Tuesday, November 3, 2015

OSINT NEWS Newsletter- Issue 5: 11/03/15


     Hello, and welcome back! The theme of this newsletter is espionage and counterespionage. As Russia and Egypt downplay the possibility of a bomb smuggled onto the Russian jetliner as the cause for the dreadful crash in the Sinai Peninsula, the U.K. and American intelligence agencies are suggesting that a bomb is, indeed, a highly-likely cause. 
     Since you will be inundated with facts on this tragic event in the days to come, this newsletter will focus on other, less media-covered events within the U.S. and foreign spy agencies- important espionage and counterespionage happenings within the CIA, NSA, Germany's BND foreign spy agency, Britain's MI6, the FBI, and others...enjoy! 
 
Germany's foreign intelligence service, BND, spied on top French officials as well 
as members of the European Commission on  behalf of US spy agency NSA
 
*National Security Council (NSA) activities inside Germany suspicious to former federal judge turned government-appointed special investigator Kurt Graulich. He found a "large number" of NSA catchwords aimed at entities in two-thirds of all EU nations, according to Germany's news magazine "Der Spiegel". Graulich was appointed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition to investigate the NSA's activities and he will submit his 300-page report to the German parliament's inquiry. Specifically, it details the activities within Germany of the US National Security Agency (NSA) from 2004 until late 2013. The issue arose from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden when he leaked details of NSA electronic spying in 2013. Graulich checked the secret list on parliament's behalf and uncovered a "surprisingly large number" of European targets on a list said to have been disallowed by Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency on the grounds that they violated European or German interests.
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US defense contractor leaks state secrets to Chinese honey trap
*China's spy agency, Britain's MI6 and Japanese intelligence in counterintelligence spat. UK intelligence chiefs warned that China is using honey traps and cybercrime as their main spy tactics. The warning appeared in a recent M16 memo issued to all serving and former members of the intelligence agencies. It states, “The Chinese service are becoming increasingly proactive and aggressive in approaching former members of HMG, including the Security and Intelligence Agencies. Chinese spies are still using the good old-fashioned honey trap to get secrets out of middle-aged businessmen and government officials."
     Meanwhile, while China is being accused by Britain's MI6 of using honey trap and cyber-espionage tactics to steal UK’s military secrets, Beiging has started a counter-espionage hotline to report suspected spies in the nation. They recently arrested four Japanese who were accused of spying. The Chinese spy agency launched a counter-espionage hotline that targets foreign organizations and individuals who conduct espionage activities or instigate and sponsor others in conducting them. The alleged four Japanese "spies" arrested were a male spy caught in Jilin Province allegedly carrying out espionage activities near a military facility. The Jilin is a coastal province off the coast of East China Sea facing Japan with which China has a dispute over uninhabited islands. DefenseWorld.Net
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CIA accused of recruiting IDF soldiers
*Is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruiting Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officers and soldiers? There are reports from the information security department, part of the IDF's intelligence force, that a warning was issued to all its officers and soldiers of the IDF to beware of recruitment attempts by the CIA. The advisory called on soldiers to "be aware and report any unusual incidences." 
     Attached to the warning was an article from Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot chronicling a phenomenon circa 2012 in which post-army youngsters, upon arrival in the U.S., were taken in for extensive questioning by American authorities in an attempt to recruit their services. The Jerusalem Post

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John Kiriakou, CIA Hero
* Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): Well, he served his time. John Kiriakou spent 14 years in the CIA as an analyst and counterterrorism officer. I wrote an article on him because I consider Kiriakou a CIA hero and wanted to protest his incarceration- Kiriakou does not deserve to be imprisoned. At one-point he was responsible for leading the team that found Abu Zubaydah, one of the highest ranking al-Qaeda officers at the time. But Kiriakou’s career has become defined by a decision he made after he left the CIA. In 2007, he became the first CIA official to publicly acknowledge the agency’s use of waterboarding. WCQS News
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* Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): In a repeat of history, the CIA and the Saudi Arabia have united to launch a proxy war against Russia by supplying Islamist groups in Syria with advanced weapons and sophisticated missiles. Remember the Stinger shoulder-firing missiles the CIA supplied to the mujahedeen, which brought down countless Russian jet fighters and helicopters? American Free Press
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Spy Clyde Lee Conrad got life in prison

* Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): A former FBI spy hunter fled Cuba at age 9. After 25 years of hunting spies, Joe Navarro is now writing books (11 of them so far) and working on a film project with George Clooney based on his yet-to-be published novel "Three Minutes to Doomsday." The book deals with Navarro's role in tracking down Clyde Lee Conrad (Above photo), an Army officer who sold secrets to Hungary during the Cold War. CNN Money
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* National Security Agency (NSA): Terrorist organizations took advantage of whistleblower Edward Snowden’s leaks and adapted, NSA officials said. The surveillance group's deputy director, Richard Ledgett, has seen high-profile groups change their operations ever since scores of stolen classified documents put the NSA’s modus operandi on display. I wrote a satire on Snowden's aftermath: Let's Outsource Domestic Spying to China New York Daily News
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The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) released the second in a four-part series of videos from its “Know the Risk – Raise Your Shield” campaign. It focuses on social media deception and informs us of the inherent dangers that the use of social media – Facebook, Twitter, etc. – could present if protective measures aren't taken. There are two videos: a shorter attention-grabber and a second longer video about social media deception, how government officials or the public can recognize threats and what steps can be taken to minimize the risk of being deceived. The NCSC provides leadership and support to counterintelligence and security activities of the US Intelligence Community (IC) and others who are at risk of intelligence gathering or attack by foreign spy agencies.
 
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Importance of HUMINT "walking
the streets" intelligence
gathering featured in Spectre film
 *Spectre, the new 24th James Bond movie supports human intelligence (HUMINT) over hi-tech electronic intelligence gathering methods- it pits boots-on-the-ground intelligence against information gathered through illicit hacking and high-tech surveillance. In the movie, England's MI6 spy agency is under threat from a new counter-terrorism wing that abolishes the long-running HUMINT program of which Bond is a part. They rely on an international alliance of networks, each sharing data gathered online and from an extensive network of cameras and databases.
     The head of MI6 wants to “shake up the intelligence service” and rose rapidly to the top via an old-boys network kinship with members of the cabinet – and to bring a “dark ages” system “into the light”. Such measures are resisted by the another secret service (MI6) leader who maintains that the most vital function of human agents is to make the kind of life-or-death call that a computer cannot. The Guardian
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NSA "PRISM" not massive privacy threat most believe
*National Security Agency (NSA) pries much less into our private lives than Social Media does.  In the wake of Edward Snowden’s leak of classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents to The Washington Post and The Guardian, the U.S. went on a "right to privacy” revolution and the NSA data collection program known as “PRISM” was seen as a violation of our liberties. In actuality, PRISM is not the massive threat to our privacy that most believe it to be, for the NSA’s collection of phone records does not include the contents of a call. Only the number dialed, the number from which the call was made and the length and date of the call was recorded. Though some information can be gleaned from this data, it is not nearly as extensive as what is available on social media — which is not only readily available to intelligence organizations but also to the general public. Loyola Phoenix- Univ. of Chicago
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*The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Johnson and National Counterterrorism Center Director Rasmussen never used words "Islam", "Islamic", or "Muslim" even once while testifying before Congress  on terrorist threats to the nation. During the full House Homeland Security Committee hearing October 21 on “Worldwide Threats and Homeland Security Challenges”, Rasmussen referred to Islamic terrorists 32 times – but by other names: "terrorists, terrorist groups, terrorist actors, ISIL-inspired terrorists, terrorist organizations, foreign terrorist fighters, foreign fighters, violent extremists, extremists, extremist terrorist actors, violent extremist actors," and "extremist actors." CNS News.com 
 
Note: Click HERE to view the complete transcripts of Hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee- "Worldwide Threats and Homeland Security Challenges" October 21, 2015, featuring Nick Rasmussen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

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Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. We're always looking for different perspectives regarding the Intelligence Community- got a thought, article or comment you'd like to submit? Contact us on the Secure Contact Form

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