Tag Archives | Espionage

CIA Declassifies Cold War Spy Satellite Rescue Photos

WIRED has unveiled a collection of previously classified photographs of a CIA mission to retrieve a fallen satellite 16,000 feet beneath the Pacific ocean:

Only July 10, 1971, America’s newest photo reconnaissance satellite, the KH-9 Hexagon, dropped a capsule loaded with film toward the Earth. The re-entry vehicle was supposed to open its parachute; an American aircraft would snatch it out of the sky in mid-descent. But the chute was never unfurled. The re-entry vehicle hit the Pacific Ocean with a force of approximately 2,600 G’s. And then it sunk down into the deep, before settling at 16,000 feet.

Check out the entire gallery at WIRED, and when you’re done there, browse through declassified documentation at the CIA Reading Room.

 

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Russian Spy Ring In The United States Was Grooming Children To Be Spies

Regarding the next generation of spy kids, the Wall Street Journal writes:

A Russian spy ring busted in the U.S. two years ago planned to recruit members’ children to become agents, and one had already agreed to his parents’ request, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The effort to bring children into the family business suggests the ring was thinking long term: Children born or reared in America were potentially more valuable espionage assets than their parents because when they grew up they would be more likely to pass a U.S. government background check.

Tim Foley was among the children most extensively groomed for a future spy career, officials say. Though he wasn’t American-born, his parents lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, under the assumed names Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley. Mr. Foley was 20 when his parents were arrested and had just finished his sophomore year at George Washington University in the nation’s capital.

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A Most Undependable Weapon: Double Agents

Photo credit 'Vlastimil'

Via The Daily Beast:

Read a history of double agents during wartime:

The double agent remains the most prized, the most feared, and the most unreliable weapon in the espionage armory. Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist, stressed the supreme importance of having a spy within the enemy’s spy camp; double agents plied their shadowy trade to remarkable effect during the intelligence duels of the First and Second World Wars, and the Cold War. And double agents continue to play a vital part in the modern intelligence battle that underpins the War on Terror.

Continue at The Daily Beast.

 

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Alabama Gas Station Owner, Others, Targeted by Government Spy-Tech

Photo courtesy Bahrain in Pictures

From Slate:

A number of people around the world with ties to Bahraini pro-democracy movements have discovered that their computers were infected with a sophisticated trojan virus created by Gamma, a government contractor based in the UK. The program was collecting its victims’ personal data and dumping it to a government office in Manama, Bahrain’s capitol. Among those targeted by the program was Husain Abdulla, the owner of several gas stations in Mobile, AL and the director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.

This isn’t the first time that Gamma has found itself associated with repressive government regimes:

Gamma first garnered attention last year when, amid uprising in Cairo, Egyptian activists raided state security offices and found documents revealing the company had in 2010 offered Hosni Mubarak’s regime spy technology named FinFisher. Gamma said in a statement at the time that it had not sold its technology to Egypt.

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Yasser Arafat Likely Was Assassinated By Radioactive Poisoning

A Swiss laboratory says that at the time of his 2004 death, the Palestinian leader’s body contained high levels of polonium, the radioactive element which killed Russian spy-turned-dissident Alexander Litvinenko after it was slipped into his tea at a London restaurant in 2006. Via Al Jazeera:

Eight years after his death, it remains a mystery exactly what killed the longtime Palestinian leader. Tests conducted in Paris found no obvious traces of poison in Arafat’s system. Rumors abound about what might have killed him – cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, even allegations that he was infected with HIV.

A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera has revealed that none of those rumors were true: Arafat was in good health until he suddenly fell ill on October 12, 2004.

More importantly, tests [at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland] reveal that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, his iconic kaffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.

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Earliest Painting of Transvestite Uncovered in British Gallery

Chevalier D'EonJeanna Bryner writes on LiveScience:
An 18th-century portrait sold in New York to a British gallery as a "woman in a feathered hat" turns out to actually portray a man dressed as a woman, becoming the earliest known painting of a transvestite. The transvestite painting, now called the "Chevalier D'Eon," is currently hanging in the Philip Mould Ltd. gallery in London and will possibly become a permanent feature in the British National Portraits Gallery, said art dealer and art historian Philip Mould, director of Philip Mould Ltd. "We spent 30 years honing our skills at looking at British portraits, and you begin to spot anomalies," Mould told LiveScience. "Portraiture, despite the diversity of odd-looking people in the world, particularly in the 19th century, before advances in cosmetic science and dentistry and medical advances had taken place, but portraiture is always extremely straight-laced."
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WikiLeaks Accuses Swedish Foreign Minister Of Being U.S. Spy

4034569140_cfcd205886WikiLeaks takes on Sweden’s elite? Russia Today writes:

The world famous whistleblowing group WikiLeaks claims it has documents exposing Sweden’s FM Carl Bildt as an American spy and is promising to publish them soon. The documents prove that Bildt has been a US informer since 1973 and that he collaborated with the US government in ways that contradict Swedish law, the Swedish tabloid Expressen reports.

It also reports that publication of the materials will inevitably lead to the resignation of the foreign minister and the end of his political career. The Swedish Foreign Ministry said that it first needs to see the documents before issuing any comments on the case.

Some say that WikiLeaks threats to Swedish officials are directly connected to the case of the website’s founder, Julian Assange, who is wanted in Sweden over rape and sexual assault allegations. Assange is currently in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden. His supporters say that if he is sent to Sweden he will then be extradited to the US.

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America’s Bad Girlfriend: Mossad Agents Impersonate CIA To Foment Trouble In Iran

Mossad_sealAnother sad one. I think everybody’s had a Crazy Girlfriend at some time in their youth. It’s all thrills and drama before you’re mature enough to realize that the untraceable charges for men’s clothing on your cedit card and cryptic messages on your answering machine are signs of a deep, deep feeback loop of Daddy Problems, self-loathing and manipulation. Unwitingly you’ve signed yourselves up to play the roles of abuse victim/avenger and rescuer/cuckold.

Few of us have had totally ideal childhoods, but self-aware people usually get past this stuff by the time they’ve graduated college. The scipts get more and more alike and the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in.

If you’re altruistic types you’ll try to talk through the whole thing rationally before retreating to your separate corners in order to get your heads together. Ideally you’ll be able to part on friendly terms, but more often there are some undignified scenes ahead, complete with gouged eye sockets and your shame forever documented in a police report.… Read the rest

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Allies Planned To Slip Hitler Female Sex Hormones

hitlerwomanThe British plotted to lace Hitler’s food with estrogen so as to turn him “feminine” or into a mustached transsexual or something. Because that would bring about peace. Lesson being, if it hadn’t ended when it did, World War II would have grown continually stranger and stranger. The Telegraph writes:

Some tried bombs to neutralize the Führer, others tried bullets. Now it has come to light that British spies looked at derailing the man behind the German war machine by giving him female sex hormones.

Agents planned to smuggle doses of oestrogen into his food to make him less aggressive and more like his docile younger sister Paula, who worked as a secretary.

Spies working for the British were close enough to Hitler to have access to his food, said Professor Brian Ford, who discovered the plot. He explained that oestrogen was chosen because it was tasteless and would have a slow and subtle effect, meaning it would pass Hitler’s food testers unnoticed.

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