News you may have missed #617

Ilan Grapel

Ilan Grapel

►►Analysis: Is the CIA Still an Intelligence Agency? Early September 2011, a former intelligence official commented to The Washington Post that, “The CIA has become one hell of a killing machine”. He then attempted to retract, but his words were on record. But is that really what it should be: a hell of a killing machine?
►►US National Security Agency helps Wall Street battle hackers. The National Security Agency, a secretive arm of the US military, has begun providing Wall Street banks with intelligence on foreign hackers, a sign of growing US fears of financial sabotage. While government and private sector security sources are reluctant to discuss specific lines of investigations, they paint worst-case scenarios of hackers ensconcing themselves inside a bank’s network to disable trading systems for stocks, bonds and currencies, trigger flash crashes, initiate large transfers of funds or turn off all ATM machines.
►►Israel okays deal with Egypt to free alleged spy. Israel’s security cabinet unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday for the release of Israeli-American law student Ilan Grapel (pictured), who has been in jail in Egypt since June 12 on spying allegations that were later reduced to incitement. In exchange, Israel will release 22 Egyptian prisoners, most of them Bedouin from the Sinai jailed for smuggling drugs or weapons.

News you may have missed #609

Ilan Grapel

Ilan Grapel

►►Questions over Chinese spy hang over Putin visit. The arrest of a Chinese spy in Moscow has cast a cloud over Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to Beijing. Tong Shengyong was arrested last October for allegedly trying to buy plans to the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. But perplexingly, the news of his arrest only emerged last week, in what appears to have been a deliberate leak by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
►►Egypt steps up charges against suspected Israel spy. Egypt’s State Security Prosecutor has added additional criminal offenses against alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel. Meanwhile, there are indications that Egypt seeks the release of 78 Egyptian prisoners held in Israeli jails in return for Grapel. Israel may agree with the proposal.
►►CIA to be last out of Afghanistan. US Special Forces and the CIA are girding for the moment when Afghanistan’s security rests once again with them, working together with Afghan forces against the Taliban. Recent remarks from the White House suggest the CIA and special operations forces will be hunting al-Qaida and working with local forces long after most US troops have left.

News you may have missed #602 (Israel edition)

Ahmed Jamal Daif

Ahmed Jamal Daif

►►Lebanon arrests three suspected of spying for Israel. Lebanon has arrested three people suspected of spying for Israel and trespassing, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported Tuesday. According to the report, an Egyptian citizen and his wife were arrested on suspicion of spying, and an Arab-Israeli man was arrested on suspicion of trespassing. The Israeli, Ahmed Jamal Daif (pictured), was found on Monday in a diving suit on a beach in the southern Lebanese border town of Naqoura, a Lebanese army source said.
►►Egypt may release alleged Israel spy. Agence France Presse is reporting that Cairo is considering the release of alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel, in exchange for “political and economic incentives” offered by the United States. Grapel was arrested by Egyptian state security officers in June, on charges of spying for Israel. According to one source, former CIA Director and current US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is set to visit Egypt today and is supposed to “take Grapel with him at the end of his visit”.
►►Jordanian accused of spying for Israel pleads not guilty. A Jordanian telecommunications engineer, who is on trial in Egypt on charges of spying for Israel, pleaded not guilty on Sunday. Bashar Ibrahim Abu Zeid was detained in Egypt last April after intelligence information allegedly showed he was spying for the Mossad, with Ofir Herari, an alleged Mossad agent, being tried in absentia.

News you may have missed #594

David Irvine

David Irvine

►►Egypt extends detention of alleged Israel spy. An Egyptian court has extended the detention of alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel by 45 days, the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday. Grapel was arrested in Cairo in June.
►►Australian spy chief raises cyberespionage concerns. The advent of cyberespionage is serving only to reinvigorate the craft of espionage, making such spying easier than ever, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization chief, David Irvine, has told a conference in Canberra. Espionage, which has taken a back seat to terrorism since the attacks of September 11, 2001, is alive and well, said Irvine.
►►US intel official says al-Qaeda operations could end in two years. Michael G. Vickers, the US undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said at a defense conference that if the current pace of US operations continues, “within 18 to 24 months, core al-Qaeda’s cohesion and operational capabilities could be degraded to the point that the group could fragment”. Vickers’s remark represents the first time that a senior US official has offered a time frame for achieving the collapse of the organization responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

News you may have missed #528

News you may have missed #521 (Israel edition)

  • Lebanese officer gets 20 years for spying for Israel. Mansour Diab’s sentence marks the first time a Lebanese officer was convicted of spying for Israel. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s militant Shiite group Hezbollah has arrested several of its own members on suspicion of spying for Israel. Last weekend the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai al-Aam reported that the group “was dumbfounded over the Israeli infiltration”, which appears to have been substantial.
  • Israel pressures US to temporarily release jailed spy. Several Israeli leaders on Sunday urged the United States to allow jailed Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard to attend his father’s funeral, after he was not granted permission to join him at his bedside before he died.
  • Israel seeks prisoner exchange for Ilan Grapel. Israel is pursuing a prisoner exchange for Ilan Grapel, a 27-year-old American-Israeli dual citizen, who was arrested by Egyptian state security officers at his downtown Cairo hotel last Sunday on charges of spying for Israeli intelligence. Meanwhile, both the US and Israel insist Grapel is no spy.