Kosovo: CIA: Milosevic difficult to track

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Sat, 26 Jun 1999 23:20:37 -0700

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CIA: Milosevic difficult to track
Agency ‘profile’ influencing U.S. policy decisions

By Robert Windrem

NEW YORK, June 25 — The prospects of forcing Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic into the hands of the U.N. war crimes tribunal are not terribly
good, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded based on a Central
Intelligence Agency personality profile of Milosevic ordered by Clinton
administration officials earlier this year.

THE HARSHLY unsympathetic profile was compiled by intelligence analysts who
interviewed people who have met Milosevic, pored over surveillance tapes and
photographs as well as videotapes and transcripts of Milosevic media
interviews and public appearances. It ranges from nearly impossible to prove
assertions about his inner temperament to banal details about his taste in
clothing and liquor.
Intelligence officials, who refused to be named, told NBC News that
their profile suggests that tracking the Yugoslav leader will not be easy
and that physically apprehending him might be impossible short of a coup or
some other major upheaval inside his country.
While the officials stressed their profile could only give an outline
of the Yugoslav leader’s personality, in psychological terms, the analysis
suggested that he would normally react to confrontation with increased


The profile, which has been used to guide American policy decisions
and certainly influenced the decision to place a $5 million reward for his
arrest and conviction, concludes that Milosevic does not react well to
The profile details violent mood swings, at least in part attributed
to adult-onset diabetes and occasionally severe back problems. The profile
notes that Milosevic’s weight fluctuates and that he tends to put on weight
when under stress. Part of the weight gain, the profile suggests, can be
attributed to a tendency to drink hard under press. The profile noted
Milosevic tended to smoke more cigarettes in such times, as well.
Drinking, the profile noted, exacerbates his diabetes, which he
treats with insulin. Like most Serbs, he prefers the local pear brandy known
as “Slivovitz.” However, he apparently developed a taste for Scotch whiskey
during his diplomatic service in the West, including a stint at the U.N. in
New York.

The profile suggests that while his personality is essentially cold
and ruthless; he can be charming and affable. Also, it claims, he reacts
poorly when faced with a difficult question, often lying or reacting in a
disingenuous way. He becomes most adamant when he feels bullied.
Milosevic is said to hire loyalists and sycophants and has fired
aides, particularly his generals, when they have disagreed with him. As a
result, he probably does not get candid advice.
Milosevic is also said to have a taste for the good life, preferring
Italian-made suits and French food. He studied American literature in
university and sees himself as a European. He is thought to have little
regard for Russian culture or goods beyond that which is politically

One natural focus for the CIA’s psychologists: the fact that his
father, an Orthodox priest, and his mother, a committed communist, both
committed suicide.
The intelligence analysts suggest that this partly explains the
enormous role played by his wife, Mirjana Markovic, his closest confidante
and a fearsome politician in her own right. She is regarded as his
ideological guide and leads Yugoslavia’s main Marxist group, the Yugoslav
United Left.
CIA profilers suggest Mirjana is a “mother replacement” for him.
His children, a daughter Marija and a son Marko, are often out of the
country. Marko reportedly is in Greece and Marija reportedly in Cyprus.
His brother, Borislav, is Yugoslavia’s ambassador to Russia.
Milosevic is known to feel particularly close to Kosovo’s Serbs,
since it was in championing their cause that he first rose to prominence,
delivering a famous, scathing attack on the then-communist government and
the ethnic Albanian majority there in 1987, Monday is the anniversary of
that speech.

In terms of Milosevic’s physical security, the profile concludes he
is very difficult to locate. Like Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi and Iraq’s Saddam
Hussein, Milosevic moves frequently and this is not something that began in
March with the onset of the war, say officials.
Currently, he is taking what he considers prudent precautions. He has
access to a variety of places where he can stay and he takes advantage of
that access. He moves among presidential palace buildings, safe houses in
residential areas, bunkers and government buildings.
U.S. intelligence officials said Milosevic is normally accompanied by
a small staff that may include a personal physician. His public appearances,
very rare in any case, generally have been staged and there is some evidence
that video purporting to be current is actually days or weeks old.
Yugoslavia has a history of expertise in the kind of disinformation
designed to protect a leader. Never sure of its position during the Cold
War, when it felt threatened both by the West and by the Soviet Union, the
Yugoslavs became particularly good in the construction of underground bunker
Indeed, Yugoslavia build many of the bunkers used by the Iraqi
president to ride out the many airstrikes against his capital. The best
bunkers in Baghdad were referred to by Saddam as “the Yugoslav bunkers.”
Those at Milosevic’s disposal would be no less secure.

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