News you may have missed #540

Jim Judd

Jim Judd

►► 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. Last year, however, Drake admitted exchanging hundreds of email messages with a newspaper reporter, in which he exposed reportedly classified aspects of the NSA’s inner workings. His aim, he said, was to draw attention to alleged mismanagement and operational deficiencies in the gigantic Agency, most importantly concerning a failed computer project which cost the US taxpayer over a billion dollars in research and development expenses. Now a new court filing shows that government prosecutors have agreed not to seek a prison term for Drake. He in turn asked the judge overseeing the case to sentence him to a year’s probation and community service.

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