News you may have missed #696

NSA's Utah Data CenterBy IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
►►French spies to stage labor protest. The main union representing French domestic intelligence officers, those charged with counter-espionage and anti-terror investigations, called Wednesday on its members to stage a protest. The head of the SNOP union, which represents senior police officers and is the main labor body for members of the DCRI security agency, said his members planned a “gathering” at their Paris headquarters. A smaller union said it wanted no part in the protest, and it was not clear how many of the agency’s 4,000 intelligence officers planned to take part.
►►James Bamford on the NSA’s new spy center in Utah. Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built in Bluffdale for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013.
►►Author of unauthorized CIA book gave proceeds to charity. After former CIA officer Ishmael Jones wrote a book about the CIA without gaining prior approval from the Agency, the government sought and won a judicial ruling that Jones had acted in violation of his CIA secrecy agreement, and that he could be held liable for the breach. But the government’s current efforts to seize the financial proceeds from Jones’ 2010 book, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, have been frustrated by the fact that the author has already given the proceeds away to charity.

News you may have missed #527

  • Has Microsoft broken Skype’s encryption? The US Congress has finally discovered Skype. But the timing may be bad, since there are rumors that Microsoft has found a way to break the encryption behind Skype communications, rendering all Skype calls potentially open to surveillance by governments. The company (Microsoft) has even filed a related patent application. Communications interception experts have been trying for some time to achieve this.
  • Ex-CIA agent loses legal battle over ‘unauthorized’ book. A former CIA deep-cover operative, who goes by the pseudonym ‘Ishmael Jones’, may have to financially compensate the Agency for publishing a book without the CIA’s approval, after a US judge ruled against him. Jones maintains that the CIA is bullying him because of his public criticism of its practices.
  • Family of accused Australian spy seeks support. The family of Australian-Jordanian citizen Eyad Abuarga, who has been charged with being a technical spy for Hamas, have called on the Australian government to do more to help him, with less than a month before he is due to face trial in Israel.

CIA sues former officer for publishing unauthorized book

The Human Factor book cover

The Human Factor

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The US Central Intelligence Agency has announced a lawsuit against a former officer who authored a book without the Agency’s prior approval. The book, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture (published in 2008), was written by a former CIA deep cover operative going by the pseudonym Ishmael Jones. Jones first submitted the book’s manuscript, which offers a highly unsympathetic account of the CIA, to the Agency’s review board. However, when it became clear that the board’s decision would have been unfavorable, he published the book without approval, thus breaking what the CIA claims is his legal obligation to abide by the review board’s decisions. The CIA filed a lawsuit against Jones in July, but only announced it this week. It seeks access to the financial proceeds of The Human Factor, as well as to prohibit further exposés from Jones. Read more of this post

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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CIA loses turf war as new US interrogation unit is unveiled

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The CIA appears to have been stripped of its senior role in America’s post-9/11 interrogation program, as the Obama Administration announced this week the creation of a new interrogation unit. The new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) will be an elite interagency squad, which will report to the National Security Council and answer directly to the White House. But, according to several insiders, the unit will be housed at the FBI, and not the CIA. The two agencies have been fighting a bitter turf war after 9/11. Officials at Langley view this development as a severe blow to the Agency, which the Bush Administration had tasked with overseeing America’s post 9/11 interrogation program. Read more of this post

Analysis: CIA loyal only to itself, says former agent

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Judging from emails we have received, several intelNews readers have noticed the absence from this website of any mention of the recent imbroglio between Nancy Pelosi and the CIA. There are several important reasons for the absence of this story (not least is this site’s focus on under-reported intelligence news), but the most crucial is its “news unworthiness” –for lack of a better term. All parties involved in the dispute appear to be primarily jockeying for political currency, which, in the opinion of this writer, makes for a sad spectacle. A few days ago, however, there surfaced an interesting editorial on the subject by Ishmael Jones. This is the pseudonym of a longtime CIA agent, who resigned from the Agency in good standing and now routinely publishes professional memoirs and critical position papers on intelligence reform. Read more of this post