News you may have missed #701

Mohammed MerahBy IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
►►Ex-NASA scientist gets 13 years for spying for Israel. Former US government scientist Stewart Nozette was once on the cutting edge of space exploration, but he will spend 13 years in prison for trying to sell some of his country’s most closely guarded secrets. In 2009 Nozette sought to sell classified information to someone he thought was an Israeli Mossad officer but was in fact an FBI agent in an undercover sting operation. As intelNews explained back in 2010, Nozette was not simply a Mossad agent-wannabe, but had actually passed information to Israel in the past.
►►French intel under fire over Toulouse gunman. The French government went on the defensive last week amid questions over why its intelligence service had failed to deal with Mohammed Merah. The self-confessed al-Qaeda militant died in a police assault on his flat last Thursday, where he was tracked down after murdering seven people, including three children and three soldiers, in a series of attacks. With hindsight, Merah’s past appears to make him an obvious suspect —he had at least 15 criminal convictions, some with violence, had become a radical Islamist and travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan. One press report said that in 2010 Merah forced a youth to watch videos of al-Qaeda hostage beheadings. When the boy’s mother complained, Merah allegedly attacked her, putting her in hospital for several days.
►►Ex-Mossad chief says Israel will know when Iran begins producing nukes. Former Mossad head Meir Dagan said he believes Israel will be aware when Iran moves to the stage of nuclear weapon production —for example, enriching uranium to a degree of 90 percent. Dagan said that at that stage Israel would have to attack the Iranian nuclear sites if the international community does not stop its program. Dagan said he believed the Israeli Air Force has the capability to significantly damage Iran’s nuclear sites, yet repeated previous warnings that such a strike will have serious repercussions.

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News you may have missed #589

James Risen

James Risen

►►US lawmakers want audit of Colombia intelligence aid. Two US lawmakers on Wednesday requested the White House to scrutinize US assistance to Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS, after media reports that American money and training was used by the DAS for the illegal spying on government opponents.
►►Judge quashes subpoena to reporter in CIA leaker case. New York Times investigative reporter James Risen will not have to reveal the identity of his confidential source when he testifies in the criminal trial of Jeffrey Sterling, an alleged CIA leaker, a US federal judge recently held in a case involving the highest-profile journalist subpoena in recent years.
►►Ex-White House scientist pleads guilty in spy case tied to Israel. Stewart D. Nozette, a former senior government scientist who held the highest US security clearances, pleaded guilty to espionage on Wednesday and agreed to a 13-year prison term for selling top-secret information on military satellites and other technology to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy.

News you may have missed #586

Stewart David Nozette

David Nozette

►►Top CIA official says Obama ‘changed virtually nothing’. An examination of Top Secret America, which aired on PBS’s Frontline yesterday, includes a rare and lengthy interview with 34-year-CIA-veteran John Rizzo, who is described as “the most influential lawyer in CIA history”. Among other things, Rizzo told Frontline that “with a notable exception of the enhanced interrogation program, the incoming Obama administration changed virtually nothing with respect to existing CIA programs and operations. Things continued. Authorities were continued that were originally granted by President Bush beginning shortly after 9/11. Those were all picked up, reviewed and endorsed by the Obama administration”.
►►Turkish military intel chief arrested in coup plot. Lt. General Ismail Hakki Pekin, the head of the Intelligence Department of the Turkish General Staff, has been arrested pending trial over an alleged plot to overthrow the government. Around 200 members of the military are thought to have planned attacks on mosques and worked to create tension in neighboring Greece to pave the way for a coup to topple the government, as part of the Ergenekon operation.
►►US scientist accused of spying reaches plea deal. US government space scientist Stewart David Nozette, who is accused of trying to sell secrets to Israel, has reached a plea deal with prosecutors. US District Judge Paul Friedman scheduled a hearing Wednesday morning to take Nozette’s plea.

Analysis: NASA Spy’s Israel Ties Deeper Than Initially Thought

Stewart David Nozette

S.D. Nozette

By I. ALLEN and J. FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
New court documents show that Stewart David Nozette, an American scientist arrested for attempted espionage during an FBI sting last October, had deeper ties to Israel than initially believed. Nozette, a former employee of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was arrested for attempting to share classified US government data with an undercover FBI officer posing as a handler of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. At the time of Nozette’s arrest, the US Justice Department argued for keeping him in jail, as he “might flee to Israel if not confined”. Interestingly, however, US officials said at the time that Israel had no role in Nozette’s attempted espionage, and the FBI’s own indictment admitted that the Bureau “does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under US laws in this case”. But is this so? We examine the increasing complexities in the Stewart Nozette espionage case, as well as its significance for US-Israeli relations. Read article →

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News you may have missed #0255 (espionage edition)

  • South Korea jails alleged spy for 10 years. A 37-year-old college professor, identified only as Lee, has been handed a 10-year prison sentence for allegedly spying undercover on behalf of North Korea for 17 years. South Korean authorities said Lee, who was charged in November, was recruited by the North in 1992, while studying in New Delhi, India.
  • New details in Nozette spy case. Maryland scientist Stewart Nozette, who is accused of giving classified defense information to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli intelligence officer, may have impersonated a naval research official in order to acquire classified information, according to new court documents.
  • I didn’t kill Islamic Jihad members because I was busy spying for Israel“. Mahmoud Qassem Rafeh, a retired Lebanese Internal Security Forces official, has already confessed to having “collaborated with Israeli intelligence agents” between 1993 and 2006. But he denies having participated in the 2006 assassinations of two Islamic Jihad leaders in Lebanon, because on the night of the assassinations he was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Lebanon on behalf of Israeli spy agency Mossad.

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News you may have missed #0246

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Jailed US scientist actually gave secret information to Israel

Stewart David Nozette

S.D. Nozette

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
On October 22, shortly after the arrest of US nuclear scientist Stuart David Nozette by an FBI counterintelligence agent, I speculated that Nozette “was already working for Israeli intelligence” when he was arrested by the FBI. My assumption appears to have been correct. On Thursday, the case prosecutor informed a US district court that Nozette told the undercover FBI agent, who was posing as an Israeli spy, that “he had passed information to Israel in the past”. As I have explained elsewhere, Nozette was employed for ten years as a technical consultant by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), an Israeli government-owned company that some believe is routinely involved in espionage operations on behalf of Israel. Read more of this post