News you may have missed #0039

  • Russians suspect sabotage behind ICBM test failure. The FSB is investigating the reasons behind the test failure earlier this month of a Russian Navy Bulava-30 (SS-NX-30) sea-based intercontinental ballistic missile, which disintegrated 28 seconds after launch. The Russian Navy developed the ICBM specifically to avoid future US ballistic missile defenses.
  • CIA kept bin Laden son’s death secret for months. US officials think that Saad bin Laden was killed in a Predator drone strike earlier this year in Pakistan, but CIA has tried to keep the news secret, allegedly in an attempt to confuse al-Qaeda. You may recall that some time ago intelNews reported that some in US intelligence believed Saad had been given government protection in Iran.
  • US DNI sees signs of North Korean succession. The Open Source Center of the US Directorate of National Intelligence adds its voice to widespread speculation that Kim Jong il may be preparing to hand power to his third son, Kim Jong Un.

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NATO spy convicted by Estonian court

Herman Simm

Herman Simm

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Herman Simm, the Estonian spy who handed classified NATO material to Russia, has been convicted to 12.5 years’ imprisonment and ordered to pay $1.6 million for damages he caused while spying for the Russians. Simm, a high-level official at the Estonian defense ministry, who once headed the country’s National Security Authority, was arrested last November along with his wife and charged with spying for Russia for nearly 30 years. At the time of his arrest, Simm’s spying activities were described by Western counterintelligence officials as perhaps “the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War”. Read more of this post

Estonian sleeper agent may have been double spy, say Germans

Herman Simm

Herman Simm

Last month, Estonian counterintelligence agents arrested Herman Simm, a high-level official at the Estonian defense ministry, on charges that he spied on behalf of Russian intelligence for nearly 30 years. At the time, Western counterintelligence officials said Simm, who was in charge of handling all of Estonia’s “classified and top secret material on NATO”, was at the center of “the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War”. But the complexity of this espionage affair has now increased, with German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reporting that Simm was also a paid informant of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service. Read more of this post

Russian Sleeper Agent Caught Spying on NATO

For the past year many in the know have been suspecting that the sophisticated Russian diplomatic maneuvers on the US missile defense shield are built on inside information on the project. Now a number of reports have emerged in the British press, pointing to a busting of what is probably an extensive network of Russian-handled spies in Estonia. Herman Simm, a high-level official at the Estonian defense ministry, has been arrested along with his wife on charges that he spied on behalf of Russian intelligence for nearly 30 years. Estonian and Western counterintelligence are still after his handler, who is known as “the Spaniard” because of his cover as a Spanish entrepreneur. Simm, who is described as a “sleeper” agent, was probably at the center of what can be said to be “the most serious case of espionage against NATO since the end of the Cold War”. This is not only because he was “responsible for handling all his country’s classified and top secret material on NATO”, but also because he was in charge of Estonia’s relatively advanced national cyber defense systems, as well as “for many years in charge of issuing security clearance[s]”. Perhaps more importantly, he is said to have been privy to crucial NATO information pertaining to the US missile shield project. No wonder an anonymous German official has described this latest Russian penetration of NATO as a “catastrophe”. This is not the first spy story to emerge out of Estonia since the end of the Cold War. Insiders will remember a story from ten years ago of a high-ranking Estonian police officer who defected to Britain on the run from FSB agents who were blackmailing him for recruitment purposes. [IA]

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