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New and Forthcoming Books of the Week
After the Soviet Union proved to the US that it possessed an operational intercontinental ballistic missile with the launch of Sputnik in the October 1957, the world watched anxiously as the two superpowers engaged in a game of nuclear one-upmanship. In the midst of this rising tension, Nicholas Christofilos, an eccentric Greek-American physicist, brought forth an outlandish, albeit ingenious, idea to defend the US from a Soviet attack: launching nuclear warheads to detonate in outer space, creating an artificial radiation belt that would fry incoming Soviet ICBMs. Known as Operation Argus, this plan is the most secret and riskiest scientific experiment in history, and classified details of these nuclear tests have been long obscured.
"With lucid, compelling prose, Mark Wolverton reveals the secret, risky nuclear tests employed by scientists working for the US military during the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s. A gripping chronicle of some of the most potentially dangerous atmospheric tests ever carried out is a must for enthusiasts of military and scientific history."— Paul Halpern, physicist and author of The Quantum Labyrinth
"A gripping and nerdy tale of how a military's fetish for power and technology can wind up threatening the public instead of securing the peace. A timely reminder of the dangers of unchecked adventurism as we enter an age of cyber and social warfare."— R. Scott Kemp, Professor, Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT
Book may be ordered here.
In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington's bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon, and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself.
This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed. It is a story of leaders, liars, counterfeiters, and jailhouse confessors. It also shows just how hard the battle was for George Washington and how close America was to losing the Revolutionary War.
Book may be ordered here.
Two recent novels brought to our attention:
After successfully carrying out a highly tricky mission in Istanbul that serves to sabotage Iran's nuclear ambitions, U.S. Army intelligence operative Paul McGrath, the hero of this superior thriller from Grant, receives a letter from his estranged father two years after it was written, thanks to the inefficient military mail system. McGrath's choice of career alienated his father, a pacifist, but the senior McGrath offers hope for the two of them to reconcile in the letter. When McGrath finally reaches the house in Westchester he grew up in, he's stunned to learn that his father has died, apparently from a heart attack, following a heated argument with his shady business partner, Alex Pardew. The circumstances immediately trigger guilt in McGrath over his refusal to be that partner. Things get worse when the NYPD suspect McGrath of being behind his father's death, leading McGrath to turn investigator. Grant capably combines a riveting plot and depth of character. —Publishers Weekly
In the clandestine world of shadow ops, he's known as a master of surveillance, signals intelligence, and silent killing. Special operative Drake Woolf has been groomed and trained by the old-guard intel community after his CIA father and mother were murdered in Tunisia. Now he works for Task Force Orange, handling cases the government doesn't want its fingerprints on. Woolf can always be relied on to carry out an assignment with surgical precision—make problem people go away, permanently. But his latest mission is different. Woolf knows the targets personally having trained them in Iraq to be effective killing machines. Known as the "Mohawks," these Iraqi rebels know our secrets, our strengths, and our weaknesses. And they're using this knowledge to launch a deadly attack on American soil. Reap what you sow.
Norwegian Spy Service Seeks Right to Break Law During Espionage Operations. Norway's supreme legislature body is considering a bill that would offer immunity from prosecution to intelligence officers and informants who are authorized by the country's spy service to conduct espionage. The bill has been proposed on behalf of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defense, which supervises the operations of the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), Norway's primary intelligence agency. The NIS operates primarily abroad and is the only institution of the Norwegian state that can be authorized by the government to break laws in foreign countries. However, supporters of the new bill point out that NIS overseas operations can also break Norwegian law. That is something that the proposed bill addresses, they argue.
The proposed bill offers immunity from prosecution to NIS case officers and their assets - either informants or foreign spies - who may commit offenses under Norwegian law, as part of authorized espionage operations. In its consultation note that accompanies the proposed bill, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense admits that a number of NIS operations "already violate existing Norwegian laws". That is inevitable, argues the Ministry, because officers and informants who engage in espionage operations will often "act contrary to the stipulations of criminal law [...] as part of their assignments". They may, in other words, "do certain things that would be illegal if they were done not on behalf of the intelligence service", states the consultation note. [Read more: Fitsanakis/IntelNews/21November2018]
UAE Pardons, Releases British Academic Convicted of Spying. The United Arab Emirates said Monday it pardoned and released a British academic sentenced to life in prison on spying charges, ending a diplomatic dispute with its longtime Western ally while still alleging the researcher spied for MI6.
Matthew Hedges' monthslong detention and sentencing last week came as relations between Britain and its onetime protectorate have been strained since the 2011 Arab Spring, the tension only worsening with the UAE's military campaign in Yemen and its boycott of Qatar. Tens of thousands of British expatriates nevertheless fill lucrative jobs across the sheikhdoms of the UAE and more visit as tourists.
Emirati officials insisted they had developed a strong case against Hedges. At a meeting of journalists hastily convened in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, officials showed short video clips of Hedges purportedly acknowledging his intelligence work. [Read more: Gambrell/AP/26November2018]
French Senate Official Spied for North Korea, Intelligence Service Says. A senior civil servant working for the French Senate has been arrested on suspicion of spying for North Korea.
The Associated Press cited an anonymous judicial official who said the employee was arrested on Sunday based on information gleaned from an investigation opened last March.
The source said the probe related to "collecting and delivering information to a foreign power susceptible to harming fundamental interests of the nation." The investigation is being led by France's domestic intelligence agency, the General Directorate for Internal Security.
The civil servant was named by a security official as Benoit Quennedey. The source confirmed he was suspected of working for North Korea. [Read more: Brennan/Newsweek/27November2018]
MI6 Battling to Stop Donald Trump Releasing Classified Russia Probe Documents. MI6 chiefs are secretly battling Donald Trump to stop him publishing classified information linked to the Russian election meddling investigation.
The UK is warning that the US president would undermine intelligence gathering if he releases pages of an FBI application to wiretap one of his former campaign advisers.
However Trump allies are fighting back, demanding transparency and asking why Britain would oppose the move unless it had something to hide.
It forces the spotlight on whether the UK played a role in the FBI's investigation launched before the 2016 presidential election into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin. [Read more: Riley-Smith/TheTelegraph/21November2018]
Ex-C.I.A. Officer's Brief Detention Deepens Mystery in Montenegro. When a former C.I.A. officer was detained overseas recently, Montenegrin officials thought the answer to a question that their country has been obsessed with for two years might be within reach: How did Russia try to topple Montenegro's government?
On the eve of a parliamentary vote in 2016 viewed as a referendum on membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Montenegrin police broke up what they claimed was a Russian-backed coup. The investigation and court proceedings over the ensuing two years have riveted the country, including the sensational, and head-scratching, allegation that the coup backers recruited a former C.I.A. officer to help ferry its plotters out of Montenegro.
The former officer, Joseph Assad, insisted it was all a huge mistake. He denied knowing of any Russian involvement in Montenegro and said he was only advising a friend hired as the opposition's campaign adviser.
The Montenegrin controversy is a prime example of the sort of mistrust, suspicion and, sometimes, paranoia, that has arisen in the wake of Russia's campaigns to meddle in European and American elections. [Read more: Barnes/NYTimes/23November2018]
The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC) issues information bulletins and studies about terrorist organizations. Its research fields include Palestinian terrorist organizations, Lebanese terrorist organizations, and organizations affiliated with global jihad. The ITIC researchers monitor the various aspects of the activities of the terrorist organizations in the Middle East and elsewhere, countries sponsoring terrorism, terrorist attacks, terrorist infrastructure, weapons, funding terrorist organizations, terrorist organizations' media outlets and more.
The ITIC issues basic studies and periodic bulletins dealing with the structure of the terrorist organizations, their weapons, the activities of terrorist organizations, countries sponsoring terrorist organizations, the worldwide expansion of global jihad organizations, the Palestinian Authority and its policies toward terrorism, the funding of terrorist organizations, foiling terrorist attacks and more.
The Institute for the Research of Intelligence and Policy operating as part of the ITIC is engaged in research on intelligence issues. Its main topics are the methodology of intelligence, intelligence and decision making, and the heritage of the Israeli intelligence community. The institute publishes periodic articles and in-depth studies. It issues a semi-annual professional bulletin on various methodological issues of interest to intelligence researchers in Israel and abroad. In addition, the institute conducts workshops and seminars on intelligence issues, and holds an annual international conference. [Read more: ITIC/25November2018]
How the CIA Helped Prevent the Next 9/11 - And Why You Can't Bring Liquids Onto Planes. Airline travel is a nightmare these days - especially over the holidays - thanks in no small part to the TSA's exhaustive security measures. And, while most American travelers know why they're forced to remove their shoes prior to boarding (f*ck you, Richard Reid), far fewer are aware of the reason they're allowed only 3.4 ounces of liquid per passenger, and must thereby purchase extortionate six-dollar bottles of water.
It's all due to a complex terrorist mission known as the 2006 Transatlantic Liquid Bomb Plot.
The new docuseries Terrorism Close Calls, now streaming on Netflix, chronicles some of the biggest attempted terrorist attacks that were foiled just under the wire. Its fifth episode is dedicated to the Transatlantic Liquid Bomb Plot, wherein two dozen terrorists planned to smuggle plastic bottles filled with liquid explosives (and other devices) onto seven commercial airliners departing from London's Heathrow Airport and traveling to North America, assemble the bombs onboard, and detonate them over the Atlantic Ocean.
"The British cell was planning to smuggle those liquid bombs onto planes and blow up seven airliners heading to North America, with at least 1,500 people onboard. That would have made it the biggest loss of life since 9/11," Mark Kelton, former CIA chief of European operations, tells The Daily Beast. "And if the bombs had gone off over a populated area, the casualties would have gone up exponentially." [Read more: Stern/TheDailyBeast/24November2018]
How this Civil War Spy Became a Legendary Lawman in the Wild West. Pop culture always tells the stories of the outlaws of the Wild West. Lying, cheating, drinking, robbing banks, holding up train cars, getting into shootouts at high noon - these are all objectively cool things that make for great tales, but they're often overplayed for the sake of storytelling.
In reality, the Wild West was much tamer than most storytellers make it out to be. You were much more likely to die of some mundane and awful illness, like dysentery, than be gunned down in the streets as part of a duel. This is because the lawmen of the time were experts at what they did. And that's all thanks to one former spy: Allan Pinkerton.
Allan Pinkerton first got into detective work before the Civil War. He was living in Chicago when he developed a grudge with the Banditti of the Prairie Gang. They suspected his home was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, so they sacked it. In response, Pinkerton trailed the Banditti of the Prairie Gang, infiltrated their hideout, and observed their activities. He compiled a detailed report, handed it over to the Chicago Police Department, and they successfully took down the gang.
For his actions, he was given the title of Detective and went on to found the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. His first jobs mostly consisted of protecting abolitionist meetings, aiding John Brown during his raid of Harpers Ferry, and investigating a series of train robberies on the Illinois Central Railroad. His contact for the railroad gig was the company's lawyer, a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln. [Read more: Milzarski/WATM/26November2018]
'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' is the Most Realistic Spy Movie, According to Two Real Spies. To help get the word out about the impending Mission: Impossible - Fallout home video release, I had a chance to visit the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C., and speak with real-life former spies. Peter Earnest, a 35 year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Jonna Mendez, a former Chief of Disguise in the CIA's Office of Technical Service, spoke with me about their careers in the spy trade, how they got into their line of work, and more.
But seeing as we care most about movies around here at /Film, I had to ask these real-life secret agents: what would an actual spy consider to be the most accurate spy movie? The answer probably isn't too surprising: Tomas Alfredson's 2011 slow-burner Tinker Tailor Solider Spy.
Peter Earnest served 25 years as a case officer in the CIA's Clandestine Service, running a wide range of "intelligence collection and covert action operations including counterintelligence and double agent operations working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and military intelligence." Jonna Mendez is known as a master of disguise, having served as the CIA's Chief of Disguise, as well as a specialist in clandestine photography. The pair sat down with me at the International Spy Museum last weekend, at which point I popped a question I was dying to know the answer to: which spy movie is the most accurate? The most authentic? The one that even real-life spies like? [Read more: Evangelista/slashfilm/21November2018]
The Spy Who Really DID Come In From The Cold: How a KGB Superspy Was 'Turned' to Become MI6's Best Cold War Agent and Gave the West a Vital Advantage over the Kremlin. One of the must-reads of 2018 is best-selling author Ben Macintyre's gripping account of how Oleg Gordievsky, a senior KGB officer, switched his loyalty from Moscow to the West and took on the dangerous role of a double agent - the most successful of all in recent times.
In its cliff-hanging drama and intrigue, it has all the hallmarks of a le Carre thriller - but with the added twist that the events it describes were not fiction. Gordievsky really is the spy who came in from the cold. In this first extract from The Spy And The Traitor, MI6 uses all its cunning to lure him into its net, then foolishly nearly lets him slip away...[Read more: MacIntyre/DailyMail/23November2018]
Meet Richard Komlan Folly, the Founder of African Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (AGIA) based in Togo. Richard Komlan Folly is a Data Scientist focused on Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS). He founded the African Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (AGIA) an aerospace research and development company focused on developing geospatial and space technologies for meeting the SDGs in Africa.
Tech enthusiast and entrepreneur, Komlan was on free consultancy as Technology Trainer for the U.S. Embassy in Togo training young girls on computer programming and journalists on data journalism. He was GIS and Communications Consultant at the Ministry of Posts and Digital Economy of the Togolese Government. He worked up the career ladder to become a consultant on an Early Warning System (EWS) development for hydrological, rainfall and climatological data collection and analysis, an Automated SMS System that can feed crowd-sourced flood data into a self-learning, algorithmically-based forecast model (FUNES), for the Togolese Red Cross in collaboration with the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) of the World Bank and experts from the Red Cross & Red Crescent Climate Centre. Following his passion for STEAM, knowledge and experience sharing, Komlan devoted part of his time to continuously train hundreds of students on planetary sciences and geospatial technology, inspiring young people across the whole country, as he is part of the managing team of MoLab - a mobile science and technology laboratory project developed by the U.S. Embassy in Togo. [Read more: Ibeh/AfricaNews/27November2018]
Why Americans Should Care About Mueller's Counterintelligence Probe - Aside from any Criminal or Political Implications. The primary mandate of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is to determine if there are "any links between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump." That specific task has nothing directly to do with criminal liability for any Americans or Russians, nor anything to do with the potential political implications for the President whether in the form of an impeachment report or something else. The primary mandate of the Special Counsel is, instead, a counterintelligence investigation. With all the media focus on potential criminal and political implications, we often forget this critically important, core mission for Mueller. We should concentrate far more on that dimension - the counterintelligence effort - as the country prepares for the release of the Special Counsel's report.
Mueller's counterintelligence effort can answer nationally important questions like: Why were the Russians so successful in impacting the 2016 presidential election? For the last year and half, the Special Counsel has undertaken a broad scoped investigation into allegations regarding "collusion" on the part of then candidate Donald Trump's campaign and matters that arise from that investigation. While the political and criminal investigative efforts make for great media, the critically important counterintelligence part of the Special Counsel's investigation is being undertaken much more discretely. Of course, the Special Counsel is looking to determine if criminal wrongdoing happened, but he will be working to identify and understand the more complex intentions and actions undertaken at the direction or, at the least, with the concurrence of one of America's most significant adversaries, the Russian government.
We are all hopeful that the counterintelligence investigation will not only identify the actions undertake by the Russians but why they were so successful. [Read more: Douglas/JustSecurity/26November2018]
Prosecuting Assange is Essential for Restoring Our National Security. Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Julian Assange or Wikileaks. My disdain for started long before both apparently acted as digital mouthpiece for Russian intelligence by releasing hacked emails. It began with the actions of Chelsea Manning, and hit a crescendo with Edward Snowden. Assange and Wikileaks are responsible for creating a class of leakers motivated by ego, who justify their betrayal of our national security by claiming that their moral code trumps the actual code governing the release of classified information.
Like many current and former members of the intelligence community, I've been frustrated by the unwillingness of our government to act against Assange and Wikileaks. Up to now, they have been allowed to occupy a grey area that affords them some pseudo status as journalist and news outlet, stymieing any interest in holding them to account. But with the news that the Department of Justice has apparently filed criminal charges against Julian Assange, I am hopeful that perhaps we may be turning the page on this story, and once again defending our national security.
Secrecy is a necessary component of national security, and keeping secrets secret is an oath anyone who has worked in intelligence understands. It is not just something that we agree to because we are legally required to do so, rather, it is because we understand that the release of any information may have an impact on our national security. [Read more: Jamali/Newsweek/24November2018]
Peter Feely Bell, 92, a CIA EA/China Operations Officer, died 4 November 2018 in Fairfax, VA.
Stanley B. Disson, 90, an Engineer, Inventor, and Commercial Cryptographic Specialist aiding NSA, died 16 August 2018. He lived nearly all of his adult life in the Broomall / Valley Forge area of Pensylvania before moving to Fairfax, Virginia in 2018.
Melissa Drisko, Naval Intelligence Officer, Deputy Director/DIA
Harry A. Jacobs, 94, died 23 November 2018 in Chevy Chase, MD.
Phillip Leyva, 46, a Young Intelligence Officer Whose Career Was Cut Short, died of cancer on 23 November 2018 at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, VA.
Igor Korobov, Head of Russia's
GRU Spy Agency, Dies at 62. Igor Korobov, head
of the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, which has been
accused of meddling in U.S. elections, has died in Moscow. He was
LOCATION: Society of Illustrators building: 128 East 63rd Street Between Lexington Ave and Park Ave in Manhattan.
TIME: Meeting starts 6:00 PM. Registration starts 5:30 PM
COST: $50/person. Cash or check payable at the door only.
REGISTRATION: Strongly recommended, not required. Phone Jerry Goodwin 1-646-717-3776 or Email email@example.com
Speaker: Dr. William H. Overholt, President of
Fung Global Institute; Senior Research Fellow at John F. Kennedy
School of Government at Harvard University and Principal of
AsiaStrat, LLC., discusses "China's Crisis of Success."
In a change of pace from our more typical subject matter, we are most fortunate to have as our speaker Mr. Larry Kraus, who is the Director, Intelligence-Led Policing Section of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Intelligence-led policing is a new paradigm in law enforcement, sharing a number of traits common to operations in the Intelligence Community. Criminal intelligence flows up to decision-makers at the executive level, who set priorities for enforcement and prevention, and then passes these priorities back down to lower levels of the organization for operational tasking.
Fee: luncheon fee is $20 paid by check or cash at the door. Luncheon reservations and arrangements for base access for those without military ID must be made by Tuesday, 4 December by contacting Chapter Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is that time again and the holidays are upon us. We are
pleased to announce this year's holiday party. Please join the
chapter for an evening of good food, camaraderie, and a very
special guest speaker.
Fee: $30 per person. Guests are welcome.
For your calendar. A special evening to illuminate the critical role of individuals and organizations serving the Intelligence Community, and to raise funds in support of the International Spy Museum.
The William H. Webster Distinguished Service Award Dinner will
take place at The Ritz Carlton Hotel. More than 600 attendees are
anticipated and will recognize the men and women who have served
in the field of National Security with integrity and distinction.
This annual tribute dinner is given by the International Spy
Museum to an individual who has embodied the values of Judge
William H. Webster. This year's honoree is a patriot
for whom love of country has been his guiding principle: Admiral William H. McRaven, former US Special
Operations Commander, former Joint Special Operations Commander,
and Chancellor of The University of Texas System.
Wednesday, 28 November 2018, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. - Washington, DC - Trouble in the Kingdom: An Appraisal of the US-Saudi Relationship with Brian Weidner and Michael Doran at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security
Trouble in the Kingdom: An Appraisal of the US-Saudi
Relationship with Brian Weidner and Michael
RSVP Required; Daniel Morgan Graduate reserves the right to
refuse entry and may ask for government issued identification.
30 November 2018, 8 am - 5:15 pm - Austin, TX - Texas
National Security Forum, "The Return of Great Power
Of interest to AFIO Members:
SESSION III. A Special Conversation on Global Threats...see agenda here.
Location: Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, The University of Texas at
All Quiet on the Eastern Front: War in Ukraine from 2015 to
2018 is the presentation at Daniel Morgan GS by Tomasz
Event Details: When: Friday December 7, 2018 11:00 am - 12:00 pm; Where: 1620 L St NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20036; Cost: Free
RSVP is required and guests must check in prior to entering the
event. DMGS Reserves the Right to Refuse entry and May Ask for
Government Issued Identification.
Qs?: Direct Qs to Frank Fletcher, Director of Lectures & Seminars, at email@example.com.
Dr. Tawfik Hamid is a thinker and reformer who was at one time an Islamic extremist. While still in medical school, he was recruited as a member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, the most violent Jihadi group in Egypt. There he became acquainted with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaheri, who later served as second in command to Osama bin Laden. Zawaheri is now the leader of Al-Qaeda. After being radicalized Dr. Hamid experienced an awakening of conscience, recognized the threat of Radical Islam, and started to teach modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts.
Reception starts at 7 p.m. Hamid speaks 7:30 - 8:45 p.m.
The Westminster Institute, 6729 Curran Street, McLean, VA 22101
The PENFED Foundation hosts their annual "Night of Heroes Gala" at the Mandarin Oriental, Washington, DC. Hold the date. Details to follow.
Gift Suggestions:AFIO's 788-page Guide to the Study of Intelligence. Peter C. Oleson, Editor, also makes a good gift. View authors and table of contents here.
Perfect for professors, students, those considering careers in intelligence, and current/former officers seeking to see what changes are taking place across a wide spectrum of intelligence disciplines. AFIO's Guide to the Study of Intelligence helps instructors teach about the large variety of subjects that make up the field of intelligence. This includes secondary school teachers of American History, Civics, or current events and undergraduate and graduate professors of History, Political Science, International Relations, Security Studies, and related topics, especially those with no or limited professional experience in the field. Even those who are former practitioners are likely to have only a limited knowledge of the very broad field of intelligence, as most spend their careers in one or two agencies at most and may have focused only on collection or analysis of intelligence or support to those activities.
For a printed, bound copy, it is $95 which includes Fedex shipping to a CONUS (US-based) address.
To order for shipment to a US-based CONUS address, use this online form,
To order multiple copies or for purchases going to AK, HI, other US territories, or other countries call our office at 703-790-0320 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to hear of shipment fees.
Order the Guide from the AFIO's store at this link.The Guide is also available directly from Amazon at this link.
These 2017 mousepads have full color seals of all 18 members of the US Intelligence Community on this 8" round, slick surface, nonskid, rubber-backed mouse pad with a darker navy background, brighter, updated seals. Also used, by some, as swanky coasters. Price still only $20.00 for 2 pads [includes shipping to US address. Foreign shipments - we will contact you with quote.] Order MOUSEPADS here.
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