News you may have missed #334

  • Analysis: Split up the CIA, says veteran officer. A 15-year CIA veteran, who goes by the pseudonym Ishmael Jones, reveals in a new book that the Agency now has only “a handful” of non-official-cover officers, i.e. spies not affiliated with a US diplomatic mission abroad. In The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, Jones argues the CIA should be broken up and its pieces absorbed by other US intelligence agencies.
  • Turkey appoints new intelligence director. It is expected that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) will soon be headed by Dr. Hakan Fidan, who will replace Emre Taner. MİT’s reputation has recently been severely hit by the involvement of some of its personnel in the notorious Ergenekon affair.

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News you may have missed #298

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News you may have missed #294

  • Tensions mount in Turkey over alleged coup plot. Simmering tensions between Turkey’s government and judicial elite erupted into open confrontation Thursday, over the handling of a probe into the Ergenekon network, an alleged military-intelligence plot to topple the Islamist-rooted government.
  • CIA recruiting Chinese-Americans. The CIA is posting recruitment advertisements in Southern California’s Chinese language media during the Lunar New Year, in an attempt to hire Chinese Americans. This is part of a wider effort by the Agency to increase numbers of ethnic minority employees by 22 to 30 percent by 2012.
  • Two alleged Israeli spies sentenced to death in Lebanon. Retired police officer Mahmoud Qassem Rafeh, who was arrested by Lebanese authorities in 2006, has been given a death conviction for “collaboration and espionage on behalf of the Israeli enemy”. Another defendant, Palestinian Hussein Khattab, has been convicted in absentia for his alleged involvement in the murders of members of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

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News you may have missed #0283

  • Romanian spy chief in rare interview. On the 20th anniversary of Romania’s post-communist Foreign Intelligence Service (SIE), Romanian daily Libera published an interesting interview with SIE director Mihai Razvan Ungureanu. Includes quote of the week: “The diplomat does nothing illegal […] while the spy does nothing in the spirit of respecting the laws of other states”.
  • Trial of Hawaii resident accused of spying for China postponed. Noshir Gowadia’s federal trial has been delayed several times since he was arrested in 2005, for allegedly providing China with information on making cruise missiles less visible to radar and heat-seeking missiles.
  • Bizarre suicide streak in Turkish military continues. Could the latest in a long list of recent alleged suicides by members of the Turkish military be connected to the shadowy Ergenekon military-intelligence network?

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News you may have missed #0272

  • Outcry in Turkey over revealed coup plot. Turkish daily Taraf has revealed a military coup plot, which included detailed plans to trigger chaos in the country with the ultimate goal of a military takeover. This appears to be a new plot, not associated with the ongoing Ergenekon coup plot investigation.
  • US jails Sri Lankan LTTE operatives. A US federal court has sentenced Thiruthanikan Thanigasalam and Sahilal Sabaratnam to 25 years in prison for trying to purchase almost $1 million worth of high-powered weaponry for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which the US considers a terrorist organization.
  • Czechoslovakian spy lookout to be opened to public. The bell tower on St. Nicholas’ Church in Prague, where 20 years ago the Czechoslovakian secret police, the StB, kept a hidden lookout on activities outside nearby embassies, especially that of the US, is to be opened to the public later this year.

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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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News you may have missed #0082

  • The spy who prayed. Profile of As’ad Said Ali, deputy chief of Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency, who is actively involved in Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization.
  • Shadowy Turkish group used journalists as spies. Ergenekon, a shadowy ultranationalist network with strong links to the Turkish armed forces, which planned to topple the Turkish government, used journalists to spy on its high-profile targets, according to court documents.
  • CIA sacked Baghdad station chief after deaths. The CIA removed its station chief in Iraq and reorganized its operations there in late 2003, following “potentially very serious leadership lapses” that included the deaths of detainees in US custody.

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