News you may have missed #516

  • UK government will continue to spy on Muslims says official. Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, says she does not see “anything wrong with identifying people who are vulnerable to being taken down a certain route”.
  • UK government outed IRA double agent. Senior Irish Provisional Army volunteer Denis Donaldson, who spied for the British government, was deliberately outed by the government to send a message to the IRA that he was expendable, and that it had another, more valuable informant within the IRA leadership ranks. The revelation is contained in a leaked US diplomatic document published by whistleblower website WikiLeaks. Donaldson was shot dead shortly after his role as an MI5 informant was revealed.
  • Legendary CIA airline now in danger of crashing. There was a time, not so long ago, that CIA-linked contractor Evergreen International Aviation was doing quite well for itself. Today, the venerable intelligence-helpers have fallen on hard times. The other day, it had to unload its 200 million square foot maintenance facility in southern Arizona in order to help pay off its debts.

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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News you may have missed #0131

  • CIA active in UK, British MPs told. Charles Farr, the head of the British Home Office’s office of security and counter-terrorism, told members of the British Parliament that Britain had a “very close” relationship with the US intelligence community and that “declared” CIA personnel are active in the British Isles. IntelNews readers have been aware since last January that the CIA has been conducting “unprecedented intelligence-gathering operations in Britain”.
  • Denmark’s military spy chief resigns amid soldier book scandal. The publication of a book by Thomas Rathsack, former member of Jaegerkorps, an elite army unit, which reveals systematic breach of Geneva Convention directives by members of the unit deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, has prompted the resignation of the country’s military intelligence chief. Tim Sloth Joergensen announced his resignation on Sunday.
  • Wife of poisoned Russian spy criticizes Moscow visit. The widow of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was assassinated by radiation poison in London, where he was living after defecting to the UK, has criticized the prospect of a visit to Moscow by Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. “That [Mr. Miliband’s] visit will take place exactly on the third anniversary of my husband’s poisoning is adding insult to injury”, said Marina Litvinenko.

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News you may have missed #0102

  • NSA helped UK arrest convicted bomb plotters. Email correspondence intercepted by the US National Security Agency in 2006 helped lead to the arrest and conviction of three Muslim militants, who were planning attacks in Britain. IntelNews learns that this case was brought up by American intelligence officials who recently threatened to terminate all intelligence cooperation with the UK, in reaction to the release from a Scottish prison of convicted Libyan bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
  • Bush Administration tried to alter “enforced disappearances” international treaty standards. The aim of the global treaty, long supported by the United States, was to end official kidnappings, detentions and killings like those that plagued Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, and that allegedly still occur in Russia, China, Iran, Colombia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. But the documents suggest that initial US support for the negotiations collided head-on with the then-undisclosed goal of seizing suspected terrorists anywhere in the world for questioning by CIA interrogators or indefinite detention by the US military at foreign sites. So the Bush Administration tried to alter the language of the treaty from 2003 to 2006, reveals The Washington Post.

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Al-Qaeda may have infiltrated Britain’s MI5, says lawmaker

Patrick Mercer

Patrick Mercer

The chairperson of Britain’s House of Commons subcommittee on counter-terrorism has raised the possibility that MI5, the country’s premier domestic intelligence agency, has been infiltrated by al-Qaeda operatives. MP Patrick Mercer (Con.) revealed on Saturday that he had been told MI5 had expelled as many as six British Muslim recruits after red flags were raised about their backgrounds. He has since called upon Home Secretary Alan Johnson “to detail how far down the recruitment process the men had got before they were weeded out” by MI5 vetting officers. There are allegations that some of the six potential recruits had been trained in al-Qaeda-run camps in Pakistan, while others had “unexplained gaps in their curricula vitae”. No response has so far been issued by the British government, but The Daily Telegraph has quoted an “unnamed senior security source”, who has denied the allegations.

CIA sees British Muslims as most dangerous threat

On January 4, intelNews relayed reports from officials in Washington and London of an “unprecedented intelligence-gathering operation in Britain” by the CIA. The reason behind this intense activity appears to be that the Agency considers militants in Britain’s one-million-strong Muslim community to be “the most likely source of another terrorist spectacular on US soil”. Now a follow-up report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reveals that US President Barack Obama has been briefed in detail by CIA officials about the “dramatic escalation in American espionage in Britain” in recent months. Read more of this post

MI5 Director in rare public interview

The head of MI5, Britain’s foremost counterintelligence agency, has given the first public interview of an MI5 serving Director General in the organization’s 100-year history. Jonathan Evans, who became Director General of MI5 last April, answered questions in a face-to-face interview, on January 6, with a carefully selected group of security correspondents representing a handful of British media outlets. Among other things, Evans confirmed that al-Qaeda’s Pakistan-based leaders are actively trying to recruit British-born Muslims to stage attacks inside the UK. He estimated at “around 2,000” the number of individuals in Britain who are actively involved in such efforts, with many more involved in “fundraising, helping people to travel to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia. Sometimes they provide equipment, support and propaganda”, he said. Read more of this post

CIA conducting ‘unprecedented’ operations in Britain

British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph has published an article (reprinted in Australia’s The Age) discussing what it describes as CIA’s “unprecedented intelligence-gathering operation in Britain”. The paper cites “security sources in Washington and London” in revealing that the US spy agency is “recruiting and handling a record number of informers within the British Pakistani community”. Security circles in Washington have been known to express concerns about militant tendencies in that community, which is nearly one-million-strong. Bruce Reidel, a 26-year CIA veteran and al-Qaeda expert, who now advises US President Elect Barack Obama’s transition team, says that Britain’s Muslim community (whose members can travel to the US without visas) is “regarded by the American intelligence community as perhaps the single-biggest threat environment.” Read more of this post

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