News you may have missed #733

Stella RimingtonBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Women in US intelligence seek balance in life. Nada Bakos (photo) was one of many women serving as CIA analysts before 9/11, who then moved to the operations side after the terrorist attacks. She didn’t yet have a family when she accepted her assignment as a targeting officer in Iraq. After a couple of years, as Bakos was deep into her career on the operations side, she decided she wanted to start a family. That was a problem. At least 160 other women feel her pain. Women from the CIA, the National Security Agency, Naval Office of Intelligence and dozens of other agencies met last week at the Women in National Security conference in McLean, Virginia, to try and find a better way.
►►Interview with ex-MI5 Director Stella Rimington. Australian Radio hosts an interesting audio interview with Dame Stella Rimington, who headed MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, from 1992 to 1995. She speaks about the experience of being the first director of MI5 to be publicly identified and the sometimes sinister invasions to her privacy as a result. Moreover, she says the only thing that surprised her about the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking and the conduct of the British media is that nobody recognized it was going on before.
►►US government think-tank warns against strikes on Iran. The RAND Corporation, a think tank which advises the United States Department of Defense, warned last week Tuesday against an Israeli or American attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors, and recommended that the administration of Barack Obama try to “quietly influence the internal Israeli discussion over the use of  military force”. In 2009, before Stuxnet, a RAND report had argued that the US may be better off focusing on cyber-defense instead of resorting to cyberattacks.

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News you may have missed #0146

  • RAND wants the US to abstain from cyberattacks. A new report by the US Pentagon’s research arm, RAND Corporation, suggests the US may be better off playing cyber-defense instead of resorting to cyberattacks. On offense, cyberwar might be better relegated to support roles, and then only “sparingly and precisely”, according to the report. The study comes as the US military fires up its new unified Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) program this month.
  • Turkey says it foiled al-Qaida plot against Israeli, US targets. Turkish security forces detained on Thursday 32 suspected members of al-Qaeda, believed to have been planning attacks on Israeli, US and NATO targets. The suspects, some of whom are said to have been trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, were detained in simultaneous raids across eight provinces.
  • South Korea arrests alleged Swedish-handled spy. A former South Korean air force major general, identified only as Kim, was arrested last Friday on charges of leaking classified military information to Swedish defense and aviation company Saab, between August 2008 and May this year.

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News you may have missed #0120

  • Film on America’s most famous whistleblower. A new documentary film, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, examines the life of Daniel Ellsberg, a US Pentagon employee who leaked documents to the American public in order to stop the Vietnam War. Ellsberg, 78, is still a pariah in the US defense community. He told the Associated Press that at a RAND (research arm of the Pentagon, where he used to work) reunion several years back, no one would shake his hand.
  • Retired US Air Force officer convicted in China spying case. Retired US Air Force officer James W. Fondren Jr. faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars, after being convicted of selling classified information on US-China military relations to a Chinese agent and lying to the FBI about it. The US Department of Justice accused Fondren, 62, of being part of a spy ring that operated on US soil under the supervision of Chinese government officials, whom Fondren supplied with classified documents for over three years, beginning in 2004.
  • Request to halt CIA probe “nonsense” says former agent. A controversial request by seven former heads of the CIA to end the inquiry into abuse of terrorism suspects held by the Agency is “nonsense”, says Bob Baer, a 20-year CIA caseworker in the Mid-East and former CIA station chief in Iraq. “To say let’s not look further into this because it could upset the agency is like saying let’s not look into Bernie Madoff because it could upset the financial sector”, said Baer.

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Wikileaks publishes major RAND intelligence study

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
Wikileaks, the public website that anonymously publishes leaks of sensitive documents, has aired a major US government study on intelligence and counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The study, titled Intelligence Operations and Metrics in Iraq and Afghanistan, was initially published on a confidential basis in November of 2008 by the Research and Development (RAND) Corporation, the research arm of the US Pentagon. Originally prepared for the Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command, the 318-page study is described by Wikileaks as the “Pentagon Papers” of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The RAND Corporation report findings are reportedly not as interesting as the “candid and revealing interview quotes” scattered throughout the document, which represent the views on the wars of nearly 300 intelligence officers and diplomats from the US, Britain and the Netherlands. Read more of this post