News you may have missed #535

Stella Rimington

Stella Rimington

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last Monday’s Daily Telegraph carried a lengthy interview with Dame Stella Rimintgon, who headed MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, from 1992 to 1995. The interviewer notes that Rimington’s answers are often “so long you forget what you asked in the first place”, and when it comes to questions on MI5, she appears “practiced in the use of abstract generalities. I suspect is intentional”, she adds. No kidding. On July 10, the same newspaper revealed that, in the 1980s, an internationally renowned cancer researcher used his post at Britain’s Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratories to steal samples and equipment on behalf of Eastern Bloc intelligence services. Jiri Bartek was working for the StB, Czechoslovakia’s secret intelligence service, says the paper. The paper notes that the revelation, which is based on declassified documents from the time, shows that Bartek (codename ‘Raki’), was probably “only one of dozens of Czech spies who used scientific positions in the West as cover for espionage”. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the country’s troubled National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has been hit an embarrassing revelation. It appears that Andre Vorster, a NIA specialist technical adviser at the agency’s Pretoria headquarters, claimed to have two doctorate degrees, both of which are fake. He also tried to swindle a leading British charity foundation by claiming to be acting on behalf of South African President Jacob Zuma. Vorster’s duties at the NIA included countersurveillance and the safeguarding of South African embassies and key installations around the world.

News you may have missed #0175

  • South Korean spy agency now regards North as ‘international affairs’. The Seoul-based National Intelligence Service (NIS) has relocated its unit that monitors North Korea under a department dealing with international affairs. The change, described as a “paradigm shift” by one South Korean official, apparently reflects President Lee Myung-bak’s view that the North Korean issue should be dealt more “from the international geopolitical perspective”.
  • Robbery of S. African intel agent was planned, say officials. The robbery by five men of a woman said to be an agent of South Africa’s National Intelligence Agency “was conducted as though it was very well planned”, according to police.
  • Interview with ex-West German spy master. Radio France Internationale has aired an interview with Hans-Georg Wieck, chief of the West German Secret Service (BND) between 1985 and 1990. Among other things, Wieck claims that BND had “well-placed” agents in East Germany, as well as in spy services of other communist, including the KGB.

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Analysis: Major spy overhaul underway in South Africa

Moe Shaik

Moe Shaik

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
In July, Laurie Nathan, a former member of South Africa’s ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence, warned that a steadily declining culture of accountability in South Africa’s spy services was threatening the country’s constitutional order. Last week, based on the Commission’s findings and policy suggestions, the country’s minster for state security, Siyabonga Cwele, announced a “major restructuring” of South Africa’s security services. Already, the first generation of pro-ANC intelligence agents, who staffed the post-apartheid South African intelligence apparatus, is on its way out. The departures of Manana Manzini, who until recently directed the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Loyiso Jafta, of the National Communications Centre, and Taki Netshitenzhe of the Electronic Communications Security, were accentuated by the retirement of ANC “superspy” Hilton Tim Dennis, who headed for many years the NIA’s Counter Espionage unit. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0076

  • Revealing CIA report published today. The CIA is expected to come under some of its toughest scrutiny for years, after the publication today of a report detailing the agency’s use of mock executions, and the threatening of detainees with power drills and guns during interrogations.
  • North Korean spy director meets South Korean officials. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met a delegation of visiting North Korean officials on Sunday, including Kim Yang Gon who heads the United Front Department (UFD), an intelligence agency under the Korean Worker’s Party (KWP) of the DPRK.
  • Changes imminent at South African spy agency. The administration of President Jacob Zuma intends to move to restructure South Africa’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA), the country’s primary domestic spy organization. In July, a former member of South Africa’s ministerial Review Commission on Intelligence warned that a steadily declining culture of accountability in the country’s spy services is threatening the country’s constitutional order.

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