Tag Archives | spies

How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations

Glenn Greenwald writes at the Intercept:

One of the many pressing stories that remains to be told from the Snowden archive is how western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction. It’s time to tell a chunk of that story, complete with the relevant documents.

Over the last several weeks, I worked with NBC News to publish a series of articles about “dirty trick” tactics used by GCHQ’s previously secret unit, JTRIG (Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group). These were based on four classified GCHQ documents presented to the NSA and the other three partners in the English-speaking “Five Eyes” alliance. Today, we at the Intercept are publishing another new JTRIG document, in full, entitled “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

By publishing these stories one by one, our NBC reporting highlighted some of the key, discrete revelations: the monitoring of YouTube and Blogger, the targeting of Anonymous with the very same DDoS attacks they accuse “hacktivists” of using, the use of “honey traps” (luring people into compromising situations using sex) and destructive viruses.

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WikiLeaks Publishes CIA Tips for Traveling Spies

CIAJust in time for spies traveling home for the holidays Yahoo News/AFP reports on a new disclosure from WikiLeaks showing how CIA does it:

WikiLeaks on Sunday released two CIA documents that offered tips to help spies maintain their cover while using false documents as they crossed international borders.

The two documents, dating from 2011 and 2012, are marked classified and “NOFORN,” which means they were not meant to be shared with allied intelligence agencies, WikiLeaks said.

The documents outline a number of strategies for agents to avoid secondary screening at airports and borders.

Some are obvious: don’t buy a one-way ticket with cash the day before flying. Others perhaps less so: don’t look scruffy while traveling on a diplomatic passport.

“In one incident during transit of a European airport in the early morning, security officials selected a CIA officer for secondary screening,” one of the documents reads.

“Although the officials gave no reason, overly casual dress inconsistent with being a diplomatic-passport holder may have prompted the referral.”…

[continues at Yahoo News/AFP]

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The Cambridge Spies

During the Cold War, four affluent men, and at least a possible other (John Cairncross) were recruited by the KGB. They spied for decades and none were caught. One, a cousin of the queen was suspected and interrogated, but treated with kid gloves. Later known as the Cambridge Five. Here is their tale.

English: A USSR stamp, Soviet spies: Kim Philb...

A USSR stamp, Soviet spies: Kim Philby, 1990. Русский: Марка СССР из выпуска «Советские разведчики»: Ким Филби (1990, Рис. Б. Илюхина, ЦФА №6266). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Crime Library

The dark, windowless room in KGB Headquarters held nothing more than a chair, rows and rows of file cabinets, and a long table. If the room had had a window, in the near distance the walls of the Kremlin could have been seen, ablaze with lights. The newly appointed officer sat at the table while a filing clerk piled file upon file upon it. As he went through the dossiers, the KGB official was astonished.

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Chinese Spy Busted Stealing Iowa Corn Seeds

roflbot(5)A couple of weeks ago we a had a virtual currency heist, now we’ve got Chinese biotech espionage in the middle of Iowa. Man, this world gets a little more cyberpunk with every passing day. I wonder if Google Glass comes in a mirrorshade edition?

Newser:

Federal agents caught an alleged Chinese spy last week trying to smuggle highly valuable “inbred” cord seeds out of the country, prosecutors say. Mo Hailong is accused of stealing the seeds from fields in Illinois and Iowa and trying to evade FBI agents after dropping off seeds at a rented storage facility, reports the Des Moines Register. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $5 million fine for stealing trade secrets worth up to $40 million. What’s the big deal? Inbred seeds possess certain special qualities, like resistance to droughts or pests, reports the Smithsonian.

“It’s really the foundation for Iowa agriculture, so it’s really something that we need to protect,” says an Iowa professor.

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Former NSA Chief on Spy Program: It’s Real, and It’s Spectacular

o-NSA-PHONE-RECORD-COLLECTION-facebookJust in case the cognitive dissonance wasn’t already large enough on the story-and-counterstory around programs such as XKEYSCORE and PRISM, formed NSA head Michael Hayden jumps into the ring:

Last week, the Guardian published a series of leaked documents revealing new details about an NSA surveillance program called XKEYSCORE. The newspaper said that the program enabled the agency to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals,” and secret slides dated 2008 showed how people could be deemed a target for searching the Web for “suspicious stuff” or by using encryption.

Following the disclosures, Hayden appeared on CNN to discuss the agency’s surveillance programs. The general, who directed the NSA from 1999 through 2005, was remarkably candid in his responses to Erin Burnett’s questions about the Guardian’s XKEYSCORE report. Was there any truth to claims that the NSA is sifting through millions of browsing histories and able to collect virtually everything users do on the Internet?

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‘The Bond Code’ Author Philip Gardiner on James Bond, Aleister Crowley and Enochian Magick

The interview with Phillip Gardiner begins ≈ 38:57

via Coast to Coast AM

Author Philip Gardiner joined George Knapp to discuss the life of James Bond author Ian Fleming and his associations with the world of the occult which led him to create a series of clues, ciphers and codes within his novels.

Early in his life, Fleming became fascinated by the just-emerging study of psychology, which relied heavily on the occult, according to Gardiner. This interest, coupled with Fleming’s time as a spy during World War II, became the basis for the James Bond universe.

Gardiner cited a number of esoteric references in the James Bond stories, notably the “007” name being taken from the 16th century English spy John Dee, who used it as a signature in his letters to Queen Elizabeth. She, in turn, signed her responses with the letter “M,” which Fleming used as the name of the fictional head of the MI6 spy agency.

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Uri Geller’s Life As A Psychic Spy For The CIA And Mossad Revealed

uri geller

Did you know there was a Cold War “psychic arms race”? Geoffrey Macnab writes in the Independent:

Showbiz psychic Uri Geller has seemingly had a lengthy second career as a secret agent for Mossad and the CIA. Geller was at the Sheffield Doc Fest this week for the premiere of Vikram Jayanti’s The Secret Life Of Uri Geller – Psychic Spy?, a new film that offers compelling evidence of his involvement in the shadowy world of espionage.

In interview, Geller remains coy about his espionage activities. Nonetheless, the psychic acknowledges that his handlers once asked him to use telepathy to stop a pig’s heart. He refused, knowing that if he had succeeded, the next target would almost certainly have been a human. “I tried to execute missions that were positive,” Geller claims. “I said ‘no’ to dark things.”

Jayanti spoke to the high-level officials involved in recruiting and using Geller.

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Shell, Nestle, Monsanto and McDonald’s Have Biggest Private Spy Outfits

Just as governments spy on activists, so do corporations. In an interview, investigative reporter Eveline Lubbers is asked which corporations have the most extensive intelligence-gathering operations. The answer (maybe) via Parapolitical.com: Royal Dutch Shell, Nestle, Monsanto and McDonald’s.

Are these corporations the worst offenders in general? That is a difficult question, and I have no answer to it in terms of straight figures and statistics. Since most of  these manoeuvres are secret, they remain in the dark (no pun intended). You don’t know what you don’t see.

What I can say from the case studies that I worked on, and from the stories that have come to light in the past few years in the UK and the US, is this. We are not looking at isolated cases, what has come to the surface is more like the tip of the iceberg. I have identified patterns in how police and corporations deal with resistance, with criticism, with campaigners, and how they join forces.

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Sudan Claims it Captured Israeli ‘Spy Vulture’

Picture: Tony Hisgett (CC)

From Predator Drones to Scavenger Birds: Could Israel be using vulture intelligence agents?

Via YNET:

Sudanese media was a buzz Thursday, with news saying that Darfur authorities had captured a vulture carrying Israeli spy gear.

The suspect bird was found to be tagged with an Israeli GPS chip and a leg band labeled “Israel Nature Service” and “Hebrew University, Jerusalem.”

Khartoum’s media claimed that the device was capable of taking photos and sending them back to Israel; but Israel’s National Parks Service dismissed the allegation, saying that both the band and the GPS chip were nothing more than standard migration trackers.

Tensions between Israel and Sudan have been high since a mysterious airstrike leveled a major weapons manufacturing compound in Khartoum in October. Sudan blamed Israel for the raid. Jerusalem has remained mum on the subject.

The Opposition in Sudan was quick to mock the “spy bird” find: The country’s Justice and Equality Movement featured the news on its website, asking: “How is it possible that the regime was able to detect one vulture, but was unable to detect the jets that bombed the arms facility?”

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Spy Rock Self-Destructs Outside of Iranian Nuclear Enrichment Plant

Picture FastFission (PD)

Via the Herald Sun: The Iranian press is reporting that a group of Republican Guards on patrol outside of an underground nuclear enrichment plant discovered a “monitoring device” cleverly disguised as a rock. The device self-destructed when the guards attempted to remove it. This is only the latest in a string of incidences involving the use of high-tech devices to monitor, or in some cases sabotage, Iranian nuclear plants.

Last week, the country’s vice president Fereydoun Abbasi said power lines had been blown up near the facility on August 17 in an attempt to sabotage Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear program.

But experts examined the rubble and found a device designed to intercept data from computers at the plant.

The accident signals the loss of an important source of intelligence for the West on Iran’s progress towards making a nuclear bomb.

It is not the first time a fake rock has been used for espionage.

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