Chinese influence in New Zealand threatens intelligence-sharing, says Canadian report

CSIS canada

 

The report, entitled China and the Age of Strategic Rivalry, was authored by experts at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). It contains a summary of views expressed by participants at an academic outreach workshop that was organized in Canada by the CSIS. In a section focusing on Chinese “interference in democratic systems”, the report suggests that, despite its small size, New Zealand is “valuable to China […] as a soft underbelly through which to access Five Eyes intelligence”. In recent years, claims the report, Beijing has adopted “an aggressive strategy” that has sought to co-opt political and economic elites in New Zealand as a means of influencing political decision making in the country. As part of that process, China seeks to gain advantages in trade and business negotiations, suppress negative views of China, facilitate espionage and control the views of the Chinese expatriate community in New Zealand, according to the report. Ultimately, Beijing seeks to “extricate New Zealand from […] its traditional [military and intelligence] partners]” as a means of asserting its regional and —eventually— global influence, the report concludes. Continue reading

Outgoing CIA director acknowledges US killed ‘couple of hundred’ Russians in Syria

 

At a press conference held soon after the armed clash, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis refused to discuss the matter, which he referred to as “perplexing”. Bloomberg said at the time that American officials were “in talks” with Russian counterparts “in search of an explanation for what happened”. On Thursday, however, Pompeo appeared to acknowledge that US troops killed hundreds of Russians in Deir al-Zour. The outgoing CIA director was speaking before a committee of the US Senate, during a hearing pertaining to his nomination to serve as the next US secretary of state. He was making the point that the administration of US President Donald Trump had maintained a hardline policy on Russia. After referring to the recent expulsions of 60 Russian diplomats from the US, Pompeo said: “in Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago the Russians met their match. A couple of hundred Russians were killed”.

Continue reading

MI5 releases new information about Soviet ‘Portland Spy Ring’

 

Files released on Monday by the British government reveal new evidence about one of the most prolific Soviet spy rings that operated in the West after World War II, which became known as the Portland Spy Ring. Some of the members of the Portland Spy Ring were Soviet operatives who, at the time of their arrest, posed as citizens of third countries. All were non-official-cover intelligence officers, or NOCs, as they are known in Western intelligence parlance. Their Soviet —and nowadays Russian— equivalents are known as illegals. NOCs are high-level principal agents or officers of an intelligence agency, who operate without official connection to the authorities of the country that employs them. They often pose as business executives, students, academics, journalists, or non-profit agency workers. Unlike official-cover officers, who are protected by diplomatic immunity, NOCs have no such protection. If arrested by authorities of their host country, they can be tried and convicted for engaging in espionage. Continue reading

America’s Cyber Vulnerabilities

ISTOCK.COM/MONSITJ

 

Cyber is the newest branch of warfare. Even in its baby stages, it has the potential to cripple the United States.

On the afternoon of Dec. 23, 2015, Ukrainian engineers from a Prykarpattya Oblenergo power station stared at a computer screen while the cursor progressed on its own across the monitor. The mouse on the table had not moved. But the cursor hovered over the station’s breakers, each one controlling power to thousands of Ukrainian citizens. Then, with one mouse click at a time, the hackers now in control of the power station began shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

At the same time, Kyivoblenergo employees watched as dozens of substations shut down, one by one. In their case, there was no phantom mouse. A computer on their network that they could not locate was being used by someone to shut down the power—and there was nothing they could do. Continue reading

Trump set up? The CIA’s UMBRAGE group can stage RUSSIAN hacking

FISA warrant could have been obtained through staged hacking

(INTELLIHUB) — Among the startling revelations coming out through the Wikileaks “Vault 7” release is the shocking fact that the CIA has the ability to “misdirect attribution” of a hack, effectively making it look as if a country such as Russian was the culprit when in reality it was forces within the Central Intelligence Agency itself.

According to the Wikileaks documents, a group within the CIA’s Remote Devices Branch, code-named UMBRAGE, collects and maintains a massive library of attack techniques stolen from other countries, including the Russian Federation.

“With UMBRAGE and related projects the CIA cannot only increase its total number of attack types but also misdirect attribution by leaving behind the “fingerprints” of the groups that the attack techniques were stolen from,” reads the Wikileaks release. “UMBRAGE components cover keyloggers, password collection, webcam capture, data destruction, persistence, privilege escalation, stealth, anti-virus (PSP) avoidance and survey techniques.” Continue reading

NSA and CIA is the enemy of the people

 

Astute students of history understand that government agencies often further their own interests and not the administration they are designated to serve. Seldom is the genuine national security advanced when bureaucrats pledge their loyalty to their respective fiefdoms of projecting influence and power. Absent in this supremacy struggle equation is the abstract notion that state legitimacy is founded upon the will and consent of the people. Such a quaint concept does not reflect a chapter in the training manual that breeds the spooks who operate as above the law and unaccountable super spies.

Guarding signals traffic or capturing foreign communication is a logical task to protect national secrets, while gathering information on intentions and operations from adversaries. Once upon a time the National Security Agency directed the ECHELON project as a cold war network. Over the decades the functions of electronic surveillance broadened into collection on all forms of data, no matter the source or the national origin of the subject. Continue reading

US Special Forces deployed at Russian border to defend Baltic states ‘scared to death’ by Vladimir Putin

US Special Operations forces will work with Lithuanian special ops troops shown here on a joint exercise PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images

 

The troops will help train local forces and add to intelligence gathering operations carried out by the CIA

US Special Forces have been deployed close to the border with Russia as part of a “persistent” presence of American troops in the Baltics.

Dozens of special ops solders are being stationed along Europe’s eastern flank to reassure Nato allies Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The move will also allow the US to monitor Russian manoeuvres amid fears of further destabilisation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Continue reading

Donald Trump Plans Revamp of Top U.S. Spy Agency

President-elect Donald Trump, seen speaking in November in Hershey, Pa., is working on a plan to restructure the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the nation’s top spy agency, according to people familiar with the matter. PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

 

President-elect works on restructuring Office of the Director of National Intelligence, tweets again his doubts that Russia hacked Democrats

WASHINGTON—President-elect Donald Trump, a harsh critic of U.S. intelligence agencies, is working with top advisers on a plan that would restructure and pare back the nation’s top spy agency, people familiar with the planning said.

The move is prompted by his belief that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has become bloated and politicized, these people said. Continue reading

The Moscow Times: CIA Director made secret trip to Moscow in March

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov says that John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), made a secret visit to Moscow in March, according to The Moscow Times.

“It’s no secret that Brennan was here,” Syromolotov said on Monday. “But he didn’t visit the Foreign Ministry. I know for sure that he met with the Federal Security Service [the successor agency to the Soviet KGB], and someone else.” Continue reading

America’s most senior intelligence official has his phone, email hacked

https://intelligencenews.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/first-post-h4.jpg?w=525&h=243

 

A member of a hacker group that took responsibility for breaking into the personal email account of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency last year has now hacked the email of the most senior intelligence official in the United States. In October 2015, the hacker group referred to by its members as “Crackas With Attitude” —CWA for short— claimed it was behind the hacking of an AOL personal email account belonging to John Brennan, who heads the CIA. Less than a month later, the CWA assumed responsibility for breaking into an online portal used by US law enforcement to read arrest records and share sensitive information about crimes involving shootings. Shortly after the second CWA hack, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert to all government employees advising them to change their passwords and be cautious about suspicious emails and other phishing attempts. Continue reading

Military to Military

Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped. Continue reading

CIA pulled officers from Beijing after massive cybertheft of US federal personnel records

The CIA pulled a number of officers from the US Embassy in Beijing as a precautionary measure following the massive online theft of personal data of federal employees, current and former US officials said.

The move is a concrete impact of the breach, one of two major hacks into Office of Personnel Management computers that were disclosed earlier this year. Officials have privately attributed the hacks to the Chinese government.

The theft of documents has been characterised by senior US officials as political espionage intended to identify spies and people who might be recruited as spies or blackmailed to provide useful information.

Because the OPM records contained the background checks of State Department employees, officials privately said the Chinese could have compared those records with the list of embassy personnel. Anybody not on that list could be a CIA officer. Continue reading

Cold War files show secret war between CIA and KGB in Canada

Much of the espionage activity by the two spy agencies concentrated on Toronto’s sizable Eastern European expatriate community, especially on immigrants with Ukrainian and Polish roots. In one document dating from 1959, a CIA officer details the profiles of 18 Canadian citizens, most of them Toronto residents, who were suspected by Langley to be working for the KGB. Most of them were believed to be non-official-cover operatives, or NOCs, as they are known in the US Intelligence Community. The term typically refers to high-level principal agents or officers of an intelligence agency, who operate without official connection to the diplomatic authorities of the country that employs them. The declassified document explains that the suspected NOCs had secretly traveled to the USSR after being recruited by the KGB. They were then trained as spies before returning to Canada years later under new identities. Continue reading

Ex-CIA director: U.S. wide open to grid attack

How many times can a nation be warned, yet still do next to nothing to neutralize the threat, before an attack or natural disaster actually happens? For more on the SCADA systems, see HERE and HERE. Imagine, for example, Russian or Chinese hackers being able to control dosage levels of medications for patients in America, without America knowing. The threat is real.

 

A former CIA director says the Obama administration hasn’t done nearly enough to protect the nation from attacks to America’s information and critical infrastructure systems.

“The president has to put this first on his list because we are very vulnerable, and we will stay vulnerable until some key things get fixed. So far, I have not seen anywhere near enough commitment from the White House or any place else in getting this done,” said R. James Woolsey, who served as director of the Central Intelligence in the Clinton administration. Woolsey is now chairman of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Continue reading

Russia outguns US in information war

Not only is the U.S. outgunned in the information war, it has allowed propaganda news outlets such as state-run (KGB) Russia Today to broadcast within the gates and manipulate the minds of American citizens for years already.

The Soviet propaganda factory Russia Today has gotten so bad that even one of the news anchors quit live in TV because she was sick of the lies she had to push forward on the Evil Empire’s behalf:

 

 

The West does not have one message and it’s up against a co-ordinated information war, academic says.

Washington: The troubled US agency responsible for delivering news around the world is being outgunned in Eastern Europe by Russian outlets unrestrained by notions of fact-based journalism.

The unequal competition raises fears among US officials that Moscow is winning the information war about events in Ukraine, even as the Russian economy staggers under economic sanctions imposed after the takeover of Crimea.

“Russia has engaged in a rather remarkable period of the most overt and extensive propaganda exercise that I’ve seen since the very height of the Cold War,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate subcommittee in late February. It’s “spending hugely on this vast propaganda machine”, he told another panel the same day, and it’s succeeding “because there’s nothing countering it”. Continue reading