News you may have missed #653: India edition

Research and Analysis WingBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►India’s external intel agency gets wiretapping powers. India’s government has given the country’s external intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the right to intercept domestic phone calls, emails and voice and data communications. This is the first time that RAW has been authorized to intercept communications inside the country. Should Indian citizens be bracing for more political policing?
►►India uncovers alleged Pakistan honey trap operation. A lieutenant colonel in the Indian Army was reportedly caught in a ‘honey trap’ by Pakistani intelligence agencies, as a result of which he was forced to spy for them against Indian interests, according to Indian media. The officer was allegedly in Bangladesh this past summer to attend a course at a military academy, when he was trapped by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), sources said. What is it with Indian government employees and honey trap operations?
►►Indian arrested for spying for Pakistan. Indian police in Rajasthan said it arrested Pawan Kumar Sharma, a clerk working at the regional Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s office in Suratgarh town, on charges of spying for Pakistan. Authorities said Sharma is suspected of spying for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate for the past year-and-a-half, using a prepaid cell phone provided by the ISI.

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News you may have missed #645

Turki al-Faisal

Turki al-Faisal

►►Polish authorities arrest retired spy. The former head of Poland’s State Protection Bureau (1993-96) has been detained by officers of the country’s Central Anticorruption Bureau. Identified as Gromoslaw Cz., the arrestee is a retired general and intelligence officer, who participated in the extraction of CIA officers in Iraq in 1990. According to TVN 24 news, Gromoslaw Cz.’s detention is connected with events surrounding the privatization of the G-8 group of energy companies in the years 1994-2004, which eventually set up Energa concern in 2005.
►►Are China’s hotel rooms bugged? What could have been a dull security conference in Canada last week turned into a pretty interesting one, when former diplomat Brian McAdam claimed that “virtually all” hotels in China are rigged with hidden microphones and video cameras. The latter, he said, are used by the Chinese government to recruit many of its informants, by catching them in the act in carefully planned liaisons.
►►Ex-spy chief says Saudi Arabia may join nuke arms race. Saudi Arabia may consider acquiring nuclear weapons to match regional rivals Israel and Iran, its former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal said on Monday. “Our efforts and those of the world have failed to convince Israel to abandon its weapons of mass destruction, as well as Iran […]. Therefore it is our duty towards our nation and people to consider all possible options, including the possession of these weapons” Faisal told a security forum in Riyadh.

News you may have missed #640

Amos Yadlin

Amos Yadlin

►►Chinese defector says Canada right to worry about spying. Li Fengzhi, a former intelligence officer for China’s Ministry of State Security, who defected to Canada in 2003, has told a conference that Canada should be concerned about relationships between senior politicians and journalists from China, saying Beijing is targeting lawmakers everywhere. He was referring to the case of senior Conservative MP Bob Dechert, who was enveloped by controversy in September over amorous e-mails he sent to Shi Rong, a Chinese government journalist based in Toronto. After the Dechert controversy broke, the journalist recalled to Beijing to meet with her superiors and has not returned to her Canadian posting.
►►More intel officials warn against airstrikes on Iran. Meir Dagan, the former head of Israeli spy agency Mossad, is not alone in warning against the possibility of Israeli attacks against Iran’s nuclear program. He has now been joined by Major General Amos Yadlin, who until recently headed Israel’s Military Intelligence directorate. Speaking at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Yadlin doubted that airstrikes could threaten Iran’s numerous, distant and well-defended nuclear facilities. Another intelligence official, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal, also cautioned last week against any attacks on Iran, saying that “there are other non- military policy alternatives, as yet unexplored, that could have the desired result without the unwanted consequences”.
►►GCHQ challenges code breakers via social networks. Britain’s signals intelligence agency, the General Communications Headquarters, has launched a code cracking competition to help attract new talent. The organization has invited potential applicants to solve a visual code posted at an unbranded standalone website. The challenge will also be ‘seeded’ to social media sites, blogs and forums. A spokesman said the campaign aimed to raise the profile of GCHQ to an audience that would otherwise be difficult to reach.

News you may have missed #639 (Katia Zatuliveter edition)

Katia Zatuliveter

Katia Zatuliveter

►►Russian woman accused of spying wins right to stay in UK. Katia Zatuliveter, 26, who was accused by British counterintelligence service MI5 of being a spy for Russia, has won a court appeal against her planned deportation. A panel of the UK’s Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which included the former MI5 director general Sir Stephen Lander, ruled that MI5’s suspicions about Zatuliveter had been reasonably held, but were wrong.
►►Zatuliveter espionage case reveals MI5 fears. MI5, the security service, will be hugely disappointed that the Special Immigration Appeals Commission has overturned the government’s attempt to deport Katia Zatuliveter on allegations that she spied for Russia. But senior figures at the domestic intelligence service will have no regrets about undertaking their yearlong attempt to secure the expulsion of an individual who has given them ample grounds for suspicion.
►►How big is the threat from Russian spies? There may well be Russian spies operating in Britain today, but Katia Zatuliveter –who has won an appeal against deportation– is not one of them, and the failure of the case against her is an embarrassing blow to a security service for whom the Russians were once the top target.

News you may have missed #626

Katia Zatuliveter

Katia Zatuliveter

►►Analysis: On largely forgotten CIA officer Jim Thompson. The CIA’s longtime man in Southeast Asia, Jim Thompson, fought to stop the agency’s progression from a small spy ring to a large paramilitary agency. He was in many ways unique, but by the 1950s and early 1960s he would become part of a larger, growing, and much less idealistic machine, one that would expose his naiveté –and punish him for it. Interesting historical analysis from Foreign Policy.
►►Court blocks naming NATO official who had affair with alleged Russian spy. We have written before that Katia Zatuliveter, who is accused by British MI5 of being a spy for Russia, has admitted having a four-year affair with Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, as well as with a Dutch diplomat and a NATO official. The latter, a German diplomat, was pictured in a newspaper last week. However, his face was obscured because of the terms of a court order that means he cannot be identified.
►►Promises made about Colombia’s new spy agency. Colombia’s disgraced DAS intelligence agency has finally been dissolved. Now the government’s senior National Security adviser, Sergio Jaramillo, has said that Colombia’s new intelligence service will focus on combating “government infiltration by criminal organizations”. I guess it doesn’t hurt to be ambitious.

News you may have missed #613 (court case edition)

Katia Zatuliveter

Katia Zatuliveter

►►Russian accused spy admits affair with British MP. Katia Zatuliveter, 26, who is accused by British counterintelligence service MI5 of being a spy for Russia, has admitted having a four-year affair with Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock, 66, while she worked as his parliamentary researcher. She also admitted that before meeting Mr Hancock she had affairs with a NATO official and a Dutch diplomat. However, she has denied working as a spy or targeting Mr Hancock in a honey trap operation.
►►Trial for ex-CIA officer accused of leaking secrets delayed. The trial for Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged with leaking classified defense information has been delayed. Opening arguments were expected to begin this week, but the trial was postponed on Monday after prosecutors said they intended to appeal the judge’s decision to strike two witnesses.
►►UK justice secreary plans closed-door terrorism trials. Intelligence gathered by British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6, even if obtained by torture, will never be disclosed in court proceedings, under proposals announced by British justice secretary Kenneth Clarke. The proposals have been welcomed by the security and intelligence agencies, but criticized by civil rights groups for promoting “secret justice”.

News you may have missed #600 (China edition)

Lo Hsien-che

Lo Hsien-che

►►Chinese spy stirs unease in Taiwan military. Excellent, well-researched piece by The Washington Post about Lo Hsien-che, a Major General in the Taiwanese military, who earlier this year was convicted in what has been described as Taiwan’s biggest spy scandal in over 50 years. Lo appears to have fallen victim to a carefully planned Chinese honey-trap operation, involving a “tall, beautiful and chic” Chinese female operative, who held an Australian passport.
►►US consulate guard accused of trying to spy for China. Bryan Underwood, a former contract security guard at a US consulate under construction in southern China’s largest city, Guangzhou, was charged Wednesday with trying to pass defense secrets about the site to Chinese intelligence officials. Scheduled for completion next year, the consulate is the only one under construction in the world’s most populous nation.
►►Taiwan professor detained for spying for China. Wu Chang-yu, of Taiwan’s Central Police University, was detained Friday for allegedly providing data on visiting Chinese activists to Beijing. Taiwan’s United Daily News quoted unidentified sources as saying Wu was recruited during a recent visit to China.