News you may have missed #0249

  • Analysis: Making Sense of the New CIA Battlefield in Afghanistan. “The military backgrounds of the fallen CIA operatives cast a light on the way the world of intelligence is increasingly muscling up and becoming militarized […]. This is no longer intelligence as anyone imagines it, nor is it military as military was once defined […]. And worse yet, from all available evidence, despite claims […] it seems remarkably ineffective”.
  • CIA planned to ‘rendition’ suspects in Germany in 2001. The CIA had 25 agents in Germany after the September 11 attacks and planned to illegally rendition al-Qaeda suspects without informing the German government. In the end, the plan was scrapped because of objections by the Agency’s German section.
  • French president appoints woman in charge of spy school. Nicolas Sarkozy is to create a ‘school for spies’, whose principal job will be to discourage French intelligence chiefs from spying on, and fighting against, one another. There are rumors that the school’s first director will be woman academic with no previous experience of espionage.

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Russian naval bases in the Mediterranean “a matter of time”

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last October, when Libyan head of state Muammar al-Gaddafi visited Moscow, observers speculated that the possibility of a Russian naval base in Libya would be high among the subjects for discussion. Now the ITAR-TASS news agency has quoted an “unidentified” Russian military official as saying that the establishment of Russian naval bases in Libya, Syria, and possibly Yemen, is a matter of time. The official suggested that “[t]he political decision [to lease the bases] has been taken” and “this will be done without question”. Responding to a request for comment by The Moscow Times, Deputy Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, simply confirmed that Moscow is conducting negotiations “with foreign governments”. Read more of this post

Russians deny cyber-attacks, accuse US of hypocrisy

On November 28 we reported on conflicting and muddled reports in the US media about a purported cyber-attack that had struck the Pentagon’s computers during the previous month. According to The Los Angeles Times, the attack “raised potential implications for national security” that were considered important enough to brief the President. The paper further claimed that the attack originated in Russia and appeared “designed specifically to target military networks”. Yesterday the Russian Foreign Ministry struck back at the allegation, calling it “a fabrication”. It also reminded observers that the Russian delegation initiated a formal resolution on international IT security at the 63rd UN Assembly, back in September of 2008. Interestingly, the resolution was almost unanimously approved by Assembly members. The only vote against it? You guessed it: the US of A. Could it be that the US, which has been building its own advanced cyber-attack arsenal since the mid-1990s, has more to gain from international IT insecurity than do its adversaries? [JF]
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US President briefed about severe cyber-attack on Pentagon

Conflicting and muddled reports have emerged in the US media about a purported cyber-attack that struck the Pentagon’s computers last month. The only thing that appears certain at this point is that the attack “raised potential implications for national security” that were considered important enough to brief the President. It also appears that the malicious software-based attack severely affected computer networks at CentCom, which oversees US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to one report, the software originated in Russia and appeared “designed specifically to target military networks”. Another report claims the attack actually originated in China, although “[m]ilitary electronics experts have not pinpointed the source or motive of the attack”. The pattern of the reports appears to point to yet another case of “the Pentagon once again has no idea what’s the matter with their computer networks so they’re simply blaming the usual suspects (Russia and China) hoping to deflect attention from the dire security standards in government computer networks”. [JF]

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