Wednesday, October 14, 2015


OSINT NEWS Newsletter- Issue 4: 10/13/15

     Lots of events have unfolded in various domestic and foreign spy agencies since the last newsletter. We picked the top 13 events that involve the CIA, Russia's FSB, England's MI6, China's MSS and Cuba's DGI. Also included: the  super-secret spy satellite known as "NROL-55" that was launched by the National Reconnaissance Officer (NRO); a former CIA agent was just arrested in Portugal; declassified CIA secret documents were just released; and a DIA analyst says President Obama manipulated incoming intelligence on ISIS. Enjoy!

* Move over James Bond- one of England's MI6, Secret Intelligence Service, agents was the most successful double agent during World War II. It has just been revealed he was a Russian defector who partook in the historic smear campaign that lost Labour the 1924 election.
MI6 spy "Outcast" was
Russian Double Agent
     Confidential documents that have been released reveal that the renowned agent was known only as "Outcast", real name Alexis Bellegarde. Bellegarde was one of four Russian conspirators thought to be behind the famous 'Zinoviev letter', a forged letter sent to the British Communist Party which was leaked to the Daily Mail. The letter claimed that a secret trade deal would be sealed between the Labour government and the Soviet Union as a plan to radicalize the British working class. Published by the Mail, the letter led to a surge in votes for the Conservatives, ending Labour's hopes of election victory.

* Russia's spy agency, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or FSB forced the sacking of a Norwegian Arctic newspaper editor who covered oil drilling in the region. The story became a scandal in the European Arctic when he was controversially fired as editor of the Barents Observer for having "acted disloyally" to the newspaper's owners. The title is owned by Norwegian Barents Secretariat (NBS), a local government body that promotes good relations with Russia in a region where the two nations cooperate and compete over fishing, oil and military strategy.

De Sousa
* Former CIA operations officer Sabrina De Sousa arrested in Portugal. She was convicted in absentia for her role in a 2003 plot to kidnap a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist in Italy. Shouldn't Portugal authorities be giving her a Medal of Honor award instead? Italian prosecutors alleged she helped prepare phony documents for the kidnapping of Abu Omar and his transport to Egypt with help from the U.S. Air Force for interrogation by the CIA.

* President Obama incorrect for blaming the unforeseen rapid rise in ISIS power on the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). In fact, the IC did see it coming long ago and sent out red flags that were ignored by both President Obama and the congress. This is why America's intelligence operatives, national security scholars, and journalists who have been watching the progress of ISIS question the president's assertion. Do you think the rapid gains by ISIS in Iraq and Syria was a policy failure by the Obama administration or an intelligence failure? Take the Poll in the article and see how your opinion compares to other's.

*  Central Intelligence Agency withdraws its agents from the U.S. embassy in China. Senior U.S. officials say that   Chinese cyber attacks on OPM were carried out with the intention of identifying intelligence agents in order to obtain  sensitive information on them for blackmail and/or recruitment. China has consistently been accused of carrying out the OPM hack since it was revealed earlier in the year. The data breach includes 5.6 million stolen fingerprints. Of course, Beijing has denied all involvement.

Firefighters removing bodies of Letelier and Moffit from car shattered by a bomb
 on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C. in 1976

 * Recently declassified documents reveal the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) suspicion of Augusto Pinochet of Chili in ordering a 1976 assassination of Letelier in Washington, D.C. was correct. Letelier served as foreign minister under President Salvador Allende from 1970 to 1973 and was killed September 21, 1976 when a bomb in his vehicle exploded on Massachusetts Avenue while he was en route to his job at a Washington, D.C. think tank. As part of Operation Condor, the Pinochet dictatorship ordered the Chilean secret police (DINA) to murder Letelier. A declassified document from the then secretary of state  contains a CIA report with proof that Pinochet ordered Manuel Contreras of DINA to execute Orlando Letelier and his U.S. aide, Ronni Moffitt. 

Ronni Moffitt, aide
to Letelier
     It was one of many assassinations carried out as part of Operation Condor. The declassified U.S. intelligence documents confirm that Pinochet directly ordered the killing.

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*  US intelligence agencies warn about "going dark", where tech companies enable their customer's communications to be totally encrypted. There has been an ntensifying debate about what to do about the growth of end-to-end encrypted communications because our spy agencies can't spy on the "bad guys" anymore, which is a national security risk.

Video: FBI Director warns of encryptions    
    Criminals and terrorists use these systems to plot in uncrackable secrecy, which has led to calls for legislation to force the companies that offer such services to hand over customer's messages...unencrypted...when requested by law enforcement. Others contend that any such move would undermine the security of the internet and extend already-excessive state-sponsored snooping even further.

* The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has the  tremendous ability to assist emergency management during disasters. Getting information out of a super-secret agency like this and into the hands of practitioners in a timely enough manner to make a difference might be another matter.   

* One civilian Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst says Obama administration guilty of manipulating intelligence regarding U.S. assessments of the Islamic CaliphateIn short,  leaders of U.S. Central Command were changing intelligence assessments regarding U.S. efforts against the Caliphate. (Paul Hair, The Rebel Blogger).

Vincent Stewart, USMC
* The Director of the DIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Vincent R. Stewart, USMC, provided testimony on the worldwide threat on 3 Feb 2015. You can watch the full testimony at this link.

* The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) launches a highly- classified satellite, designated NROL-55, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The NRO "piggy backs" with 13 other nano-satellite (GRACE) CubeSats for America's national defense. They involve tracking technologies, radio-communications and other experiments. All of these terms are explained in the amazing launch video that is shown below. It includes an in-depth interview with one of the experts at Atlas Mission Control:

* China established its own spy agency, the Ministry of State Security (MSS), to provide for national security, gather foreign intelligence, and coordinate surveillance activities to identify subversive activities against the government. Since its inception, the MSS generally keeps a low profile. U.S. diplomats have inevitably come into contact with Chinese security over the years, creating memorable stories along the way. This article shows not only how effective Chinese security forces can be, but also reveals that even though the MSS prefers to operate covertly, it is not afraid to make its presence known if it wants to make a point. This is a good read!- Jake Silverman in The World Post

* Cuba's Directorate of Intelligence (DGI) has no qualms about using unseemly measures to gain cooperation from people who may be of service to the Cuban government. A Cuban intelligence defector, Delfin Fernandez, revealed tactics used against celebrities and other victims inside the U.S. The tactics employed were not exclusive to a certain subset of American culture- the DGI, like most intelligence services, uses a variety of methods to acquire information from people who may have access and from those who will have future access (college students), to sensitive information. Thus, the DGI focused on American universities.- William Tucker Chief Correspondent for In Homeland Security

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online spy series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean".  Contact him on the Secure Contact Form

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