News you may have missed #0176

  • Hungarian Cold War double agent dies at 71. István Belovai, a former Lieutenant-Colonel in the Hungarian People’s Army Military Strategic Service (HPAMSS), who secretly began working for the US in 1984, has died in Denver, Colorado. Belovai revealed to the CIA details of the so-called Conrad spy ring. He was arrested by Hungarian security agents in 1985 and fled to the US upon his release from prison, in 1991, after being warned that his life was in danger.
  • US military spies to train Iraqi counterparts. The 201st Battlefield Support Battalion is training Iraqis on how to “coordinate spying from human sources, intercept cell phone and other electronic messages, do counterintelligence work, manage linguists, and monitor and target enemy positions, among other specialized tasks”.
  • Swiss secret service chief calls for more spies. Markus Seiler, the head of the new Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, which combines the country’s foreign and domestic intelligence services, has called Switzerland “a stomping ground for secret services”, and has called for more counterintelligence personnel. He has also said that the intelligence services plan a greater presence in Swiss embassies around the world.

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News you may have missed #0133

  • Book examines Central Asian espionage in WWI. On Secret Service East of Constantinople, by Peter Hopkirk (John Murray Publishers), examines the role of German intelligence services in Kaiser Wilhelm’s attempt to gain influence in the Ottoman Empire, the Caucasus, Persia, Afghanistan and India. A very interesting, under-researched aspect of World War I.
  • CIA intercepted communication between Zazi and al-Qaeda. A local TV station in Denver, Colorado, quotes “intelligence officials familiar with the investigation” of Najibullah Zazi, as saying that the CIA alerted US federal agencies after intercepting a conversation between Zazi and a senior al-Qaida operative. No word yet about this from the FBI, which is supposed to handle domestic terrorism cases.
  • US defense secretary hints at more secret nuke sites in Iran. Speaking alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last night at a CNN/George Washington University forum, Robert Gates dropped what seemed to be a big hint that the United States knows much more about the Iranian nuclear program than the Iranians might think.

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