News you may have missed #560 (new books edition)

Khalil al-Balawi

Khalil al-Balawi

►►New book on CIA’s Khost bomb disaster. Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick has authored a new book, examining the December 31, 2009, killing of seven CIA operatives by Jordanian doctor Humam Khalil al-Balawi in Khost, Afghanistan. In the book, entitled The Triple Agent, Warrick quotes several “anonymous” sources from within CIA and Jordan’s General Intelligence Department (GID), which was involved in running al-Balawi. Aside from blaming GID, Warrick says the CIA’s Amman station chief was partly responsible for the botched operation.
►►Hollywood producer was Mossad spy, says new book. The book Confidential: The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon Arnon Milchan, says that Milchan was a full-fledged operative for Israel’s now-defunct intelligence agency, Lakam. The agency, which was also known as Israel’s Bureau of Scientific Relations, collected scientific and technical intelligence abroad. It was disbanded in 1986 following the arrest of US Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard for engaging in espionage on behalf of Israel. The book’s authors, Meir Doron and Joseph Gelman, argue that Milchan, who produced such movies as Love and Other Drugs and Knight and Day, worked for Israeli intelligence by supervising government-backed accounts and front companies that financed “the special needs of the entirety of Israel’s intelligence operations outside the country”.
►►Book alleges US-Russian spy swap deal. In 2010 the CIA considered a swap deal that would have delivered to Moscow two Americans currently imprisoned in the US for spying for Russia. This information is included Read more of this post

News you may have missed #463

  • Iranian spy minister admits hacking emails. Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi has publicly admitted that the Iranian government has hacked into the emails of Iranian opposition members. He claimed the hacking, conducted by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, revealed messages exchanged between “foreigners and their elements inside Iran”.
  • Details on CIA officer killed in Afghanistan. An interesting article in The Washingtonian offers an interesting background story on Jennifer Matthews, a CIA officer who was killed nearly a year ago in Afghanistan in a suicide bombing by Taliban double-agent Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.
  • China jails South Korean alleged spy. China is getting tougher with South Korean spies caught on Chinese soil collecting intelligence on North Korea, and has jailed one of them for more than a year, despite pleas from Seoul, according to news reports.

News you may have missed #441

  • US officials admit terrorist suspect was DEA informant. US government officials have told The Washington Post what the world’s media has been saying for almost a year, namely that Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, who was arrested by the FBI in October for plotting an attack on a Danish newspaper, was working as a Drug Enforcement Administration informant while training with Islamist insurgents in Pakistan.
  • Ex-CIA officer decries Israeli policies. Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer at the CIA, has said in an interview that Israel’s policies in Palestine “are manifestly evil”.
  • Bomber who killed seven at CIA base was not vetted. Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a Jordanian al-Qaeda sympathiser who killed himself and seven CIA agents at a remote base in eastern Afghanistan in January had not been properly vetted, the CIA has said.

News you may have missed #374

  • South Korean general arrested for spying for North. South Korea’s military is investigating an army general, identified only as Major-Gen. Kim, suspected of leaking secrets to a former spy for Seoul who then sold the information to North Korea. The leaked information is reportedly related to Operational Plan 5027, formulated by the Korea-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) in preparation for a possible war on the Korean Peninsula.
  • A shared glimpse of CIA officer’s secret life. The family of the late Darren James LaBonte, who was among the seven CIA officers killed in Khost, Afghanistan, last December, decided recently to acknowledge that he was among the dead, and to tell the world a bit about the man behind the name. Meanwhile, the CIA has announced that 12 new stars will be added to the wall in the lobby of the agency’s headquarters building –the most in one year since the agency’s founding.

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News you may have missed #344

  • CIA base in Afghanistan hit again. A suicide car bomber killed one civilian and wounded two security guards at the entrance to the CIA’s Forward Operating Base Chapman, in Afghanistan’s Khost province. It is the same base where Jordanian suicide bomber Humam Khalil al-Balawi killed seven CIA officers in December of 2009.
  • Fiji to set up new spy agency. The government of Fiji plans to re-establish its intelligence agency, ten years after it was disbanded by Labour Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry. The new organization will be called the National Intelligence Agency of Fiji.
  • MI5 and MI6 must release Guantánamo records, says judge. MI5 and MI6 have been told by a British judge that they cannot use secret evidence to defend themselves from civil damages claims brought by six former detainees in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, including Binyam Mohamed.

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News you may have missed #316

  • News videos on UK expulsion of Israeli ‘diplomat’. Commendable video-based amalgamation by of worldwide media comments on the recent expulsion of an Israeli intelligence officer by the British government. The expulsion was in response to the forging of British passports, employed by the Mossad in the killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last January.
  • How Khost suicide bomber lured CIA agents to their deaths. According to the CIA’s internal investigation of the killing of seven CIA officers by Humam al-Balawi, in Khost, Afghanistan, last December, the fatal explosion happened as the CIA officers had gathered around Balawi to present him with a cake as a present for his birthday.

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News you may have missed #311

Al-Qaeda technical expert believed killed. Hussein Yemeni, an al-Qaeda bomb expert and trainer, is believed to have been among more than a dozen people killed in a CIA strike last week in Miram Shah, the largest town in Pakistan’s North Waziristan. Yemeni is thought to have had a major planning role in the December 30 suicide bombing in Khost, Afghanistan that killed seven CIA officers.

Al-Qaeda on the run, claims CIA director. CIA air attacks against al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal region have driven Osama bin Laden and his top deputies deeper into hiding and disrupted their ability to plan sophisticated operations, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Wednesday. Interesting; that’s not exactly what he said last week.

UK government defends use of foreign intel. The British Foreign Office has defended its use of intelligence obtained by foreign security agencies from terrorism suspects, even when it could not be sure how the informants had been treated. It’s not the first time this opinion has been expressed by a senior UK government source.

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