Two Overlooked Aspects Of Those Leaks About NSA Spying On French Presidents

US Intelligence Community Seal

US Intelligence Community Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

from the reasons-to-be-cheerful dept

There’s been quite a lot of excitement in the press about the latest leaks that the NSA has been spying on not just one French President, but (at least) three of them. As Mike pointed out, this isn’t such a big deal, because it is precisely the kind of thing that you would expect the NSA to do — as opposed to spying on the entire US public, which isn’t. There is, though, an aspect that most people have overlooked: the fact that these NSA leaks don’t appear to originate from Snowden’s stash.

Of course, Mr Crypto himself, Bruce Schneier, did spot it, and pointed out it could be one of his “other” US intelligence community leakers, listed a couple of months ago, or even a completely new one. As that post shows, there are now a few people around that are leaking secret documents, and that’s a pretty significant trend, since you might expect enhanced security measures taken in the wake of Snowden’s leaks would have discouraged or caught anyone who attempted to follow suit. Continue reading

Intelligence: Sex And Money Gets It Done

March 16, 2015: Indian police recently arrested an employee (a cameraman) for the government defense research organization (DRDO) and accused the man of spying for Pakistan. The suspect was accused of passing on information about missile research and tests and doing so for up to ten months. The suspect admitted that he had met with ISI (Pakistani intelligence) agents in India several times in 2014. Apparently this man was caught because Indian intelligence was monitoring ISI agents. It’s unclear why the Indian man agreed to be a spy, although money appears to be the most likely motivator.While money is a common lure for spies, sex also works and is being used more frequently in India. In mid-2014 an Indian army warrant officer (Subedar) was arrested and charged with spying for Pakistan. The arrested man had been recruited in 2013 via Facebook by a woman who sent him software that he posted to his work server. This software enabled the Pakistanis to hack into the headquarters where the warrant officer worked. The Pakistani woman (or someone posing as a woman) convinced the warrant officer she was interested in him and asked him to help her with some work she was doing for the NGO she was employed by. The warrant officer fell for all this and enabled the Pakistanis to get a lot of information about the readiness and deployment of several Indian missile units. It is as yet unclear if the warrant officer knew he was being played or that he was really smitten by his new online girlfriend. Continue reading

Why can’t British intelligence services locate Isil hostages?

The Big Question: why has the UK so far been unable to find the suspected British Islamic State killer and the group’s hostages?
Alan Henning

Alan Henning Photo: PA

“We don’t know where he is. Obviously, if we knew where he was, we would be able to look at all sorts of options but we don’t know where he is.”

This unusually candid statement by British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, brought into sharp relief the relative impotence of the West in dealing with Islamic State militants who are holding a number of hostages.

Videos showing the murder of three men, two Americans and one British, have recently been released by the group. A fourth, Alan Henning, a British national, faces the same fate.

Hammond noted that “we are doing everything that we can to protect him”. But without reliable intelligence his options are limited. British and US special forces are highly capable, but their operations must be targeted with precision.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s recent exposures suggested to many that GCHQ and the NSA would be able to deliver such precision. Hitherto, they have not. Continue reading

Time for a Counterattack on the Kremlin

English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. President Vladim...

English: THE KREMLIN, MOSCOW. President Vladimir Putin with Federal Security Service Director Nikolai Patrushev. Русский: МОСКВА, КРЕМЛЬ. Встреча с директором Федеральной службы безопасности Николаем Патрушевым. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September 12, 2014

It’s my pleasure to offer an insightful guest post from Johan Wiktorin, former Swedish Military Intelligence and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences. Follow him on Twitter: @forsvarsakerhet

In Ukraine, the cease-fire is on the ropes with daily reports of artillery-fire and shootings. It is established that the Russian Armed Forces is one of the warring factions. A couple of weeks ago, the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, acknowledged on television that Sweden had verified, supposedly by its own intelligence services, that Russian artillery was firing into Ukraine.

There are other proofs as well. In a long blogpost at Bellingcat a few days ago, journalist Iggy Ostanin showed convincingly that the individual Buk SAM-system that shot down MH17 in July has returned to Russia and resumed its place in the 53th Brigade of the Russian PVO (Air Defense Forces). Continue reading

Greece intelligence on alert for traveling Islamist militants

The Balkan peninsula as defined by the Soča-Kr...

The Balkan peninsula as defined by the Soča-Krka-Sava border in the north. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Western Balkans.

English: The Western Balkans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greece intelligence on ‘heightened state of vigilance’ in search for suspected Islamist militants
Greek surveillance alert comes amid concern that Islamist State fighters might hit back for U.S. airstrike

Greece’s National Intelligence Service said Tuesday that it was at “a heightened state of vigilance” for suspected militants, keeping close tabs on radical Muslims, and had detected at least six foreign fighters with the terrorist group Islamic State transiting through the country in recent months.

The surveillance operation comes amid concern that the militant group, formerly known as  Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, will retaliate for increased U.S airstrikes in Iraq and possible strikes in Syria.

How did the Shin Bet fail to spot the Hebron kidnap cell in time?

Analysis

Israel’s intelligence services have a remarkable record of success in the West Bank. Not this time. Hard lessons will have to be learned about the failure to thwart the killings of the three Israeli teens

July 4, 2014, 11:55 am
An Israeli soldier patrols near the area where the bodies of three Israeli teenagers were found, in the village of Halhul, near the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Majdi Mohammed)

An Israeli soldier patrols near the area where the bodies of three Israeli teenagers were found, in the village of Halhul, near the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Majdi Mohammed)

Ibrahim Hamed, the former head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank, the man responsible for the murders of dozens of Israelis, was thought of as a “ghost” for many years. Almost a legend. The Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces were not able to catch up to him, as he slipped through their grasp time and again. Only after eight years of pursuit was he captured in 2006 in a safe house in Ramallah’s al-Balou neighborhood.

People involved in the search for “The Sheikh” — who is today 49 and serving 54 life sentences — say one of the basic things that allowed him to evade capture for so long was his refusal to use a mobile phone. Israel’s security establishment managed to track his calls only twice over all those years, and even those instances were calls made from public phones.

Continue reading

IAI To Transfer Spy Sat to Military Users

May. 11, 2014 – 02:32PM   |   By BARBARA OPALL-ROME  

The Ofek 10 satellite was launched on April 9 and carriers a synthetic aperture radar.

The Ofek 10 satellite was launched on April 9 and carriers a synthetic aperture radar. (Israel Aerospace Industries)

YEHUD, ISRAEL — A month after launching Israel’s newest spy satellite into space, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), producer of the Ofek 10 and its advanced radar-imaging payload, is poised to transfer the strategic intelligence system to military hands.

IAI Chief Executive Yossi Weiss said Ofek 10 should be delivered to operational users “within weeks,” following extensive in-orbit testing by specialists with the company’s MBT Space Division here and Defense Ministry research and development authorities.

“So far, along all parameters, we’re quite satisfied,” Weiss said of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite launched April 9 by an IAI-produced Shavit rocket.

“We’re taking our time to work through a very methodical and thorough testing program,” he said. “There will be no cutting corners. … And when it’s ready — within weeks — we will hand it over to the government of Israel to operate as an additional strategic asset for its use.” Continue reading

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