News you may have missed #299

  • US lawmaker wants to stop CIA agents working second jobs. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) says she will offer an amendment to the Intelligence Reauthorization bill later this week that would put new rules into place on the practice of intelligence officers who take second jobs in the private sector.
  • Poland admits to aiding CIA. After human rights groups revealed evidence that showed CIA rendition planes landing in Poland in 2003, the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency has admitted for the first time that Poland played a role in the controversial US program.
  • Former Romanian-German spy fired for secret past. German author Peter Grosz was fired on Thursday from his role as director of the theater festival in the German city of Oppenheim, following revelations that he had spied on fellow authors for Romania’s Securitate communist secret police during the 1970s. Large numbers of Romanian former intelligence agents now reside in Germany.

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News you may have missed #0253

  • Iran undecided on nukes, says US military spy chief. The US Pentagon’s top intelligence official, Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, has said what intelNews has been pointing out again and again, namely that the key finding of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, that Iran has not yet committed itself to nuclear weapons production, is still valid.
  • Nobel winner demands Germany uncover Romanian ex-spies. Herta Mueller, the Romanian-born German winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature, has called on Germany to find and prosecute former agents of Romania’s Securitate secret police, large numbers of whom have resettled in Germany after communism ended in Romania 20 years ago.

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News you may have missed #0129

  • Romanian communist spy boss dead at 80. General Nicolae Plesita, who directed Romania’s Securitate during the country’s communist period, has died. While heading the Securitate’s foreign intelligence service, from 1980 to 1984, Plesita hired the Venezuelan-born operative Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, to assassinate Romanian dissidents in France and bomb the US-owned Radio Free Europe offices in Munich, in 1981. In 1998, Plesita revealed that he had orders from the Romanian government to find temporary shelter for Carlos in Romania after the RFE bombing.
  • Settlement reached in DEA-CIA spying dispute. A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought 15 years ago by a former US Drug Enforcement Administration agent who accused a CIA operative of illegally bugging his home. In a court filing, lawyers for the government and the DEA agent said they “had reached an agreement in principle to settle the underlying litigation”. See here for previous intelNews coverage of this case.
  • Federal judge denies request for CIA secret documents. Hundreds of documents detailing the CIA’s defunct overseas secret detention program of suspected terrorists, including extreme interrogation methods have remained secret after U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on Wednesday refused to release them “in order to protect intelligence methods and sources”. The ACLU argues that the CIA secret program was illegal under international and US law, that it involved the torture and deaths of some inmates, and therefore should not be shielded from public view.

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News you may have missed #0018

  • Retired Romanian football star now admits being a spy. Earlier this week, Gheorghe Popescu, whose international career included playing for British teams, denied reports that he was an informer for Romania’s Securitate, the secret service of communist Romania. But on Thursday morning, the former Tottenham Hotspurs defender admitted that he did inform on teammates and other colleagues while playing for Universitatea Craiova. 
  • Grand jury hears from top CIA officers on destruction of tapes. A federal courtroom in Virginia has become the latest frontline in the Justice Department’s effort to uncover who at the CIA ordered in November of 2005 the incineration of 92 videotapes containing footage of torture applied on several “war on terrorism” detainees. Apparently, the tapes were kept for a long time in a safe at the CIA station in Thailand, where the interrogations took place. 
  • NSA to help defend civilian agency networks. The Obama administration is said to have decided to proceed with a Bush-era plan to use National Security Agency assistance in screening government computer traffic on private-sector networks. The decision, which had been rumored since last spring, was one of the reasons behind the March 2009 resignation of Rod Beckstrom, who headed the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Center.

News you may have missed #0013

  • CIA report on detention, interrogation to be released later today. We were expecting this internal CIA report, on the Agency’s secret detention and interrogation practices under the Bush administration, to come out a fortnight ago, but it was delayed “over debates about how much of it should be censored”. An earlier version of the report was “published” late last year, but was over 90% redacted.  Watch this space for more information.
  • Retired Romanian football star denies being a spy. Gheorghe Popescu, whose international career included playing for British teams, has denied reports (here and here) in Romanian daily Adevarul that he was an informer for Romania’s Securitate, the secret service of communist Romania. () 
  • Ex-CIA chief in Algiers formally charged with sexual abuse. Back in February, intelNews reported on the Agency’s station chief in Algiers, who was unceremoniously recalled to Washington after being accused of drugging and raping two Algerian women at his official residence. He has now been “indicted in Washington on a charge of sexual abuse involving an alleged sexual assault of an unidentified Algerian woman”. He could face a life sentence, if convicted.