Unarmed Russian Air Force jet overflies the Pentagon, Capitol, CIA

(CNN) An unarmed Russian Air Force aircraft overflew the US Capitol, the Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency and Joint Base Andrews at low altitude on Wednesday as part of a longstanding treaty that allows the militaries of the United States and Russia to observe the other from the air, according to two people familiar with the flight.

The flight was part of the Treaty on Open Skies, which allows military aircraft from the United States and Russia and other nations to fly aerial observation flights to observe military sites of the 34 signatory nations.

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The Little Putsch That Could Beget a Great Big Coup

 

So let’s start with two obvious points about the whole Russia fiasco…

Namely, there is no “there, there.” First off, the president has the power to declassify secret documents at will. But in this instance he could also do that without compromising intelligence community (IC) “sources and methods” in the slightest.

That’s because after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, the whole world was put on notice — and most especially Washington’s adversaries — that it collects every single electronic digit that passes through the worldwide web and related communications grids. Continue reading

New report details one of history’s “largest ever” cyber espionage operations

 

A new report authored by a consortium of government and private organizations in Britain has revealed the existence of a computer hacking operation, allegedly based in China, that is said to be “one of the largest ever” such campaigns globally. The operation is believed to have compromised sensitive information from an inestimable number of private companies in Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. The report was produced by a consortium of public and private organizations, including BAE systems and the London-based National Cyber Security Centre, an office of the United Kingdom’s signals intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters. It details the outcome of Operation CLOUD HOPPER, which was launched to uncover the cyber espionage activities. Continue reading

Surprise: At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

 

This story, from the Jan. 12, 2017, edition of the New York Times, was little-remarked upon at the time, but suddenly has taken on far greater significance in light of current events:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people. Continue reading

China Building Missiles to Strike Guam

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Ballistic and cruise missile threat to U.S. island is increasing, congressional commission says

China is building up intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles that pose a growing threat to Guam, the strategic Pacific island that is central to the U.S. military pivot to Asia, according to a congressional report made public Tuesday.

Six different missiles capable of reaching Guam from China are deployed or in late stages of development, says the report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Continue reading

Russia says it uncovered spy satellites disguised as space debris

The station hosted Major General Oleg Maidanovich, of the country’s Aerospace Defense Forces (ADF), in a program entitled “Special Operations in Space”. Maidanovich told the program that specialists in the ADF’s Intelligence Center uncovered “a newly deployed group of space satellites” that were designed to collect signals intelligence (SIGINT) from Russian telecommunications and other electronic systems. However, the satellites had been disguised to appear and behave like “space junk”, he said. By “space junk”, Maidanovich was referring to rocket stages, old and defunct communications satellites, and various other fragments of manmade devices that have ended up in outer space since the 1950s and are endlessly orbiting the Earth. Continue reading

China stole plans for a new fighter plane, spy documents have revealed

German magazine Der Spiegel has published new disclosures of signals intelligence collected by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) and its “Five Eyes” partners, including the Australian Signals Directorate. The intelligence reveals new details of the directorate’s efforts to track and combat Chinese cyber-espionage.

According to a top secret NSA presentation, Chinese cyber spies have stolen huge volumes of sensitive military information, including “many terabytes of data” relating to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) – also known as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Continue reading

China builds listening station in Hong Kong

 

The existence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) communications installation atop Hong Kong’s tallest mountain – the 957 m-high peak of Tai Mo Shan – recently came to light.

Construction began around 2010, with a geodesic dome first appearing in satellite imagery in 2011. The facility has been operational for approximately three years. Continue reading

Russian ‘plans for war on Sweden’ cause concern

Russia has intensified its espionage efforts in Sweden to include war preparations, Swedish security service Säpo warned on Monday.

“The most serious threat we see right now is war preparations,” Säpo chief counter-intelligence analyst Wilhelm Unge said at a press conference on Monday.

While stressing that such preparations did not necessarily mean anything dramatic, he said: “It’s no secret that Russia is engaged in this. It’s a little bit worrying.”

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