Did FSB leak Russian double spy’s name to the media?

SVR seal

SVR seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The revelation that a double agent betrayed the ten Russian deep-cover spies, who were arrested in the United States last summer, may have been leaked to the media as part of a turf war between two rival Russian spy agencies. On November 11, Russian newspaper Kommersant disclosed that a senior officer in Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) had defected to the United States shortly before the arrest of ten Russian deep-cover spies by the FBI, on June 27, 2010. The paper identified the alleged double agent as “Colonel Shcherbakov”, believed by veteran KGB officer Oleg Kalugin to be Aleksandr Vasilyevich Shcherbakov. The Kommersant disclosure was later confirmed by no other than Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. But who leaked Shcherbakov’s name to Kommersant, and why? According to Pavel Felgenhauer, military and intelligence correspondent for Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, the leak originated from within the Russian intelligence establishment. Specifically, Felgenhauer suggests that it was Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) that leaked the information to the media, in an attempt to score points against the SVR. Read more of this post

Analysis: Deadly conflict inside Iraqi spy service goes unmentioned

Iraq

Iraq

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Amidst the chaos of post-Ba’athist Iraqi politics, a deadly sectarian conflict is raging within Iraq’s powerful spy agency. Employees inside Iraq’s National Intelligence Service (INIS) are split along religious sectarian lines, with Sunni and Shiite officers battling for control of the organization. The warring factions are directly affiliated with opposing political parties, and represent various political interests. Shiite officers are seen as aligned with Tehran, whereas Sunnis are close to Washington and –ironically– to the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party. The conflict has resulted in the assassination of several INIS officers, mostly by their colleagues in the Service, according to two anonymous Iraqi security officials, who spoke to The National, an English-language newspaper published in the United Arab Emirates. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #426 (Gareth Williams edition II)

  • ‘Turf war’ over Williams killing. British media claim that a turf battle has erupted between British police and the country’s external intelligence agency, MI6, with some police officers complaining that MI6 personnel are hindering their investigation into the death of former MI6 and GCHQ employee Gareth Williams.
  • Williams reported ‘being tailed’ before death. British tabloid The Daily Express claims that Gareth Williams feared he was being followed and told his superiors at MI6 he thought he was being targeted by foreign agents, several weeks before his death.
  • NSA expert doubts Williams killing was spy-related. Intelligence commentator James Bamford, who has authored several books on the NSA, GCHQ’s equivalent agency in the US, says that “leaving a body in a canvas bag sounds more like a jealous lover or drug deal gone bad than a political assassination”.

Analysis: How the CIA bedded down in Burma

Burma

Burma

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
It is a story that was largely ignored when it surfaced last year: since 1994, US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer Richard A. Horn had been claiming that CIA agents illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma. It appears that, at the time, the US diplomatic representation in Burma and the CIA station in Rangoon were at loggerheads with the DEA. The latter, represented by special agent Horn, had a policy of publicly commending the Burmese government for its significant efforts to end the vastly lucrative illegal drug trade in the country. But the diplomatic leadership at the US embassy in Rangoon, supported by the CIA, felt that their inroads with the Burmese military junta, which has controlled the country since 1990, were being obstructed by the DEA. Read more of this post

Strike causes rift in Israeli diplomat-spy relations

Mossad seal

Mossad seal

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Members of Israel’s striking diplomatic community say they will refuse cooperation with Israeli spies, after the latter stepped in to take over some of the striking diplomats’ tasks. The ongoing strike by the Diplomatic Association of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to eliminate the notable income disparity between Israeli diplomats and civil servants in the country’s Ministry of Defense, who make almost double than their diplomatic colleagues. The impact of the strike on Israel’s worldwide diplomatic activity has been substantial, and has included cancellations of some state-level visits. One such visit is a trip by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Greece, which the Israeli leader is keen on undertaking, despite the strike. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #413

  • Complex politics behind Ugandan spy chief’s removal. The recent sacking of Dr Amos Mukumbi from heading Uganda‘s Internal Security Organisation (ISO) was the handiwork of politics, intrigue and suspicion within the country’s intelligence community and between politicians. It was also related to ongoing turf wars between the ISO and its sister agency, the External Security Organisation.
  • Experts still evaluating WikiLeaks impact. Some analysts believe that the US intelligence establishment will call for an increased clampdown on secrecy in the wake of the WikiLeaks Afghan War Diary files release. But the data dump has also spurred those arguing that the US government needs to reduce the amount of information it classifies as secret, much of which may be unnecessary.
  • Radio program investigates the Mossad. BBC Radio has aired a relatively well-produced primer on Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The BBC’s Security Correspondent Gordon Corera interviews former Mossad Director Efraim Halevy and former Mossad operative Rafi Eitan, among others.

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Comment: Washington Post’s ‘Top Secret America’

Dana Priest

Dana Priest

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Like most intelligence observers, we at intelNews have monitored with interest The Washington Post’s recent investigation into the current state of the US intelligence complex. Authored by longtime investigative reporter Dana Priest and national security correspondent William Arkin, the three-part series offers a long-overdue examination of some of the most pressing issues in American intelligence. The articles are well written, detailed and informative, and intelNews recommends that they be read by all those interested in understanding broad trends in contemporary American intelligence. However, those readers interested in a sneak peak of some of the most important findings of the Post’s investigation, may wish to browse the helpful summary provided by Liz Goodwin, of Yahoo! News’ Upshot blog. In it, she delineates the main conclusions of the report, which –broadly speaking– focuses on three critical issues.

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