted elements of the former regime, has now been taken to the city of Zintan in the Western mountains..

“I hope that this is the beginning of a state of freedom, transparency and lawfulness,”acting Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib told reporters. “In the name of the great nation, we would like to allay your fears and tell you that Saif and those who were with him will be tried fairly. They are ensured all their rights under the law. These are the same rights that our nation didn’t have for 42 years.”

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi had been on the run since shortly after the fall of his father’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in the capital in August.

The International Criminal Court in the Netherlands confirmed the arrest. The court wants Saif al-Islam Gadhafi for alleged crimes against humanity, including murder, committed during the uprising.

Outbursts of celebratory gunfire, the honking of horns and cries of joy could be heard in Tripoli as reports of his capture spread.

Othman Mliegta, commander of the Al Qa’aq brigades, said he had been told that Saif al-Islam was slightly injured in the clashes that took place when the fighters attempted to capture him but is in good health.

Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, said previously that if Saif al-Islam Gadhafi was brought before the ICC in the Netherlands, he would “have all the rights and be protected,” and would be allowed to present a defense.

NATO, which protected Libyan civilians under a U.N. mandate this year, said Saif al-Islam faces crimes against humanity charges in a conflict that “caused the Libyan people so much suffering.”

“We trust that the Libyan authorities and the International Criminal Court will ensure that justice runs its course, so that the new Libya can be built on the rule of law and respect for human rights,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said.

Once seen as a possible successor to his father and an advocate of reform, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi became a vocal defender of his father’s brutal regime.


November 19, 2011

Fox News on November 18, 2011, published a Reuters report that U.S. federal investigators are looking into a report that hackers managed to remotely shut down a utility’s water pump in central Illinois last week, in what could be the first known foreign cyber attack on an industrial system on U.S. soil:

The Nov. 8 incident was described in a one-page report from the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, according to Joe Weiss, a prominent expert on protecting infrastructure from cyber attacks.

State police investigators believe the hackers broke into the water utility’s network by using credentials stolen from an undisclosed U.S. company that produces software to control industrial systems, said Weiss, who read excerpts from the report to Reuters over the phone.

“An information technology services and computer repair company checked the computer logs of the system and determined the computer had been hacked into from a computer located in Russia,” Weiss said, quoting the report.

Illinois State police spokeswoman Monique Bond declined to comment.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are examining the matter, said DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard.

“At this time there is no credible corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety,” he said, declining to elaborate further.

Several media reports identified the location of the attack as Springfield, the Illinois state capital. City officials said that was inaccurate but would not say where the water pump was located. The FBI spokesman handling the matter could not be reached.

Quoting from the one-page report, Weiss said it was not yet clear whether other networks had been hacked as a result of the breach at the U.S. software maker.

He said the manufacturer of that software keeps login credentials to the networks of its customers so that its staff can help them support those systems.

Workers at the targeted utility in central Illinois on Nov. 8 noticed problems with the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System (SCADA), which manages the water supply system, and discovered that a water pump had been damaged, said Weiss, managing partner of Applied Control Solutions in Cupertino, California.

“It is unknown at this time the number of SCADA user names and passwords acquired from the software company’s database and if any other additional SCADA systems have been attacked as a result of this theft,” Weiss cited the report as saying.