News you may have missed #684

Boris KarpichkovBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Pakistan sacks health workers who helped CIA locate bin Laden. Seventeen local health workers have been fired in Abbottabad for their part in a CIA scheme to try to confirm the presence of Osama bin Laden in the northern Pakistani town. The low-ranking health department employees were punished for helping Dr Shakil Afridi, who was assigned by the CIA to set up a fake vaccination scheme in Abbottabad, ahead of the US military operation that found and killed the al-Qaida leader there.
►►Estonia arrests couple for spying for Russia. Estonian prosecutors said Aleksei Dressen, who works for Estonia’s security police, and his wife, Viktoria Dressen, were arrested at Tallinn airport as she was boarding a flight to Moscow on February 22. Aleksei Dressen allegedly went to the airport to give his wife a folder that contained classified information. Meanwhile, in neighboring Lithuania, the government has released the names of 238 citizens who were reservists for the KGB during the Cold War.
►►KGB defector talks to British newspaper. Since fleeing to Britain in the late 1990s Boris Karpichkov has preferred to keep a low profile —unlike another, better-known Moscow agent who fled to London, one Alexander Litvinenko. He says he ran audacious disinformation operations against the CIA and broke into and planted bugs in the British embassy in Riga. But in 1995 he grew unhappy with the increasingly corrupt FSB (the KGB’s successor), which, he says, failed to pay him. He spent several months in a Moscow prison before slipping into Britain on one of the false passports he was given as a KGB officer. He hasn’t been back to Russia since.

News you may have missed #532

Viru Hotel

Viru Hotel

A new exhibition in Tallinn, called The Viru Hotel and the KGB, showcases the Soviet KGB operations in the Estonian capital’s most prestigious Soviet-era hotel. According to the curators, the 23rd floor of the hotel served as the KGB’s operational center in the city. The exhibition focuses specifically on KGB bugging technology during the last stages of the Cold War. Speaking of the Cold War, The Oak Ridger hosts an interesting interview with Francis Gary Powers Jr., son of the CIA pilot who was shot down over the USSR and later captured by the Soviets in 1960. Powers insists his father “never divulged America’s secrets” during his two-year imprisonment in Moscow. Interestingly, declassified documents from that time show that the CIA doubted Powers’ plane had been shot down by the Soviets, and believed the pilot had willingly defected to the USSR. In Canada, meanwhile, a new report to parliament by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS), claims that cyber-spying is fastest growing form of espionage in the country. The report also states that, as a matter of policy, CSIS views some private-sector cyberattacks as a national security issue.

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