CIA finances geoengineering study on climate change

CIA headquartersBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is among the principal funding bodies of a scientific research program on using geoengineering to slow down or halt climate change. The 21-month $630,000 study will be administered by the US National Academy of Science (NAS). Alongside the CIA, the project is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The science of geoengineering encompasses techniques of large-scale intervention on the Earth’s climatic system, aimed at controlling solar radiation and removing carbon dioxide from the environment. Its ultimate goal is to reduce global warming by removing a portion of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere and by causing the planet to absorb reduced amounts of solar radiation. The NAS study will be the first one of its kind at the Academy to be financially backed by an intelligence agency. In addition to exploring technical ways of altering the course of climate change, the study aims to evaluate the implications of geoengineering efforts on international security and American national security in particular. The CIA’s interest in climate science is not new. Since the middle of the last decade, intelligence agencies have shown interest in the national security ramifications of climate change, as well as in climate change negotiations between governments. In 2009, the CIA opened its Center on Climate Change and National Security, a small unit led by senior specialists from the Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence and the Directorate of Science and Technology. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #813 (CIA edition)

CIA headquartersBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Who is leading the CIA for now? Acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell, who has worked for the CIA for 32 years, served a stint as acting director last year and his will be one of several names considered by US President Barack Obama for the permanent job. Starting as an analyst tracking international energy issues, Morell worked for 14 years as an analyst and manager on East Asia, rising to director of the Directorate of Intelligence’s Office of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis in 1999. In May 2010, Morell succeeded Stephen Kappes, who had resigned suddenly and without explanation, as deputy director of the CIA, serving under Directors Leon Panetta (February 2009-June 2011) and David Petraeus (September 2011-November 2012).
►►No perfect choice to fill Petraeus vacancy at CIA. President Barack Obama needs a quick, no-drama solution to a sensational personnel problem. But the vacancy left at the top of the Central Intelligence Agency by David Petraeus’s abrupt departure amid a headline-grabbing sex scandal calls for a particularly complex skill set. It requires a charismatic chief to oversee the large, notoriously tough-to-manage intelligence apparatus. It needs a leader who has a strong relationship with the president. And most of all, it calls for a politically savvy operator who understands how to interact with Congress —and can assuage some of the current anger on Capitol Hill that lawmakers were kept in the dark about the probe.
►►CIA climate-change unit is shut down. Republican lawmakers in the US began criticizing the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center on Climate Change and National Security before it was even established, calling it a “misguided defense funding priority”. Concerted resistance by conservative lawmakers did not allow the program to stand on solid ground, and it now looks like the Center has actually closed down, having lost its most important supporter, former CIA Director Leon Panetta.

News you may have missed #629

William Hague

William Hague

►►CIA urged to be more open about climate change. America’s intelligence establishment has come out with a bold new suggestion: maybe it’s time the CIA stopped treating climate change as a secret. A new report from the Defense Science Board –a US government agency– urges the CIA to step outside its traditional culture of secrecy and begin sharing the intelligence it has been gathering on climate change.
►►Three Czechs to be tried for spying in Zambia. The fate of three Czech nationals, who are awaiting trial in Zambia on suspicion of spying, remains highly uncertain. The three face 25 years in prison for having taken photographs of an old plane displayed outside a military base in Lusaka. The Czech Foreign Ministry has tried in vain to intervene on their behalf and is now sending a special envoy to the country to present the case in person.
►►First-ever speech on MI6 by a UK Foreign Secretary. In the first speech given by a British Foreign Secretary on the activities of MI6, William Hague (pictured) called today for a line to be drawn under the controversy over the involvement of its agents in the abuse of terror suspects, and argued that the spy agency thwarts terrorists and foreign agents hundreds of times a year.

News you may have missed #599

Erwin Rommel

Erwin Rommel

►►SAS planned to kill Nazi Field Marshal Rommel. The veil of secrecy surrounding Britain’s SAS special forces unit has been partially lifted to allow the publication of a new book detailing daring attacks behind Nazi lines in the Second World War. The book features an order for an ambitious but unsuccessful mission to kill or kidnap Nazi Field Marshal Erwin Rommel just after D-Day in 1944.
►►CIA says global-warming intelligence is ‘classified’. Two years ago, the US Central Intelligence Agency announced it was creating a center to analyze the geopolitical ramifications of “phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts and heightened competition for natural resources”. But whatever work the Center on Climate Change and National Security has done remains secret.
►►Japan sends new spy satellite into orbit. Japan at present has a total of three information-gathering satellites in orbit. All three are optical, which means they are able to capture images in broad daylight and in clear weather. The new spy satellite is said to replace one which is almost at the end of its useful life. The country is also planning to launch in two years time, radar satellites which can capture objects at night and in cloudy weather.

News you may have missed #468

News you may have missed #0247

  • US government lowers threshold for inclusion on no-fly lists. According to senior US State Department officials, the government has already lowered the threshold for information deemed important enough to put suspicious individuals on a watch list or no-fly list. CNN reports that suspects will now include citizens of the notorious Islamist country of Cuba….
  • CIA starts sharing data with climate scientists. This blog has kept an eye on the CIA’s Climate Change Center, which was established late last year. It now turns out the Agency had started monitoring climate change in 1992, under project MEDEA (Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis), but the program was shut down in 2001 by the Bush Administration. The Climate Change Center, therefore, represents the re-establishment of an earlier effort.
  • How the KGB tried to recruit an NBC News reporter. FBI files show that the Soviet KGB tried to recruit the late NBC News reporter Irving R. Levine, while he was stationed in Moscow in the 1950s.

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Spy agencies closely monitoring climate change talks

Defence Signals Directorate logo

DSD logo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
I have written before about the increasing involvement of intelligence agencies in ongoing climate change negotiations between the world’s governments. In October, the CIA announced the establishment of its Center on Climate Change and National Security, despite fierce opposition by Republican lawmakers. Earlier this month, it was alleged that the hackers who stole and leaked onto the Internet hundreds of University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit emails were operating via a Russian military and security network, a claim that has been disputed by the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service). However, a recent article in Australian daily The Canberra Times provides the first mainstream indication that a Western intelligence agency is “giving top priority” to the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Denmark. Read more of this post

Comment: Did Russian Intelligence Hack Climate-Change Emails?

Tomsk, Siberia

Tomsk, Siberia

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS* | intelNews.org |
For over a fortnight, the world’s news services have focused on the so-called ‘Climategate’, the hundreds of University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit emails that were hacked from the university’s server and leaked onto the Internet. The stolen emails, some of which date back to 1996, have reignited conspiracy theories about the role of human activity in climate change. But there is surprisingly little discussion about who hacked into the university’s server and stole the personal emails.

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News you may have missed #0138

  • US intelligence turf wars plague email system. US intelligence officials have decided to shut down a Web-based, unclassified e-mail system, which had been heralded as an important step in the US intelligence community’s drive for better information sharing after 9/11. A Directorate of National Intelligence representative said “security concerns” led to the decision to shut down the e-mail system.
  • CIA Climate Change Center survives funding opposition. Republican lawmakers criticized the CIA’s plan to open the Center on Climate Change and National Security as a “misguided defense funding priority” and even tried to prevent appropriate funding last week. But they failed and so it appears that the Center will be established after all.
  • Colombia to rename spy agency to “CIA”. The restructuring of Colombia’s scandal-prone domestic spy agency, Administrative Department of Security (DAS), continues, as the government has announced that DAS will now be known as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a new entity which will take over state and immigration intelligence and counterintelligence duties.

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News you may have missed #0119

  • CIA opens center on climate change. The CIA Center on Climate Change and National Security is a small unit led by senior specialists from the Directorate of Intelligence and the Directorate of Science and Technology. It focuses on “the national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources”. Methinks the emphasis will probably be on the latter.
  • Brazilian political figures spied on after dictatorship. Senior Brazilian politicians, religious leaders and activists were spied on illegally for 16 years after the 1964-1985 military regime, according to recent allegations in the country’s press. Major surveillance targets included Brazil’s current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, opposition leader and Sao Paulo Governor Jose Serra, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, and others.
  • New book examines life of Franco-sympathizer British spy. Jimmy Burns has written a biography of his father, Tom Burns, an anti-communist sympathizer of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who organized the British intelligence network in Spain during and after World War II.

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