News you may have missed #638 (analysis edition)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Strauss-Kahn

►►What really happened to Strauss-Kahn? Earlier this year, Dominique Strauss-Kahn lost his political career and his job as head of the International Monetary Fund after he was indicted in New York on sexual assault charges, which were later dropped. But investigative journalist Edward J. Epstein alleges that the French politician may have been the target of a deliberate attempt to destroy him as a political force. His allegations relate to a missing BlackBerry phone which is said to have been hacked by Strauss-Kahn’s political rivals.
►►Spy game revs up with Arab Spring. A broad –perhaps too broad– primer on espionage and intelligence operations in the Middle East, with quotes by several academics and former intelligence operatives. Parts of it are probably too basic for intelNews regulars, but worth a look nonetheless.
►►Why is UK police not investigating Climategate? The UK police force tasked with investigating the hacking of emails and documents from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (the debunked “Climategate“), seems to have quietly de-prioritized its investigation. According to documents released under the UK Freedom of Information Act, the amount spent on attempts to identify the hacker in the last year was just £5,649.09 (less than $8,000), suggesting police work on the investigation has ground to a halt.

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News you may have missed #548 (China edition)

NIS HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►China detains Korean spy officers. It emerged last week that Chinese authorities have kept in detention for nearly a year two South Korean NIS intelligence officers, who were caught collecting information about North Korea on Chinese soil. It appears that the Chinese did share the information with the North Koreans, because usually the North Korean news agency would have announced this when the officers were first arrested. Of course, NIS denied the Chinese report. ►►US intelligence on China declassified. George Washington University’s National Security Archive has published a series of declassified US intelligence reports on China, spanning the period from 1955 until 2010. In one report authored in 2005, US intelligence analysts speculate that Beijing might be trying to develop a capability to incapacitate Taiwan through high-power microwave and electromagnetic radiation, so as not to trigger a nuclear retaliation from the US. ►►IMF investigators see China behind computer hacking. Back in June, intelNews reported on a massive and sophisticated cyberattack on the computer systems of the International Monetary Fund, which experts claimed was “linked to a foreign government”. 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 #512