News you may have missed #609

Ilan Grapel

Ilan Grapel

►►Questions over Chinese spy hang over Putin visit. The arrest of a Chinese spy in Moscow has cast a cloud over Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to Beijing. Tong Shengyong was arrested last October for allegedly trying to buy plans to the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. But perplexingly, the news of his arrest only emerged last week, in what appears to have been a deliberate leak by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
►►Egypt steps up charges against suspected Israel spy. Egypt’s State Security Prosecutor has added additional criminal offenses against alleged Israeli spy Ilan Grapel. Meanwhile, there are indications that Egypt seeks the release of 78 Egyptian prisoners held in Israeli jails in return for Grapel. Israel may agree with the proposal.
►►CIA to be last out of Afghanistan. US Special Forces and the CIA are girding for the moment when Afghanistan’s security rests once again with them, working together with Afghan forces against the Taliban. Recent remarks from the White House suggest the CIA and special operations forces will be hunting al-Qaida and working with local forces long after most US troops have left.

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News you may have missed #607

Shakil Afridi

Shakil Afridi

►►Ex-worker sues US spy agency for anti-Islamic bias. Mahmoud Hegab, a former employee of the super-secretive US National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, says he lost his security clearance because his wife attended an Islamic school and worked for a Muslim charity, Alexandria-based Islamic Relief USA.
►►Russia says China still spies the old-fashioned way. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), issued a rare statement last week, claiming it had arrested Tong Shengyong, a Chinese citizen who, posing as a translator for official delegations, was working under the direction of the Chinese government in an attempt to buy state secrets from Russians about Russia’s S-300 missile system. It now says that the Tong case shows that China continues to employ an old standby in the tradecraft playbook: outright bribery.
►►Pakistan panel says doctor who aided CIA should face charges. Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi, who ran a vaccination program for the CIA to help track down Osama bin Laden, should be put on trial for high treason, a Paksitani government commission said Thursday.

Russia reveals arrest of Chinese national on spy charges

FSB officer

FSB officer

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Russian counterintelligence officials have revealed the arrest of an alleged Chinese intelligence operative, who has reportedly been imprisoned in Moscow for nearly a year and is awaiting trial on espionage charges. Russia’s FSB domestic intelligence agency said on Wednesday that it arrested Chinese national Tong Shengyong on October 28 last year. In a press statement, the FSB said that Tong’s professional cover was that of an “interpreter for official delegations”, but that in reality he was operating in Russia on an assignment from China’s Ministry of Public Security. The Ministry is the principal police and security authority of the People’s Republic of China, and is considered one of the world’s largest intelligence organizations. The FSB claims that Tong allegedly used his high-level contacts in Moscow and elsewhere to routinely solicit Russian nationals, offering to purchase from them information relating to Russian missile systems. According to the FSB, Tong was particularly interested in the S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile system, which developed for the Soviet Air Defense Forces as protection against American aircraft and cruise missiles. The Soviet-era system has since been replaced by the more advanced S-400, but China, which has historically been Russia’s largest weapons procurer, is already in possession of several S-300s, which it purchased from Moscow in the 1990s. Beijing is therefore desperate to access classified manuals that would allow it to repair and modify S-300s currently in its possession, without giving in to Russia’s insistence to upgrade to the post-Soviet S-400. Moreover, during the past decade, China has begun developing its own missile system technology, which some say is loosely based on Russian blueprints. Read more of this post