News you may have missed #776

Alexei NavalnyBy I. ALLEN and T.W. COLEMAN | intelNews.org |
►►US Army critiques its own intel collection system. An intelligence gathering system, known as the Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS), widely used by the US Army in Afghanistan to detect roadside bombs and predict insurgent activity, has severe limitations and is “not suitable”. This is according to a memo sent on August 1 by the Army’s senior equipment tester, General Genaro J. Dellarocco, to the Army’s chief of staff, General Raymond Odierno. The memo hammers the DCGS system for its “poor reliability” and “significant limitations” during operational testing and evaluation earlier this year.
►►Russian lawyer exposes wiretap find on Tweeter. Russian lawyer and political activist Alexei Navalny, who discovered a wiretapping device at his workplace, allegedly installed by the Russian government, has used YouTube and Tweeter to publicize his discovery. The wiretap was allegedly found attached to a set of wires hidden inside the wall molding of Navalny’s office at the Moscow-based organization Anti-Corruption Fund. It was reportedly discovered with the help of a bug detector. The same wires seem to also be attached to a hidden camera.
►►Volkswagen victim of Chinese industrial espionage? A recent article by Agence France Presse claims that German-based Volkswagen has become a victim of industrial espionage. While operating under a joint partnership agreement with the Chinese automobile company First Automobile Works, to build and manufacture cars for China’s burgeoning domestic market, designs and technical specifications for Volkswagen engines were apparently stolen. An unnamed Volkswagen manager stated that the loss was “quite simply a catastrophe”. It’s worth noting, however, that a similar accusation leveled against China in 2011 by French automaker Renault, turned out to be a criminal hoax.

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United States urges Iran to release alleged CIA spy

Amir Mirzaei HekmatiBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The United States has called on Iran to release an American citizen of Iranian descent, who appeared on Iranian state TV last Sunday and acknowledged that he was an operative of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the pre-recorded interview, a man identifying himself as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, from Arizona, said he was arrested by Iranian counterintelligence while on a CIA mission. Speaking calmly in Farsi and English and —as Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper put it— appearing to be “not under duress”, Hekmati said the joined the US Army in 2001 and served in Iraq. He also said that he was trained “in languages and espionage” while in the US Army, and eventually worked for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the US Pentagon’s research and development wing. In 2009, after nearly a decade of intelligence training, he said he was recruited by the CIA and was specifically prepared for what intelligence operatives sometimes refer to as a ‘dangling operation’ in Iran.  The aim of the mission, said Hekmati, was to travel to Tehran, contact Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security, and pose as a genuine American defector wishing to supply the Iranians with inside information about American intelligence. His immediate task was to gain the trust of Iranian authorities by giving them some correct information, in order to set the stage for a longer campaign of disinformation aimed at undermining a host of Iranian intelligence operations. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #623

Erkki Tuomioja,

Erkki Tuomioja,

►►Finnish FM washes hands of CIA flights. Erkki Tuomioja, the Finnish foreign minister, said last week that Finnish officials had no means to investigate allegations that a number of CIA prisoner flights touched down in Finland during the so-called war on terrorism. Tuomioja urged human rights groups to take action instead.
►►Australian defense documents stolen by foreign intelligence. A report has revealed that secret documents of Major-General John Cantwell, Australia’s most senior commander in the Middle East, were stolen by a foreign intelligence service last year. The documents were apparently in an encrypted drive stored in an aide’s backpack –contrary to protocol– and was thought lost when a large amount of luggage went missing for several days from Islamabad airport.
►►US soldier arrested by FBI counterintelligence. William Colton Millay, of Owensboro, Ky., was arrested last week at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage in an investigation conducted by the US Army and FBI. For now, both agencies are withholding information about the spy case. But an Army spokesman said that Millay did not leak or send information using the Internet and did not harm US security.

News you may have missed #440 (USA edition)

News you may have missed #422 (suspicious deaths edition)

  • Self-described CIA assassin dies in gun accident. Roland W. Haas, a senior intelligence officer in the US Army Reserve who claimed in a 2007 memoir that he was a CIA assassin, died over the weekend when he accidentally shot himself, police in the US state of Georgia said.
  • Russian military intel chief in mystery death. General Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of Russia’s powerful military intelligence agency, the GRU, died mysteriously in a swimming accident “several days ago”, Russian media has reported. No further details have been released on the circumstances or the location of Ivanov’s death.
  • David Kelly inquest calls ‘outrageous’, says friend. Professor Christian Seelos, was a UN weapons inspector in Iraq alongside British biological weapons expert Dr. David Kelly, who was found dead four days after appearing before a UK Parliament committee investigating claims about Iraq’s purported ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Seelos now says that calls for a fresh examination into Dr. Kelly’s death are “totally politically motivated”.

Largest leak in US military history reveals Afghan war details

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
American, British and German military planners are scrambling to contain the political impact of a massive cache of classified reports from Afghanistan, which has been leaked by an anti-secrecy activist group. It has now become known that, several weeks ago, the group Wikileaks.org handed over a total of 91,731 classified incident and intelligence reports from the US-led occupation force in Afghanistan to American newspaper The New York Times, British broadsheet The Guardian, and German newsmagazine Der Spiegel. All three outlets agreed to examine the material, abiding by Wikileaks’ condition that they would wait until Sunday, July 25, to release it. All three news media published news of the leak almost simultaneously on Sunday night, (see here, here and here), and posted several of the files, which provide an unprecedented six-year archive (from 2004 to 2009) of day-to-day US-led military operations in Afghanistan. This unprecedented disclosure is believed to represent the largest public leak of classified material in US military history. Read more of this post

US Army intel analyst arrested over Wikileaks probe

Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Speaking last Thursday at the annual Personal Democracy Conference in New York, Daniel Ellsberg said he was amazed that the US National Security Agency “can’t crack” Wikileaks. The former Pentagon employee, who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers, was referring to the activist website that anonymously publishes secret governmental and corporate documents from around the world. But Ellsberg may have been talking too soon. On Sunday, Wired magazine’s Threat Level blog revealed that a US Army intelligence analyst had been detained for allegedly giving Wikileaks secret video footage and “hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records”. Specialist Bradley Manning, 22, was reportedly detained two weeks ago by the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division while stationed in Forward Operating Base Hammer, near Baghdad, Iraq. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #308

  • CIA boss warns of al-Qaeda changing tactics. CIA director Leon Panetta has said that the Agency’s counterterrorism operations are actively disrupting al-Qaeda’s command and control structures. But the group is now changing its tactics by deploying people inside the US who have no history of terrorist activity or documented connection to the organization, he told a conference.
  • New US TSA boss is a counter-intel specialist. Robert A. Harding, the fifth person in nine years to head the beleaguered US Transportation Security Administration, served 33 years as a counterintelligence specialist in the US Army. TSA has been operating under an acting administrator for months.

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News you may have missed #0169

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News you may have missed #0109

  • Somali pirates have spies in London shipbroking. A report compiled by European military intelligence agencies says that Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden and more recently the Indian Ocean have well-placed informers in London, a world center for shipbroking and maritime insurance. They also regularly use satellite phones and GPS tracking systems to zero in on their targets.
  • Canada denies entry visa to Russian official due to KGB ties. Mikhail Margelov, who heads the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament, was invited to participate in the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA) in Ottawa. But upon applying for an entry visa he was warned it could be denied because of his KGB ties. Observers say this episode may be indicative of a shift in Russo-Canadian relations.

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Did CIA engage in non-consensual human experimentation?

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Late last month, I warned that it would take several weeks before journalists, academics, historians, lawyers, and other interested parties comb through the recently declassified report on torture by the CIA inspector general, as well as several other newly available documents pertaining to the CIA’s interrogation program. The search continues. Meanwhile, several observers are focusing on the CIA’s Office of Medical Services, as well as on Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) a secretive US Army unit, whose work appears to have informed the CIA’s torture program. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0073

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News you may have missed #0052

  • Expert says US Army’s spying on activists was illegal. Eugene R. Fidell, a military law expert at Yale Law School, says the spying by the US Army against two activist groups in Washington state, which was revealed earlier this week, appears to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of the US Army for conventional law enforcement activities against civilians.
  • German court rules spy services withheld information –again. Germany’s highest court has concluded that the government illegally withheld information from investigators probing into alleged spying on parliamentarians by Germany’s intelligence services (BND). Last week the BND was found to have withheld information from a parliamentary inquiry into the BND’s role in the detention of two Muslims from Germany at a US prison in Afghanistan.
  • Nearly 2.5 million have US government security clearances. The US Government Accountability Office estimates that 2.4 persons currently hold security clearances for authorized access to classified information. This number does not include those “with clearances who work in areas of national intelligence”.

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News you may have missed #0051

  • Instigator of Church committee hearings speaks about domestic intelligence. Christopher Pyle, the American whistleblower who in the 1970s sparked the Church Committee hearings on intelligence activities, has spoken about the recent revelations of US Army personnel spying on activist groups in Washington state. Pyle provided interesting historical context linking domestic espionage in the 1960s and 1970s with current developments in the so-called “war on terrorism”.
  • Declassified US President’s Daily Brief is reclassified. The CIA says that extracts of the President’s Daily Briefing (PDB) that were declassified in 2006, during the prosecution of former vice presidential aide Scooter Libby, are “currently and properly classified”. PDB declassifications occur extremely rarely.
  • Australian intelligence to focus on cybersecurity. David Irvine, the recently appointed director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, has identified cyberespionage as “a growing national security risk”.

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FOIA request reveals US Army spying on activists

Eileen Clancy

Eileen Clancy

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
US government documents released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by activists in Washington state have helped unmask a US Army informant operating amidst their ranks. John Towery, a member of the US Army’s Force Protection Service at Fort Lewis in Washington, claimed to be an anarchist named “John Jacob” in order to join Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. He then spied on the groups on behalf of several regional and federal government agencies, including Immigration Customs Enforcement, Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and the US Army. This is the latest in a long line of similar incidents, which inevitably point to a systematic campaign of domestic intelligence gathering against antiwar groups. Read more of this post

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