News you may have missed #315

  • Nuclear bunker spy comes out of hiding. A British retiree named Mike Lesser has revealed he was one of the so-called “spies for peace”, a group of peace activists who in the 1960s helped uncover Britain’s secret network of underground bunkers built to protect the government in case of nuclear war.
  • Aussie spy agency spied on little girls. Secret files kept by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation reveal spooks tailed the teenage children of suspected socialists and communist sympathizers during the late 1960s, and anyone with whom they associated, including school friends and boyfriends.
  • Analysis: Under Panetta, a more aggressive CIA. Expectations among CIA hardliners were low when Leon Panetta arrived at the Agency’s headquarters in February 2009. But almost from the first week, Panetta positioned himself as a strong advocate for the CIA, to the extent that critics worry that Panetta has become a captive of the agency he leads.

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News you may have missed #0279

  • Pakistani spy agencies drug political activists. Intelligence agencies in Pakistan are using drugs to extract information from political activists, with the cooperation of doctors on the payroll of the state, according to one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers.
  • Georgia jails alleged Russian spy. Vakhtang Maisaia, a military expert who advised Georgia’s mission to NATO, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for spying for Russia during the 2008 South Ossetia War. Last week, Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, son of Zviad Gamsakhurdia, Georgia’s first post-communist president, was formally charged with “collaborating with Russian intelligence services”.

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News you may have missed #0260

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News you may have missed #0254 (activism edition)

  • US activists file lawsuit over domestic spying. Anti-war activists in Washington State are suing military analyst John Towery and police officials for allegedly infiltrating and spying on two antiwar groups in Olympia. The suit also names the City of Olympia and a US Coast Guard employee.
  • Antiwar activist to stage sit-in at CIA HQ. American political activist Cindy Sheehan says she intends to stage a sit-in in front of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, on January 16, to protest the Agency’s unmanned drone attacks in Pakistan. Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq War in 2004, attracted international attention for her extended protest at a makeshift camp outside President George Bush’s Texas ranch.
  • Is there legal basis for CIA drone strikes in Pakistan? We at intelNews have asked this question before. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is asking it also, and has requested to see the US government’s estimates of civilian casualties caused by the strikes.

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Comment: Is There a ‘DNA Problem’ in US Spying?

Sam Tanenhaus

Sam Tanenhaus

By IAN ALLEN* | intelNews.org |
The controversy of the apparent ineffectiveness of US intelligence agencies to uncover the so-called Christmas Day bomb plot has reignited the discussion about the operational shortcomings of the US intelligence community. Sam Tanenhaus, editor of of The New York Times Book Review, has authored an interesting commentary, in which he delves into some of what he sees as the design deficiencies in American intelligence.

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News you may have missed #0231

  • Chinese honey trap methods net another victim. This time it was M.M. Sharma, an Indian diplomat posted with India’s mission in China, who reportedly had an affair with “a Chinese female spy”. She managed to gain access to his personal computer and “peruse [classified] documents without any restraint”. London’s ex-deputy mayor, Ian Clement, must feel better knowing he is not alone.
  • NSA’s $1.9 billion cyber spy center a power grab. Extensive –if a little ‘light’– analysis of the US National Security Agency’s planned new data storage center in Utah, by Chuck Gates of Deseret News.
  • Connecticut police spying on Democratic Party activists? Kenneth Krayeske, a political activist and free-lance journalist is suing the Connecticut State Police, claiming that officers engaged in “political spying [by using] cloaked Connecticut State Police addresses [to] subscribe to e-mail bulletin boards and lists […] that contain political information relating to the Green Party, the Democratic Party” and independent political activists.

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Canadian police spying on anti-Olympics groups sparks debate

Jamie Graham

Jamie Graham

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Intense debate has been sparked in Canada by the revelation that local police departments are actively spying on peaceful citizen groups opposing the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, due to be held in Vancouver in February. The surprise disclosure was made by Victoria Police chief Jamie Graham, during his keynote speech at the Vancouver International Security Conference, a closed-door event held earlier this month to discuss emergency management and public safety arrangements for the Games. Speaking at the Conference, Graham, who formerly was Chief of Vancouver Police, revealed that law enforcement operatives planted among an anti-Olympics protest group an undercover officer, who posed as the driver of a leased bus and drove the group to an anti-Olympics demonstration. Read more of this post