News you may have missed #350

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News you may have missed #333

  • Ex-MI6 officer allegedly betrayed spies. Daniel Houghton was arrested last month while trying to sell classified documents to MI5 spooks posing as foreign agents. But now the former MI6 employee is accused by British authorities of trying to trade lists of British intelligence personnel. It is unclear which nation’s spy service Houghton believed he was selling to at the time of his arrest, though it is believed that Dutch intelligence tipped off MI5.
  • NSA director under friendly fire in US Senate. US National Security Agency director, Army Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, spoke last Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He addressed the synergies among the NSA, the newly created Cyber Command, and the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the concept of cyberwar: “In general terms, I do think a cyberwar could exist”, he said, but only “as part of a larger military campaign”.

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News you may have missed #0025

  • BREAKING NEWS: Several news outlets are reporting this morning that it was former US vice-President Dick Cheney who ordered the CIA to conceal from Congress key information about a covert action intelligence program of an undisclosed nature. See here for more.
  • New book claims Ernest Hemingway was KGB agent. The new book Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (Yale University Press), co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, alleges that the Nobel prize-winning novelist was on the KGB’s list of agents in America from 1941, when he was given the codename “Argo” by the Soviets.
  • Thousands of former Stasi spies still working in German civil service. A report in the German edition of The Financial Times claims that over 17,000 former members of East Germany’s Stasi remain employed as civil servants in reunified Germany. Stasi is the name commonly used for the Ministry for State Security, communist East Germany’s secret police.
  • NSA director’s secret visit to New Zealand revealed. A reporter accidentally spotted Lieutenant-General Keith Alexander, director of the US National Security Agency, entering a Wellington building accompanied by security personnel. The revelation prompted a spokesperson at the US embassy in Wellington to admit that Alexander was indeed in New Zealand “for consultations with government officials”. The close signals intelligence relationship between the US and New Zealand have been known since 1996.
  • Chinese national caught trying to purchase crypto hardware. Chi Tong Kuok was arrested by the FBI at the Atlanta International Airport en route from Paris to Panama, where he allegedly planned to purchase US military radios. The US government claims Kuok has admitted he was “acting at the direction of officials for the People’s Republic of China”.
  • Taliban say cell phone SIM cards guide US drone strikes. A Taliban circular says SIM cards planted by informants in cell phones used by militants are used to signal American drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As IntelNews recently explained, there are suspicions that this and similar discoveries are gradually prompting the Taliban and al-Qaeda to stop using cell phones altogether.

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