China not top priority for US spy agencies under new policy

US and China

US and China

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
American intelligence agencies have been directed by the US National Security Council (NSC) to downgrade intelligence collection on China. Under the directive, which was first proposed last October, Chinese intelligence targets will be coded “Priority 2” (Pri-2), from their current “Priority 1” (Pri-1) status. The Washington Times reports that the move is part of a wider Obama administration effort “to develop a more cooperative relationship with Beijing”. The latter recently requested a new bilateral relationship with Washington, free from “Cold War and power politics mentality”. But the NSC proposal was contested by CIA director Leon Panetta and director of national intelligence Dennis Blair. Read more of this post

White House memo sides with CIA in inter-agency turf war

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
For several months now, I have been keeping tabs on a bitter inter-agency turf war between the CIA and the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Now a Los Angeles Times article by Greg Miller confirms what intelNews reported on November 18, namely that the White House has come down in favor of the CIA position in the dispute. The turf war began last July, when DNI Dennis Blair argued in a still-classified directive that his office, and not the CIA, as has been the case for over 60 years, should have a say in certain cases over the appointment of senior US intelligence representatives in foreign cities. But the White House refused to validate Blair’s request. So, in November, the Office of the DNI hit back by announcing it would be evaluating all “[s]ensitive CIA operations overseas” including all of the CIA’s active paramilitary and espionage operations abroad. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0230

  • Ukrainians claim netting ‘spies among diplomats’. In the last 6 months of 2009, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has “exposed 7 spies among diplomats”, according to its director, Valentyn Nalyvajchenko. He apparently cited “a case of a Russian spy who was charged with obtaining defense industry secrets for a Chinese special service”. If anyone out there has information on this case, please contact us.
  • France launches new spy satellite. France has launched a military spy satellite, Helios 2B, part of a boost in spending on independent surveillance. The satellite can reportedly tell whether a truck convoy is moving or halted and whether a nuclear reactor is operational or not.
  • Seized N. Korean weapons destined for Middle East: US spy chief. An illicit North Korean arms shipment seized in Thailand last week was destined for the Middle East, US director of national intelligence Dennis Blair, has claimed. Blair’s comment, which was meant to tout improved cooperation among America’s 16 intelligence agencies, was the first official confirmation of the US role in the case.

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CIA-DNI turf war enters new phase

Dennis Blair

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The CIA may have won a lengthy turf battle against the office of the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), but the war between the two agencies continues. As intelNews reported last July, the dispute started when DNI Dennis Blair argued in a still-classified directive that his office, and not the CIA, as has been the case for over 60 years, should have a say in certain cases over the appointment of senior US intelligence representatives in foreign cities. A few days ago, when the White House finally came down in favor of the CIA, the imbroglio appeared to be ending. But now the DNI has hit back by announcing it will be evaluating all “[s]ensitive CIA operations overseas” including all of the CIA’s active paramilitary and espionage operations abroad. Read more of this post

CIA reportedly wins turf battle with DNI office

Leon Panetta

Leon Panetta

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The CIA has reportedly won a turf battle with the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), after the White House came down in support of the CIA position on Thursday. This blog has kept tabs on the dispute, which started last May, when DNI Dennis Blair argued in a still-classified directive that his office should have a say in certain cases over the appointment of senior US intelligence representatives in foreign cities. Former CIA officials publicly denounced the directive, which would allow the appointment of non-CIA personnel to these positions for the first time in 60 years, as “simple insanity”. Since then, various actors have sided with the two antagonists, with the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence committee supporting the DNI and Vice President Joe Biden backing the CIA’s position. But the stalemate reportedly ended on Thursday, after the White House ruled that the CIA, not the DNI, should appoint senior US intelligence representatives abroad. Read more of this post

CIA-DNI turf war over embassy posts continues

Joe Biden

Joe Biden

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
This blog has kept tabs on the latest US bureaucratic turf war between the CIA and the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). It started last May, when when DNI Dennis Blair argued in a still-classified directive that his office should have a say in certain cases over the appointment of senior US intelligence representatives in foreign cities. Former CIA officials publicly denounced the directive, which would allow the appointment of non-CIA personnel to these positions for the first time in 60 years, as “simple insanity”. The turf war appeared to be close to an end in July, when the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence came out in support of the DNI, arguing that “some locations may give rise to circumstances where th[e CIA station chief’s] responsibility is best met by an official with expertise derived from another I[ntelligence] C[ommunity] element”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0153

  • More on Nozette’s 2009 mystery trip abroad. The affidavit of Stewart David Nozette, who was arrested last Monday for attempting to sell classified US government information to an undercover FBI agent, reveals that “[o]n or about January 6, 2009, [the scientist] traveled to a different foreign country”, carrying with him two thumb drives, which he failed to bring back with him. Where did he go, and why?
  • Armenia charges former army officer with spying for Azerbaijan. Armenian Army officer Gevorg Airapetian and a “foreign national” were arrested in a “special operation” by Armenian authorities earlier this week, and charged with spying for Azerbaijan. Some suspect Russian involvement, believing the Azerbaijanis to have acted as intermediaries between Airapetian and Moscow.
  • US spy chief Blair calls for spy cooperation. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair called Wednesday for a better-coordinated effort within the US intelligence community. But he said nothing about recent reports that intelligence officials shut down a Web-based unclassified e-mail system, which had been heralded as an important step in information sharing between members of the US intelligence community.

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