News you may have missed #520

  • CIA director returns from Pakistan empty-handed. CIA Director Leon Panetta’s surprise visit to Pakistan last week yielded little, according to US officials. Panetta bypassed the protocol of first meeting with the president and prime minister, and instead met with Pakistan’s military and intelligence directors.
  • Chinese spying devices found in Hong Kong cars. A Hong Kong newspaper has alleged that the Chinese authorities have been secretly installing spy devices on all dual-plate Chinese-Hong Kong vehicles since July of 2007. Photographic evidence is here.
  • NSA releases over 50000 pages of documents. The US National Security Agency has announced that it has declassified and released to the US National Archives and Records Administration over 50,000 pages of historic records, covering a time-frame from before World War I through the 1960s.

Analysis: Myths and Questions on bin Laden’s Assassination

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

By J. FITSANAKIS and I. ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The assassination of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, has helped dispel several myths about him and the organization he founded in 1988 in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Among them is the idea that the Saudi-born militant was leading a primitive existence in some remote hillside in Waziristan, sheltered by mountainous tribes that were supposedly loyal to him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite his reputation as a hardened mujahedeen, bin Laden had chosen to spend his days in the unmatched comfort of a sprawling luxury compound located only an hour’s drive from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The compound is located in a relatively wealthy suburb of the city of Abbottabad, which is also home to the Kakul Military Academy, Pakistan’s elite army training school. More importantly, the descriptions of bin Laden’s luxurious hideout fly in the face of the predominant view of al-Qaeda as an organization that knows how to blend in with its surroundings. Not only did the compound stand out, but, according to one American official, it was “eight times larger than the other homes in the town”. It featured 3,000 feet of living space, to house bin Laden, his four wives, and several advisors and guards. It appears to have been custom-built to bin Laden’s specifications in 2005, which would explain the existence of numerous built-in security features, including at least two heavily fortified security gates, seven-foot-high perimeter walls, and even solid blast-proof enclosures on all balconies. Continue reading →

News you may have missed #494

  • David Petraeus tipped to be new CIA director. The Obama administration may tap CIA Director Leon Panetta to succeed Bob Gates as Secretary of Defense. If this happens, then General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, may take over Panetta’s job at the CIA.
  • Reuters denies bureau chief had CIA contacts. The Reuters news agency has denied an accusation made on Cuban state television that its bureau chief Anthony Boadle helped arrange a meeting between an undercover Cuban agent and a US diplomat described as a CIA operative.
  • UK court grants Russian ‘spy’ aid to fight deportation. Katia Zatuliveter, who is accused by Britain’s MI5 of spying for Russia, has won legal aid to help fight her case against deportation, according to news reports.

News you may have missed #450

  • Nuke bomb material found in Georgia black market. Highly enriched uranium that could be used to make a nuclear bomb is on sale on the black market along the fringes of the former Soviet Union, according to evidence emerging from a secret trial in the Republic of Georgia.
  • CIA Director warns against leaks. Asserting that lives have been endangered and sources compromised by “a damaging spate of media leaks” in recent months, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta reminded the spy agency’s employees Monday that unauthorized disclosures of classified information “cannot be tolerated”.
  • US issues new unclassified information policy. The White House has issued an executive order to establish a uniform policy for handling “controlled unclassified information” (CUI), which is information that is restricted from disclosure because it involves personal privacy, proprietary data or law enforcement investigations not relating to national security.

News you may have missed #355

Bookmark and Share

News you may have missed #345

Bookmark and Share

CIA scores Washington Post charm offensive

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
For an agency whose very future is routinely questioned by former employees, the CIA has been getting plenty of positive press in the pages of The Washington Post lately. On Monday, The Post’s Jeff Stein cited “a former top CIA official” who claimed that the Agency’s unmanned drone assassination program in the Afghan-Pakistan border has the Taliban in disarray, “thinking that we can track them anywhere”. The former official also said that the speed of the CIA and “its Pentagon partners” (presumably NSA) in intercepting targeted communications makes the process of assassinating Taliban leaders “like mowing a lawn”. Does this sound too good to be true? How about an article published on the same day, also in The Washington Post, which claims that the CIA’s Predator drone assassination program has “kept the number of civilian deaths extremely low”? Read more of this post