European Union agrees to establish joint intelligence training school

PESCO EUTwenty-five members of the European Union have agreed to establish a joint intelligence training academy, a move interpreted by some as a concrete effort to deepen inter-European security cooperation following Brexit. The announcement came just hours after leading EU heads of state spoke in favor of establishing a joint EU defense force. Calls for tighter cooperation between EU members in the areas of defense and security have been issued for decades. But the upcoming departure of Britain from the EU —popularly known as Brexit— has prompted Germany and France to propose deeper integration as a response to the rise of anti-EU sentiment across the continent.

The decision to establish a joint intelligence training school was approved on Monday by the ministers of defense and foreign affairs of 25 EU members. It was part of a wider agreement involving 16 other joint defense and security projects under the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact. The pact was first agreed on in September of 2017, and has since been functioning under the supervision of the European Defense Agency and the External Action Service —the diplomatic service of the EU. Nearly 20 projects of a military or security nature have since been signed under PESCO. Monday’s agreement virtually doubled the PESCO projects in existence. The new EU intelligence academy initiative will be led by Greece —an EU member since 1981— and will be headquartered in Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004. When it becomes operational, the academy will provide “education and training in intelligence disciplines and other specific fields to EU member states’ intelligence personnel”, according to a joint PESCO communique issued on Monday.

The new intelligence school will work in cooperation with the individual intelligence agencies of the 25 co-signatory states, along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and with other regional security bodies, said PESCO. However, three EU states, namely Denmark, Malta and the United Kingdom, refused to support the project. Denmark and Malta are not participants in PESCO, while the United Kingdom is expected to leave the EU in March of next year. However, even before Brexit, London had vetoed the idea of closer EU intelligence cooperation, which it saw as a potential competitor to the so-called Five Eyes alliance, a postwar intelligence pact between the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Additionally, despite the overwhelming support for the intelligence academy by EU officials, it remains to be seen whether it will be realized. Observers told Politico on Monday that many other PESCO projects have “yet to get much beyond the drawing board” since their announcement last year.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 20 November 2018 | Research credit: K.A. | Permalink


Announcement: Intelligence educators invite papers for conference

IAFIE conferenceBy IAN ALLEN |
Intelligence educators from around the world are invited to participate in the 10th anniversary conference of the International Association for Intelligence Education (IAFIE) this coming July. The Association was formed in June 2004, as a result of a gathering of more than 60 intelligence studies trainers and educators at the Sixth Annual International Colloquium on Intelligence at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania. This group, from various intelligence disciplines including national security, law enforcement, competitive intelligence, and others, recognized the need for a professional association on intelligence, a new and diverse field of academic study that forms the basis of what has since become known as ‘intelligence studies’. Today, IAFIE is internationally recognized as one of the foremost groups working to advance research, knowledge and professional development in intelligence education. Mercyhurst University will be the hosting institution of IAFIE’s conference, which will take place from July 14 to 16. The theme for the conference is “Theory and Practice in Intelligence Education and Training”. The organizers invite ideas for papers with a focus on traditional intelligence studies or for panel discussions on various subjects including the history of intelligence analysis, the role of intelligence education in developing the profession, as well as international perspectives on the discipline and the profession. Other subjects of interest to the conference center on theoretical or practical pedagogical approaches to intelligence education, relevant research initiatives, future trends in the field of intelligence analysis, and explorations of the intersection between intelligence education and intelligence training. IAFIE’s Board of Directors specifies that papers and copies of any audiovisual materials in support of conference submissions are due no later than April 15, 2014. For more information, please refer to the IAFIE website.

News you may have missed #797

Mohamed MorsiBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Egypt names new intelligence chief. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi last week issued a decree naming Mohammed Raafat Shehata the country’s new head of intelligence, after the former spy chief was forced into retirement. Shehata had been acting director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services Directorate since August 8, when his predecessor Murad Muwafi was sacked, after after gunmen killed 16 Egyptian border guards in Sinai.
►►Ex-Blackwater firm to teach US spies survival skills. The Defense Intelligence Agency announced on Thursday evening it would award six private security companies a share of a $20 million contract to provide “individual protective measures training courses” for its operatives. Among them is Academi, the 3.0 version of Blackwater, now under new ownership and management. The US military’s intelligence service is hiring the firm, along with five others, to train its operatives to defend themselves as they collect information in dangerous places.
►►Turkey court convicts 326 of coup plotting. A Turkish court on Friday convicted 326 military officers, including the former air force and navy chiefs, of plotting to overthrow the nation’s Islamic-based government in 2003, in a case that has helped curtail the military’s hold on politics. A panel of three judges at the court on Istanbul’s outskirts initially sentenced former air force chief Ibrahim Firtina, former navy chief Ozden Ornek, and former army commander Cetin Dogan, to life imprisonment but later reduced the sentence to a 20-year jail term because the plot had been unsuccessful. The trial of the high-ranking officers —inconceivable in Turkey a decade ago— has helped significantly to tip the balance of power in the country in favor of civilian authorities.

News you may have missed #0249

  • Analysis: Making Sense of the New CIA Battlefield in Afghanistan. “The military backgrounds of the fallen CIA operatives cast a light on the way the world of intelligence is increasingly muscling up and becoming militarized […]. This is no longer intelligence as anyone imagines it, nor is it military as military was once defined […]. And worse yet, from all available evidence, despite claims […] it seems remarkably ineffective”.
  • CIA planned to ‘rendition’ suspects in Germany in 2001. The CIA had 25 agents in Germany after the September 11 attacks and planned to illegally rendition al-Qaeda suspects without informing the German government. In the end, the plan was scrapped because of objections by the Agency’s German section.
  • French president appoints woman in charge of spy school. Nicolas Sarkozy is to create a ‘school for spies’, whose principal job will be to discourage French intelligence chiefs from spying on, and fighting against, one another. There are rumors that the school’s first director will be woman academic with no previous experience of espionage.

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News you may have missed #0217

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News you may have missed #0176

  • Hungarian Cold War double agent dies at 71. István Belovai, a former Lieutenant-Colonel in the Hungarian People’s Army Military Strategic Service (HPAMSS), who secretly began working for the US in 1984, has died in Denver, Colorado. Belovai revealed to the CIA details of the so-called Conrad spy ring. He was arrested by Hungarian security agents in 1985 and fled to the US upon his release from prison, in 1991, after being warned that his life was in danger.
  • US military spies to train Iraqi counterparts. The 201st Battlefield Support Battalion is training Iraqis on how to “coordinate spying from human sources, intercept cell phone and other electronic messages, do counterintelligence work, manage linguists, and monitor and target enemy positions, among other specialized tasks”.
  • Swiss secret service chief calls for more spies. Markus Seiler, the head of the new Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, which combines the country’s foreign and domestic intelligence services, has called Switzerland “a stomping ground for secret services”, and has called for more counterintelligence personnel. He has also said that the intelligence services plan a greater presence in Swiss embassies around the world.

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News you may have missed #0155

  • NSA confirms rumors of new Utah data center. IntelNews readers have known about this since last July. Despite the new center, NSA still cannot process all the information it intercepts. But officials told a press conference on Friday that the Agency “has no choice but to continue enhancing its data processing efforts”.
  • UK intel agents to train West Bank security forces. Britain is sending intelligence officers from MI5 and MI6 to the West Bank, to train the Palestinian Authority’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency. According to The Daily Mail, the move is aimed to “stop a wave of brutal torture by Palestinian security forces”. How ironic is it, then, that both MI5 and MI6 are currently under investigation by British police for complicity to torture?

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CIA certified interrogators after two-week training

Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney

Among numerous revelations in the CIA interrogations documents, released Monday, is information which suggests that the Agency haphazardly certified spies as “interrogators” after training them for only two weeks. Canadian newspaper The Toronto Star appears to be the only news source that has picked up on the revelation, noting that it takes twice that long to train an individual to drive a truck in the United States. It appears that the CIA resorted to the haphazard certification process shortly after 9/11; never prior to that time had the Agency been involved in the interrogation business on a large scale. The documents also show that, until 2003, Langley routinely supplied CIA interrogators with conduct rules that tended to change from case to case. Read more of this post

Analysis: Former GCHQ director co-authors paper on training analysts

Sir Omand

Sir Omand

It is not often that a former Director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain’s primary signals intelligence agency, publicly expresses his or her views on intelligence analysis. Yet this is precisely what Sir David B. Omand, GCB –GCHQ Director from 1996 to 1997– has done, by co-authoring a paper for the latest issue of the CIA’s partly declassified journal, Studies in Intelligence. The paper, which Sir Omand co-wrote with King College’s Dr. Michael Goodman, is titled “What Analysts Need to Understand”. It details the ongoing “innovative” revisions currently being implemented in the training of British intelligence analysts, following the 2003 fiasco over Iraq’s purported “weapons of mass destruction”. The analysis, which, among other things, quotes Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein (!), focuses on the difficulty of teaching methods to develop the analysts’ “strong professional instincts”. It further points to intelligence analyst trainees’ “exposure to a variety of critical views, including the unorthodox”. The article doesn’t explain whether such “unorthodox” and “critical views” include those of Katharine T. Gun, the former GCHQ employee who in 2003 voluntarily exposed GCHQ’s collaboration with its US counterpart, the National Security Agency, to illegally bug the United Nations offices of Angola, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, and Pakistan. By diabolical coincidence, the UN representations of the above six countries had failed to be won over by American and British arguments in support of the invasion of Iraq. Gun was summarily fired by GCHQ and charged under the UK Official Secrets Act (charges were eventually dropped after she threatened to reveal even more information about the case). So much for exposure to “unorthodox views” over at GCHQ.

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