News you may have missed #675

Eugene ForseyBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►US ‘has engaged in cyberwarfare’. Former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnell said in an interview with Reuters that the United States has already used cyber attacks against an adversary. Most believe he was referring to Stuxnet, the computer virus unleashed against Iran in 2010.
►►Philippines studying US offer to deploy spy planes. The Philippines is considering a US proposal to deploy surveillance aircraft on a temporary, rotating basis to enhance its ability to guard disputed areas in the South China Sea, the Philippine defense minister said last week. The effort to expand military ties between the United States and the Philippines, which voted to remove huge American naval and air bases 20 years ago, occurs as both countries grapple with the growing assertiveness of China.
►►Canadian intelligence spied on constitutional expert. Canadian security forces kept close tabs on renowned constitutional scholar Eugene Forsey from his early days as a left-wing academic to his stint as a senator, according to newly declassified documents. The collection of more than 400 pages, which has been obtained by Canadian newspaper The Toronto Star, reveals the RCMP Security Service (the predecessor to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service), followed Forsey for four decades throughout his career as an economics professor, research director for the Canadian Congress of Labour (now called the Canadian Labour Congress), a two-time Ottawa-area candidate for the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and then his 1970 appointment as a Liberal senator. No surprises here.

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News you may have missed #563 [updated]

Mike McConnell

Mike McConnell

►►Colombia spy official imprisoned for illegal wiretapping. Gustavo Sierra Prieto, the former analysis chief of Colombia’s soon-to-be-dismantled DAS intelligence agency, has been sentenced to eight years and four months in jail for his role in the illegal wiretapping of government opponents, judges and journalists. But the main culprit in the wiretapping scandal, former DAS Director Maria Pilar Hurtado, is still hiding in Panama.
►►Cold War documents detail CIA interest of Canada. The CIA has declassified some of its Cold-War-era reports on Canada. The documents show that the Agency’s interest in America’s northern neighbor was mostly related to the its satellite R&D, as well as its economic sector, with a particular focus on Canada’s energy and minerals sector. There is also discussion in some documents of how to best utilize Canada’s energy resources in a possible war with the Soviet Union.
►►Ex-intel official says US must engage in cyberspying. Is it just me, or is there a calculated echo chamber developing by former senior US spy officials? Read more of this post

Analysis: Axing of US DNI points to structural issues

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Although few American intelligence observers were astonished by last week’s involuntary resignation of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the silence by the White House on the subject has raised quite a few eyebrows in Washington. Admiral Dennis C. Blair, who became DNI in January of 2009, announced his resignation on Friday. Blair’s announcement came after a prolonged period of controversy, which included bitter infighting with the CIA, and culminated with the recent partial publication of a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which blamed “systemic failures across the Intelligence Community” for the so-called Christmas bomb plot of last December. The problem is that Admiral Blair’s replacement will be the fourth DNI in five years, after John Negroponte, Mike McConnell and Blair himself. Read more of this post

Comment: Board overseeing US intelligence practices still without members

Mike McConnell

Mike McConnell

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Intelligence insiders in the US are beginning to wonder why US President Barack Obama has yet to appoint any members to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB). The PIAB, first established in 1956 by President Eisenhower, is tasked with conducting executive oversight of US intelligence practices. Its sensitive role is accentuated by its main focus, which is to alert the White House about US intelligence activities that may be illegal or may in any way go beyond Presidential authorization. This part of its mission makes the Board extremely critical in ensuring adequate executive oversight of the US intelligence community. But now, lacking any members whatsoever, the PIAB is being managed by its administrative staff and is in a sort of “autopilot” mode, according to its counsel, Homer Pointer, who spoke to the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News. Read more of this post

Outgoing CIA head confirms Obama backing down on torture

Hayden

Hayden

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On January 15, I suggested that, after nominating Panetta, incoming US President Barack Obama was slowly backing away from his dispute with the CIA leadership. This interpretation has now been publicly confirmed by no other than departing CIA Director, Michael V. Hayden. Speaking to journalists about his imminent departure from the Agency, Hayden made sure to let them know that Mr. Obama privately assured him “he has no plans to launch a legal inquiry” into the CIA’s use of controversial interrogation methods in the “war on terrorism”. He also stated that the President Elect offered similar guarantees to Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnel, during a secret meeting in Chicago in December 2008. Read more of this post

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