News you may have missed #540

Jim Judd

Jim Judd

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►► Bulgaria bars ex-spies from holding diplomatic posts. Bulgaria’s conservative-majority parliament has voted to bar individuals who once worked for the country’s communist-era secret service from holding top diplomatic jobs. The aim of the legislation is what Eastern European countries call ‘lustration’, namely the process of cleansing of their security and intelligence agencies from Soviet-era operatives. The practical problem with that, of course, is that, in doing so, Eastern European intelligence services do away with some of their best-trained operatives. Moreover, there is nothing to suggest that Bulgaria’s post-communist spy agencies are significantly more law-abiding than their communist-era predecessors. Regular IntelNews readers might remember our coverage of Operation GALERIA as a case in point. ►► Ex-spymaster says Canada is too concerned about torture. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) struggle to isolate itself from complicity in torture by US and British spy agencies has reached the “point where we were probably alienating foreign partners” by not sharing intelligence. This is the opinion of Jim Judd, former Director of CSIS. He also argued that “strident anti-torture interpretations” would affect “everything and anything CSIS did, with respect to foreign intelligence agencies”. Judd, a career spy who retired in 2009, is considered something of a hawk, and probably rightly so. ►► NSA whistleblower requests reduced sentence (update: No jail time for Drake, judge releases him saying he has been through “four years of hell”). Thomas Drake was a senior official with the US National Security Agency. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #0118

  • Second spy operation against media revealed in Bulgaria. A few months ago, Bulgarian public opinion was shocked by revelations about Operation GALLERY (a.k.a. Operation GALERIA), a project by Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (DANS) aimed to intimidate the country’s press. Now a second domestic spying program has been discovered by the appropriately named Bulgarian Parliamentary Committee for Controlling DANS.
  • US military cannot analyze surveillance footage influx. The heaps of intelligence footage gathered by US military spy drones and surveillance cameras are already more than analysts can handle. So DARPA, the US military’s research arm, is looking for a software program that will automate the analysis process.

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News you may have missed #0095

  • New revelations about Bulgarian domestic spying case. It appears that Operation GALLERY (a.k.a. Operation GALERIA), by the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security (DANS), was primarily aimed at the Bulgarian tabloid newspaper Weekend and journalist Dimitar Zlatkov. Journalist Ognyan Stefanov, who was nearly beaten to death after authoring an article implicating DANS officials in illicit trafficking activities (see previous intelNews coverage), appears to have been simply collateral damage.
  • Taliban use CIA-supplied mines against US-led forces in Afghanistan. Evidence from the US Defense Department, Canadian forces in Afghanistan and the Taliban itself suggest that the increased damage to NATO tanks by Taliban forces has come from anti-tank mines provided by the US to the jihadi movement in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
  • Massive domestic spying revealed in Russia. From January to June this year, Russian intelligence agents surreptitiously opened 115,000 letters, listened in on 64,000 personal phone conversations, and broke into 11,000 private homes according to information from Russia’s Supreme Court.

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Bulgarian intelligence service found to have wiretapped “all national media”

Stefanov

Stefanov

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In 2008, the Bulgarian government announced the establishment of the State Agency for National Security (DANS). The Agency, which began work with the blessings of the US government, was said to be the Bulgarian version of America’s FBI, combining counterespionage and criminal intelligence operations. However, it appears that DANS has been distracted from its initial mission. Early last September, the Agency verified that investigative journalist Ognyan Stefanov was behind Opasnite Novini (Dangerous News) an anonymous blog specializing in investigative reports on Bulgaria’s government establishment. The blog had apparently attracted the attention of DANS after publishing a shocking exposé implicating DANS officials in illicit trafficking activities. On September 22, Stefanov was hospitalized in critical condition after being severely beaten by persons unknown, who used hammers and iron bars to thrash the journalist. Read more of this post

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