IT worker gave secrets to FBI agent posing as Israeli spy

Akamai logo

Akamai logo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
An American employee of a major information technology firm has pled guilty to providing inside economic information about his employer to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer. Federal prosecutors at the Office for the US Attorney in the state of Massachusetts have indicted Elliot Doxer, 42, from Brooklyn, New York (see previous intelNews coverage here). Until last August, Doxer worked in the finance department of Akamai Technologies, Inc., an Internet content delivery company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to the indictment, in June of 2006, Doxer voluntarily contacted the consulate of Israel in Boston via email, offering to provide Israeli intelligence officers with inside information about Akamai. He offered to do this, he said, in order “to help our homeland [presumably Israel] and our war against our enemies”. He also requested a $3,000 compensation for his services. But Israeli consular officials forwarded his email to the FBI. The latter sent an undercover agent to contact Doxer, posing as an Israeli intelligence operative. Believing that the FBI agent was a spy for Israel, Doxer began giving him classified information on a routine basis, an arrangement that lasted until March of 2009. During these 18 months, Doxer gave inside information —including details of Akamai’s computer and physical security systems— to his FBI handler at least 62 times, according to prosecutors. Read more of this post

Massive IMF cyberattack ‘was state-backed’, say sources

International Monetary Fund seal

IMF seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
A massive and sophisticated cyberattack that targeted the computer systems of the International Monetary Fund last month was “linked to a foreign government”, according to sources familiar with the incident. The IMF, an international institution which oversees financial crises around the world, revealed the security breach in an internal email sent last week, but has yet to make a public announcement about the incident. Although the cyberattack was not publicly announced, it was revealed last weekend by The New York Times, which cited a “security expert […] familiar with the incident”. The paper notes that IMF’s computer databases function as “a repository of highly confidential information about the fiscal condition of many nations”, and that they contain “potentially market-moving information”. British daily The Independent adds that “internal political opponents and foreign intelligence services could […] find [in the IMF databases] explosive information about government dealings with the fund”. Intriguingly, the attack occurred in the weeks prior to the arrest of the Fund’s Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who was detained on American soil on charges of sexually assaulting a female worker at his luxury New York hotel. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #466

  • France blasts economic warfare by industrial spies. The French government says it is the victim of an economic war, after Renault, France’s partially state-owned carmaker, suspended three top executives over leaks of secret electric-car technology. The French intelligence services are probing a possible Chinese connection. It should be noted that, according to US estimates, France leads industrial spying in Europe.
  • Canada a target for foreign interference, says spy chief. A keenly anticipated report by Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Richard Fadden paints a picture of a broad threat of foreign interference from countries out to influence Canada’s policy and politicians, target dissidents and pilfer technology. It is the most detailed articulation of the spy service’s concerns about overtures from foreign agents, including two suspected cases involving provincial cabinet ministers.
  • Jordanian Hamas spy awarded PhD in jail. Jordanian Azzam Jaber, jailed in Jordan for spying for the Palestinian group Hamas on potential targets including the Israeli embassy, has obtained his doctorate from the University of Yarmuk.

Analysis: Canada becoming a heaven for spies claims ex-CSIS agent

Michel Juneau-Katsuya

Juneau-Katsuya

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Canada is today one of the world’s safest and most attractive environments for international spies, according to a former officer in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who last September co-authored Nest of Spies with Montreal-based journalist Fabrice de Pierrebourg, says that Canada is doing little to combat increasing espionage activity within its borders by agents of friendly and adversary nations alike, including China, Iran, Israel, the United States, and France. Juneau-Katsuya suggests that international spying within Canada is encouraged by the country’s prosperity, its multicultural urban environment, advanced telecommunications infrastructure, as well as by its political or geographical proximity to major world powers, such as Russia and the United States. Read more of this post

US report sheds light on mysterious Chinese front company

Lev Leviev

Lev Leviev

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A new report by a US Congressional commission sheds light on a mysterious Chinese corporate group, which intelligence observers have long-suspected to be a front company for Chinese spy agencies. Named after the street address of its headquarters, the Hong Kong-registered 88 Queensway Group is noted for its dynamic investments around the world, particularly in Africa, where the Chinese government has been extremely active in recent years. But new information (.pdf) compiled by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission of the US Congress, alleges that the 88 Queensway Group “falsely represents itself as a private business when it actually is [an arm of the] Chinese intelligence community [and] public security apparatus”. Read more of this post

Comment: Are Clinton’s Cyberattack Protests Hypocritical?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS* | intelNews.org |
The Chinese have accused the US government of hypocrisy in criticizing Beijing for its alleged role in organized hacking attacks, which recently drove Google to abandon its operations in China. Speaking last Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton argued that “[c]ountries or individuals that engage in cyberattacks should face consequences and international condemnation”. But a subsequent editorial in government-owned The People’s Daily essentially said that China is not the only country that engages in cyberwarfare; the US does it too. Is this true? Most likely, yes. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0210

  • Turkey arrests secret service officials over coup allegations. The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) branch in the city of Erzincan, identified only as Ş.D., and two other regional MİT officials, are under arrest in connection with the ongoing investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine network charged with plotting to overthrow the Turkish government.
  • European Union gives CIA access to Europe bank records. Some have condemned the agreement, due to come into force in two months’ time, because it contains no reciprocal arrangement under which European authorities can easily access the bank accounts of US citizens in America.

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Indians allege Pakistani spies funded through Europe

India-Pak border

India-Pak border

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Indian authorities have told a major newspaper that Pakistani spies operating in India are funded with money transfers from spy handlers in Europe. Indian daily The Telegraph cites Indian counterintelligence sources, who claim that Pakistani embassies in several European nations, including Spain, Estonia and Luxembourg, use “a popular money transfer company” (in all likelihood Western Union) to fund Pakistani agents operating in India. According to the Indians, most money transfers are facilitated through the simple technique of email account password sharing, which allows both the handler in Europe and the agent in India to access the same email inbox, as well as the same money transfer drafts. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0126

  • Cyber spying increasing in the US, says new report. The Office of the US National Counterintelligence Executive’s annual report says that cyber attacks against US government and business targets “proliferated in fiscal year 2008”. The report also states that Blackberries and iPhones belonging to government and business personnel are becoming major targets by foreign cyber spies.
  • Analysis: The case for a US National Declassification Center. There is no argument about the fact that the US government’s declassification system simply doesn’t work. The way around the problem is to establish a centralized National Declassification Center, according to a National Archives and Records Administration white paper.
  • New Colombian spy agency forbidden from conducting wiretaps. Technically, the scandal-prone Administrative Department of Security (DAS) is no more in Colombia. The new agency, which is expected to replace DAS, will not be allowed to tap telephones, a function that will be solely entrusted to the police force. We’ll have to wait and see about that.

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DNI responses to Senate questions declassified

Dennis Blair

Dennis Blair

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Don’t bother reading through the 40 pages (.pdf) of responses given last February by the US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to questions by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. There’s not that much new information in it, and it turns out DNI Dennis C. Blair even resorted to plagiarizing part of an article on an alleged Russian attack on US satellites originally printed in Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, with no attribution. Instead, you can save time by taking a look at the observations made on the 40-page document by Steven Aftergood, editor of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News bulletin. It was, in fact, a Freedom of Information Act request by Aftergood that prompted the release of the document in the first place. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0059

  • Torture report says UK government ministers shielded MI5, MI6. A new report from Britain’s parliamentary human rights committee accuses senior cabinet ministers of “hiding behind a wall of secrecy” to avoid being held to account over allegations of British intelligence agents’ collusion in torture.
  • US cyber czar resigns. Senior intelligence official Melissa Hathaway, who was US President Barack Obama’s choice to monitor America’s online security, said in an interview that she is leaving “for personal reasons”.
  • South Korean opposition skeptical of request for new intelligence powers. Opposition parties in South Korea are critical of the National Intelligence Service’s (NIS) recent request to gain access to information on financial transactions amounting to 20 million won or more without a warrant.

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News you may have missed #0056

  • South Korean spy agency seeks increased access to financial intelligence. The National Intelligence Service is pushing for legal revisions that will allow it to access information on financial transactions of over 20 million won (US$16,000) without a warrant. The agency claims the new powers will help track down “terrorism-related funds”.
  • Nepal to create new spy agency. The Maoist Nepali government is preparing to set up a powerful intelligence body that will be directly accountable to the Prime Minister. IntelNews hears that Indian government advisors are actively involved in setting up the new agency, which will “gather information on foreign intervention in Nepal”.
  • Peru’s Defense minister denies alleged espionage against Chile. Rafael Rey has denied any participation by Peru’s government in the case of Business Track, a company accused of telephonic and electronic interception to Chilean Army officers.

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News you may have missed #0055

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News you may have missed #0023

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News you may have missed #0022

  • Australian detained on espionage charge in China. The arrest of Stern Hu, who heads Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations in China, comes right after the company backed out of a deal to sell China’s state-owned Chinalco a big stake in Rio Tinto.
  • US diplomat implicated in CIA abduction in Italy requests immunity. Days after the wife of a of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who in 2003 was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan, Italy, announced plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, a CIA agent involved in the affair has come forward requesting immunity. Sabrina De Sousa, who was listed as a “diplomat” at the US consulate in Milan at the time of Nasr’s kidnapping, has made the request through her lawyer. Last week, Robert Seldon Lady, who was the CIA station chief in Milan at the time, came forward making a similar case.
  • CIA won’t release torture interrogation contracts. The CIA has denied a Freedom of Information Act request for post-9/11 contracts signed between the CIA and Mitchell Jessen & Associates. As intelNews explained last May, Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were the psychologists hired by the CIA to design an elaborate ten-stage interrogation program of “war on terrorism” detainees, which apparently culminated in waterboarding.

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