United States allegedly not sharing Russia intelligence with Ukraine

Russian troops in UkraineBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The United States is not sharing with the Ukrainian government detailed intelligence or Russia’s military buildup, according to American lawmakers. Moscow is reportedly deploying large numbers of troops along Russia’s border with Ukraine, while US intelligence agencies have allegedly detected the presence of Russian military supply lines that would be required for a land invasion of Ukraine. The US administration of President Barack Obama has publicly expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian government and has warned the Kremlin that any military incursions into eastern Ukraine would constitute a grave “historical error” that would bear serious consequences for the Russian leadership. But according to American news reporting website The Daily Beast, Washington has instructed the American military and intelligence community to refrain from sharing detailed intelligence on Russia’s military buildup with Ukrainian authorities. Details being kept from Ukrainian eyes include “imagery, intercepts and analysis” that pinpoint the exact location of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border. They also include intelligence predictions of how Russian units would deploy during a possible invasion of Ukraine. The Daily Beast, which is owned by Newsweek, cited “US officials and members of Congress” who were briefed by intelligence personnel earlier this week on the situation in Ukraine. They told the news website that senior American military officials have been instructed “to refrain from briefing their Ukrainian counterparts in detail” about information on Russian troop movements held by American intelligence agencies. The Daily Beast quotes Republican Representative Michael Turner, chair of a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee that oversees America’s tactical air and land force strength. Turner told the website that he is “not confident” that Washington is “sharing any of that kind of [detailed military] information” with Kiev. Read more of this post

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Canada spy agency refused to notify Mounties about Russian agent

Jeffrey Paul DelisleBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Canada’s main counterintelligence agency opted to keep secret from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vital information about a Canadian naval officer who spied for Russia. Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the case of Jeffrey Paul Delisle, a Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Navy, who until 2011 was employed at Canada’s ultra-secure TRINITY communications center in Halifax. Delisle was arrested in January 2012 for passing information gathered from radio and radar signal interceptions to a foreign power, most likely Russia. In May of last year, it emerged that it was in fact the United States that alerted the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) about Delisle’s espionage activities. What was supposed to happen next was that the CSIS —which is not a law enforcement agency— should have notified the RCMP of Delisle’s activities and requested his prompt arrest. Remarkably, however, the CSIS chose to keep the Delisle file concealed from the RCMP, ostensibly to prevent the possible exposure of intelligence sources and methods in open-court proceedings. The Canadian Press, which broke the story on Sunday, cited “numerous sources familiar with the Delisle case” in claiming that the CSIS’ refusal to request Delisle’s arrest “frustrated Washington”, which feared that the spy was routinely compromising United States secrets shared by America with its Canadian allies. So frustrated were the Americans, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sketched out a plan to lure Delisle onto US soil and arrest him there. Read more of this post

Germany, UK, share intelligence with Free Syrian Army [updated]

Regional map of SyriaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Two newspapers alleged over the weekend that German and British spy services routinely share critical intelligence on Syrian government troops with rebel forces in the country. In a leading article, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag claimed yesterday that Germany’s intelligence activities in Syria were far broader than officially acknowledged. The paper quoted an unnamed official from Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), who said that the country “can be proud of the significant contribution we are making to the fall of the Assad regime”. Also quoted in the article was an unidentified American intelligence official, who claimed that “no Western intelligence service has such good sources inside Syria as Germany’s BND”. According to Bild, the BND collects most of its intelligence on Syria through a number of ships, equipped with signals intelligence platforms, stationed in international waters off the Syrian coast. These ships can collect data on Syrian troop movements as far inland as 600 kilometers, or 400 miles. The collected data is then forwarded to BND officers stationed at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization base in Adana, Turkey, who are also tasked with intercepting radio messages and telephone exchanges between members of the Syrian government and/or military. The information is then passed on to members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the primary armed force engaged in a fierce civil war against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. Also on Sunday, the London-based Times newspaper quoted an unnamed FSA official as saying that the rebel forces are routinely given intelligence by British spy agencies. The official told the paper that “the British are giving the information to the Turks and the Americans and we are getting it from the Turks”. Read more of this post

Australian Labour Party leader worked for Soviets, claims historian

H.V. Evatt

H.V. Evatt

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
One of Australia’s leading intelligence historians has said that Herbert V. Evatt, who led the Australian Labour Party in the 1950s, operated as a secret agent for the Soviet Union. Dr Desmond Ball, professor at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, made the claim following last week’s release in London of previously classified documents relating to Australian intelligence. The documents, which came from the archives of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, reveal that Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies was convinced that Evatt was a Soviet agent. His fear appears to have culminated two days before the national election of November 22, 1958, when he privately expressed the fear that Evatt would destroy Australian counterintelligence documents on the Soviet Union if the Labour Party was elected to power. With this in mind, he ordered the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) to share top-secret documents on the Soviet Union with London and Washington. Following Menzies’ directive, the ASIO provided Britain’s MI5 and MI6, as well as America’s CIA with two sets each of a number of intelligence reports acquired through KGB defector Vladimir Petrov. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #487 (Canada edition)

  • Canadian MPs want spy services director to quit. A group of Canadian parliamentarians have asked for the resignation of the country’s Security Intelligence Service director Dick Fadden, who claimed last summer that several Canadian politicians were under the control of foreign governments.
  • Canada agencies still not sharing intelligence. Almost a decade after 9/11, the many arms of Canada’s national security network still do not share all their intelligence about terrorist threats with sister agencies, according to a new parliamentary report by the special Senate Committee on Anti-terrorism.
  • Chinese intelligence are after us, say immigrants to Canada. A spokesman for a Falun Gong group in Ottawa has accused the Chinese government of planting spies among the Chinese ex-pat community in the country. According to an unnamed former employee at China’s embassy in Sydney, Australia, who defected in 2005, there are more than 1,000 Chinese spies operating in Canada.

News you may have missed #385

  • Indian, Pakistani spy chiefs meet in Islamabad. The meeting between the Director of India’s General Intelligence Bureau, Rajiv Mathur, and his Pakistani counterpart Javed Noor, took place in the aftermath of the arrest of Madhuri Gupta, second secretary at the Indian high commission in Islamabad, Pakistan, who is accused of passing on secrets to Pakistan’s ISI spy agency.
  • CIA releases documents on Korean War. The US Central Intelligence Agency has released a document collection that includes more than 1,300 redacted files consisting of national estimates, intelligence memos, daily updates, and summaries of foreign media concerning developments on the Korean Peninsula from 1947 until 1954.
  • Lebanon to probe top government officials in Israeli spy ring case. The arrest of a senior Lebanese phone firm manager, who is accused of spying for Israel, has prompted prosecutors to ask that several senior government officials be stripped of their immunity so that they can be investigated in relation to a nationwide crackdown on alleged Israeli spy rings in the country.

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News you may have missed #324 (CIA edition)

  • Intelligence not hampered by waterboarding ban, says CIA’s top spy. Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told a student audience last week that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration.
  • CIA given details of British Muslim students. Personal information concerning the private lives of almost 1,000 British Muslim university students is to be shared with US intelligence agencies. IntelNews has frequently reported on the CIA’s increased activities in the UK.
  • CIA death at Salt Pit gets fresh attention. Jeff Stein revisits the case of Gul Rahman, who died in 2002 after weeks of interrogations at the Salt Pit secret CIA facility in Afghanistan. His death was kept off the CIA books, and his body, which was secretly buried, has never been found.

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Senate bill proposes closer links between US spies, private sector

Olympia Snowe

Olympia Snowe

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
A bipartisan bill, unveiled yesterday in the US Senate, proposes closer links between US intelligence agencies and private sector companies active in areas of “critical infrastructure”. Drafted and proposed by Republican senator Olympia Snowe and Democrat Jay Rockefeller, the legislation builds on concerns by government officials that US energy and telecommunications systems may not be able to sustain a concentrated cyber-attack by a foreign government agency or organized cybercriminal group. The major practical problem in terms of the government protecting these systems is that most have been deregulated since the Reagan era, and are now almost entirely under the control of private corporations. According to the bill, the US government would have to define the term “critical infrastructure”, and then designate the companies in control of such infrastructure networks as “critical partners” in protecting strategic national interests. Read more of this post

US, UK spy agencies on alert after unprecedented court decision

Binyam Mohamed

Binyam Mohamed

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
British and American intelligence agencies have been placed on alert following an unprecedented ruling by a British court, which forces the British government to disclose CIA documents in its possession. The documents relate to the case of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian resident of Britain, who says he was severely tortured with the collaboration of the CIA and British domestic intelligence agency MI5, after he was renditioned to Morocco. Last February, two British judges overseeing Mr. Mohamed’s case revealed that the British government kept “powerful evidence” secret after being threatened by the US that it would “stop sharing intelligence about terrorism with the UK”. In July, it emerged that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally threatened the British government that Washington would stop collaborating with London on intelligence matters if evidence in Mr. Mohamed’s case was publicly released. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0258

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News you may have missed #0251 (analysis edition)

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News you may have missed #0250

  • Pakistanis ask US to quit drone strikes. A Pakistani intelligence official has told the Associated Press that the response to the December 30 suicide bombing that killed seven CIA agents should not include intensifying unmanned drone strikes inside Pakistan. However, the CIA has reportedly “stepped up drone strikes” since the bombing.
  • Bush, Obama administrations guilty for neglecting info sharing. Thomas E. McNamara, former head of the US federal Information Sharing Environment, says the Bush and Obama administrations are both guilty of either losing interest or not focusing at all on promoting information sharing among often-secluded US government agencies.
  • China ends probe into Rio Tinto espionage case. Chinese prosecutors have now taken over the case of Stern Hu, the jailed boss of Anglo-Australian mining corporation Rio Tinto, after officials ended their investigation. Hu was arrested last July on espionage charges.

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Too much intelligence collection overwhelms US agencies

Predator drone

USAF drone

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The broad debate about America’s recent intelligence setbacks has centered on the view that US spy agencies do not share enough information with each other. Several days ago, however, Politico’s Laura Rozen noticed an important remark by an anonymous former intelligence official, buried in a longer piece in The Washington Post about the Christmas Day bomber. The official told the Post that “[t]he real story line internally [in the Christmas Day bomber affair] is not information-sharing or connecting dots [...]. Information was shared. It was separating noise from chaff. It’s not that information wasn’t passed around, it’s that so much information is being passed. There’s an inherent problem of dealing with all the data that is sloshing around” (emphasis added). This view may in fact be closer to reality than the more dominant ‘turf war’ argument. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0237

  • Christmas Day bomb plot exposes fissures in US spy community. As intelNews regulars know, turf wars between US intelligence agencies are nothing new. But lapses that allowed Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to board a Detroit-bound plane with a bomb on Christmas Day, and the finger-pointing that followed, have raised questions about supposedly sweeping changes made to improve intelligence-sharing after the 9/11.
  • Mysterious life of Soviet spy couple unveiled. Soviet agents Mikhail and Yelizaveta Mukasey were legends among illegals –i.e. international spies operating without diplomatic credentials. Now the Russian government is carefully releasing information on their activities and missions, which ranged from the US to Israel, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere.

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