FBI busts alleged Russian spy ring, 11 arrested [updated]

Anna Chapman

Anna Chapman

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Ten members of an alleged Russian spy ring operating in America’s East Coast were arrested in a series of coordinated raids on Sunday. US Department of Justice insiders said that the arrests, which took place in Arlington, New Jersey, New York, and Boston, marked the culmination of an FBI counterintelligence operation initiated during the second administration of President Bill Clinton. It appears that the alleged Russian agents were non-official-cover (NOC) operatives, otherwise known as ‘illegals’, a term used to identify deep-cover intelligence operatives not associated with the diplomatic representation of the Russian Federation in the United States. Eight of the arrestees were married couples and all were using fake identities. Almost all are fluent in several languages; they include “Vicky Pelaez”, who worked for a New York Spanish-language newspaper, another woman identified as “Anna Chapman” (see photo), and “Mikhail Semenko”, who is said to be fluent in English, Spanish, Russian, and even Mandarin. An eleventh alleged member of the spy ring, named as “Christopher R. Metsos”, remains at large and is wanted by the FBI was captured by Greek-Cypriot authorities at Larnaca airport earlier today, while trying to board a flight for Hungary. Read more of this post

French “trial of the century” continues with ex-spy’s testimony

Philippe Rondot

Philippe Rondot

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A complex court case in France, which the nation’s media have dubbed “trial of the century”, continued this week with the testimony of one of France’s most distinguished intelligence agents. Retired General Philippe Rondot, who worked for France’s domestic (DST) and foreign intelligence (DGSE), and advised several French leaders, gained international fame in 1994, when he managed to arrest Venezuelan-born operative Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal. General Rondot was called earlier this week to testify whether France’s former Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, helped forge a series of documents showing that France’s current President, Nicolas Sarkozy, had laundered millions of dollars in defense contract bribes through secret accounts in Luxembourg’s Clearstream bank. Mr. de Villepin will face up to five years in prison if found guilty of the forgery. Read more of this post

Spy chief’s records feature prominently in France’s “trial of the century”

Yves Bertrand

Yves Bertrand

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A five-year court case described in France as “the trial of the century” or “France’s Watergate” resumed on Monday with the appearance in court of one of five defendants, who is no other than France’s former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin. He is accused of forging a series of documents showing that France’s current President, Nicolas Sarkozy, had laundered millions of dollars in defense contract bribes through secret accounts in Luxembourg’s Clearstream bank. At the center of the trial is the adversary relationship between Mr. de Villepin, who was former French President Jacques Chirac’s preferred successor, and Nicolas Sarkozy. Mr. Sarkozy accuses Mr. de Villepin of ordering an intelligence investigation into his financial dealings in order to ruin his reputation and score a political victory. Read more of this post

Dutch double agent called “modern-day Mata Hari” in prison

Malika Karoum

Malika Karoum

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Malika Karoum, the 33-year old intelligence operative who has been described as the “modern-day Mata Hari” is in prison in Egypt, a Dutch news magazine has revealed. Karoum, a Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, joined Holland’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) in 2004, and worked as an undercover agent investigating Islamist groups operating on Dutch soil. In 2006, AIVD sent Karoum to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to aid an international investigation into money laundering with possible Islamist links. But Dutch intelligence sources say that Karoum, whose apparent cover was working as a real-estate agent, began “subcontracting” herself to Egyptian and United Arab Emirates intelligence services, and eventually utilized her real-estate cover to enter the murky business world of property development in Dubai. Read more of this post

Mystery surrounds conviction of alleged Belgian spy in Morocco

Belliraj

Belliraj

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A court in Sale, Morocco, has sentenced to life a Belgian national of Moroccan origin, who Belgian media claim was a “golden informant” for the Belgian secret services. Moroccan authorities arrested Abdelkader Belliraj, 50, in early 2008, and charged him with a plethora of criminal offenses, including armed robbery, money laundering and arms smuggling. More importantly, Belliraj is accused of participating in at least six killings carried out in Belgium by Abu Nidal in the 1980s and early 1990s, supplying arms to the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front, and leading a militant group aiming to overthrow the government of Morocco. Interestingly, however, in March of 2008, Belgian newspaper De Tijd reported that Belliraj had acted as an invaluable informant for Belgium’s State Security Service (SV/SE) and had recently supplied information that helped foil a bomb attack in a Western European country. Read more of this post