Police investigate mysterious disappearance of close WikiLeaks associate

Arjen KamphuisPolice in Norway and Holland have opened formal investigations into the whereabouts of a Dutch cybersecurity expert and senior associate of WikiLeaks, who disappeared without trace on August 20. Arjen Kamphuis, a 47-year-old online privacy specialist, is known for his book Information Security for Journalists, which offers advice on investigative reporters working on national security and intelligence matters. Additionally, Kamphuis, who has Dutch citizenship, is a close associate of Julian Assange, founder of the international whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

According to reports, Kamphuis was last seen in Bodo, a town of 50,000 people located in Norway’s arctic region. Witnesses say that on August 20, Kamphuis checked out of his hotel in the center of Bodo and headed on foot to the town’s main railway station, where he planned to catch a train to Trondheim, Norway’s third largest city. From there he was scheduled to fly to the Dutch capital Amsterdam on August 22. However, it is not known whether Kamphuis ever boarded the 10-hour, 500-mile train ride to Trondheim. He certainly did not board his flight to Amsterdam and has not been heard from since he left his Bodo hotel on August 20. The French news agency Agence France Presse cited Norwegian police spokesman Tommy Bech, who said that Norwegian authorities were unaware of Kamphuis’s current whereabouts. He refused to speculate about what may have happened to Kamphuis after he left his hotel in Bodo, but said that the Norwegian police had opened a formal investigation into his disappearance, in association with police in Holland.

The Dutch cybersecurity expert’s disappearance comes as the fate of his close associate and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appears increasingly uncertain. The Australian-born Assange has been living in self-confinement inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London for six years. During that time, the Ecuadorian government has offered Assange protection against charges of rape and sexual assault that have been filed against him in Sweden, which the WikiLeaks founder dismisses as a political conspiracy against him. This past summer, however, Ecuador’s new President, Lenin Moreno, said that Assange would need to leave his embassy quarters soon. Assange is also wanted in the United States for leaking classified government documents through the WikiLeaks platform.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 05 September 2018 | Permalink

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American who disappeared in Iran in 2007 was working for the CIA

Iran and its regionBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org
An American private investigator, who was last seen in Iran in 2007, was under contract with the United States Central Intelligence Agency when he disappeared, according to information published last week. Bob Levinson was last seen alive in a hotel in Iran’s Kish Island, on March 8, 2007. He was reportedly there as a private investigator, to explore alleged links to a worldwide cigarette smuggling network. Both his family and the CIA have vehemently denied rumors that he was secretly working for the US government when he disappeared. Last week, however, the Associated Press and The Washington Post published lead articles in which they alleged that Levinson had been on a CIA mission at the time of his disappearance. The Associated Press, which described the news as “one of the biggest scandals in recent CIA history”, said it decided to run the story after agreeing to delay its publication three times in the past. The news agency said it first confirmed Levinson’s ties to the CIA in 2010, but was told by the US government that airing a story on the subject would compromise Levinson’s safety. Government officials reportedly told Associated Press editors that they were “pursuing promising leads” to get Levinson home, and that news of his CIA connection would fatally hamper their efforts. However the news agency decided to publish the story because, as its editors said, Levinson’s captors now “almost certainly know about his CIA association”. In a story aired on Friday, CNN said it spoke to an unnamed source “involved in the matter”, who confirmed that Levinson was in Iran on private business, but was also under contract with the CIA as an undercover agent. Read more of this post

Afghan intelligence officials ‘missing’ in the United States

Alibaba GhasheeBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
On November 2, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that two highly trained Afghan intelligence officers had gone missing in the United States. IntelNews hears that American authorities are still looking for the two Afghans, who seem to have disappeared without trace. The two missing officers work for Afghanistan’s main domestic intelligence agency, the National Security Directorate (NDS), which was founded following the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan and is mostly funded by Washington. The missing officers are Captain Alibaba Ghashee (pictured), Deputy Director of the NDS’ American and European Department, and Major Mohd Farooq Ghanizada, who directs agency’s Counterterrorism and Organized Crime Department. Both offices disappeared while in Washington, DC, for a high-level executive training program run jointly by the American and German governments. The 10-week intensive course, taught as part of the George C. Marshall Center Advanced Security Studies program, trains elite members of security and intelligence agencies from NATO member-states and other Western-allied countries. Although headquartered in Germany, the program involves a trip to Washington, DC, where participants are briefed by officials from —among other agencies— the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency. The two Afghans were supposed to meet their American government escorts on October 22 in downtown Washington, before heading to the airport for their return flight to Afghanistan. However, they never appeared, nor did they show up for their flight at Washington Dulles International Airport. Read more of this post

Fate of 11th Russian spy suspect remains a mystery

Christopher Metsos

C.R. Metsos

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
As the world’s media attention is focused firmly on last week’s 14-member spy swap between Russia and the United States, the fate of the 11th member of the Russian deep-cover intelligence network remains unknown. The operative, known as Christopher R. Metsos, was listed as “defendant No. 1” in the FBI criminal complaint against the now infamous Russian illegals network. Like his co-defendants, he was not charged with espionage, but with “acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government”. He was also charged with money laundering, and was described as the main financier of his ten co-defendants. However, Metsos escaped arrest in the US, because during the FBI raids he was in Cyprus, where he had arrived on June 17. He was arrested on June 29 at the island’s Larnaca International Airport, while trying to board a flight for Budapest, Hungary. A much younger woman traveling with him was allowed to leave on the flight, according to Cypriot media. Read more of this post

Did missing Polish intel officer defect to Russia?

Stefan Zielonka

Stefan Zielonka

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
We have been keeping an eye on the mysterious case of Stefan Zielonka, a senior SIGINT officer with Poland’s Military Intelligence Services (SWW), who disappeared without trace in early May of 2009. The seriousness of Zielonka’s disappearance stems from his extensive knowledge of Polish undercover intelligence networks operating overseas, including names and contacts of illegals –i.e. agents operating without diplomatic cover. Consequently, Polish intelligence officials have expressed fears that, if Zielonka defected, or was kidnapped by foreign intelligence agents, “much of the country’s intelligence network could be compromised”. The possibility that Zielonka actually defected increased after it became known that his wife and young child also disappeared. In December, a report in Poland’s Dziennik Gazeta Prawna claimed that the signals intelligence officer’s mysterious disappearance is connected with a “trail leading to the Far East”, with “all clues lead[ing] to China”. Earlier this week, however, Russian weekly Argumenti Niedieli suggested that Zielonka was in fact recruited by Russian military intelligence. Read more of this post

Missing Polish intel officer probably defected to China

Stefan Zielonka

Stefan Zielonka

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
We have been keeping an eye on the mysterious case of Stefan Zielonka, a senior signals intelligence officer with Poland’s Military Intelligence Services (SWW), who disappeared without trace in early May. The seriousness of Zielonka’s disappearance stems from his extensive knowledge of Polish undercover intelligence networks operating overseas, including names and contacts of illegals –i.e. agents operating without diplomatic cover. Consequently, Polish intelligence officials have expressed fears that, if Zielonka defected, or was kidnapped by foreign intelligence agents, “much of the country’s intelligence network could be compromised”. Read more of this post

Larry Franklin, implicated in Israeli spy affair, breaks silence

Franklin

Franklin

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Lawrence Anthony Franklin, the former US Defense Department analyst whose 12-year prison sentence was suspended last month, has finally broken his silence. Franklin, who was accused by the US government of handing classified US military information to two American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyists, has told Jeff Stein of SpyTalk that he handed out the secret information “in hopes that it would be passed on to the White House”. He said he was “worried” the Bush administration pursued a schizophrenic policy on Iran and had not calculated the Iranian reaction to a possible US invasion of Iraq. He therefore decided to pass on the classified information, which included “the names and locations of Iran’s secret agents and safe houses in Iraq”, to AIPAC lobbyists Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who claimed they had senior contacts in the Bush administration. Read more of this post