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LATEST FROM AFIO
Released exclusively to members 3 October 2023...
Part 2 — The Growing Capability of Foreign Countries to Conduct Large-Scale Espionage within the U.S.
Interview Part 2 held Wednesday, 19 July 2023 of James Bamford, award-winning journalist/author, discussing his latest book, Spyfail: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America's Counterintelligence.
TOPIC: Jim Bamford and John Quattrocki discuss SPYFAIL which, in this second part of the interview series, covers Chinese and some Russian HUMINT, SIGINT, espionage, arrests, convictions, and other covert operations against the U.S. and our allies. Includes review of the expansion of Chinese listening posts in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and now in Cuba.
Spyfail is available here.
This, and upcoming AFIO Now videos in 2023, are sponsored by Northwest Financial Advisors.
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“From IWP with Love”: An Evening of Espionage - Institute of World Politics
Chinese Firm Sold Satellites for Intelligence to Russia's Wagner - The Moscow Times, 05 Oct 23
Russian mercenary group Wagner in 2022 signed a contract with a Chinese firm to acquire two satellites and use their images, aiding its intelligence work as the organization sought to push Russia's invasion of Ukraine, according to a document seen by AFP. The contract was signed in November 2022, over half a year into Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in which the Wagner group under its founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was playing a key role on the battlefield. The satellite images were also used to assist Wagner's operations in Africa and even its failed mutiny in June which has led now to the de facto break up of the group followed by the death of Prigozhin and other key figures in an air crash in August, a European security source told AFP. According to a contract seen by AFP written in English and Russian and signed on Nov. 15, 2022, the company Beijing Yunze Technology Co. Ltd. sold two high-resolution observation satellites belonging to the Chinese space giant Chang Guang Satellite Technology (CGST) to Nika-Frut, a company then part of Prigozhin's commercial empire. (Full article here.)
Spy agency leaders aim to change workforce perceptions about well-being, mental health - Federal News Network, 03 Oct 23
Intelligence community leaders are attempting to change perceptions about IC workforce culture by increasing the focus on employee well-being and overcoming a persistent stigma that prevents many security clearance holders from addressing mental health issues. A white paper released by Leidos in August found that while 92% of clearance applicants are comfortable disclosing their mental health history, 63% are “very or somewhat concerned” about the role that history could play in their investigation. “Despite individuals’ comfort with discussing mental health issues, they largely do not trust the clearance process to treat these issues appropriately,” the white paper states. Officials have made some progress over the past decade in convincing people that it’s highly unlikely a clearance will be denied or revoked due to a psychological issue. Officials point to data that shows a miniscule amount of clearances have been denied or revoked solely due to a person’s psychological issues. (Full article here.)
Russian intelligence seeks recruits among Estonians, services warn - TVP World, 03 Oct 23
Every year, the Russian Embassy in Estonia invites young Estonians to study at universities in Russia for free. The purpose of these invitations is to recruit students for espionage missions on behalf of Moscow, warned the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS). A journalist from Estonian TV ETV, pretending to be interested in studying in Russia, joined a Telegram group advertised on the Russian Embassy’s website called ‘I Study in Russia’. The group has around 300 members, mostly from Estonia. “Interest is still high, and in reality, political topics are not discussed in the group,” the journalist pointed out in a program aired on Tuesday. In September, the ISS advised Estonians not to study in Russia because foreign students were being recruited by Russian intelligence. “In many situations, people contact the police themselves to report that they have been approached and that the contact was suspicious,” said Jurgen Klemm, an analyst at the ISS. (Full article here.)
NSA's new project takes aim at foreign AI hacks - Axios, 03 Oct 23
The National Security Agency is standing up a new AI Security Center that will focus on protecting AI systems from hacks, intellectual property theft and other security threats, Gen. Paul Nakasone, the outgoing head of the agency, said during a National Press Club event last week. The center will consolidate all of the NSA's existing work on security and AI while fostering collaboration with the Defense Department, international partners, academia and the tech industry. Why it matters: The center is attempting to get ahead of what U.S. officials believe will be a swarm of nation-state espionage targeting U.S. AI models and the tools they power. NSA's new center signals the U.S.' heightened fears that foreign adversaries will strengthen their abilities to crack AI operators' systems, manipulate their models or even steal their IP. (Full article here.)
Top-secret national security data behind precedent-setting Canadian spy trial - CTV News, 03 Oct 23
The trial of Cameron Ortis, a former senior RCMP intelligence official, is set to begin on Tuesday. Ortis is accused of passing top-secret national security data to four unnamed persons without authorization. This case will be precedent-setting because Ortis will be the first Canadian to undergo a trial for charges under the Security of Information Act. Before he was arrested in September 2019, Ortis was the director general of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Co-ordination Centre. In that position, he was bound to secrecy and had access to top-secret information from both domestic and international partners. The allegations against Ortis date back to 2015. “This is a first for Canada,” says Dan Stanton, a former executive manager at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Canada’s national spy agency. “There will be a lot of interest in how Canada prosecutes…the unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” Stanton said. (Full article here.)
NGA Eyes Generative AI for Cybersecurity Data Management Support - Potomac Officers Club, 04 Oct 23
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency plans to use generative artificial intelligence to support cybersecurity-related data management. Speaking at an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event on Sept. 28, NGA Chief Information Officer Gary Buchanan, the large amounts of cyber data the agency receives is overwhelming employees, adding that the NGA’s Cybersecurity Operations Center receives up to 20 terabytes of data daily. Buchanan also noted that the cyber center processes information from 126 data sources and four separate networks. The CIO said AI and machine learning will be an integral part of the agency, which he anticipates will have to deal with petabytes of data moving forward, Defense One reported. (Full article here.)
Public Records Reveal Russia’s Secret Military, Intelligence Sites – Dossier Center - Moscow Times, 04 Oct 23
Publicly available records have revealed the hidden locations of Russia’s military and intelligence agencies across the country, the independent investigative outlet Dossier Center reported. According to Russian law, it is illegal to share any information about military, intelligence and other areas where public disclosure could harm national security. But Dossier said it had found properties linked to the Russian Defense Ministry, Federal Security Security (FSB), Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and other high-security sites posted online by the authorities as part of lists of energy consumers whose power supplies cannot be cut. The lists are found alongside non-secret energy consumers like medical, government, transportation and police facilities, Dossier said. (Full article here.)
MSU researchers are working with U.S. intelligence agencies on long-range identification technology - Michingan Live, 03 Oct 23
The technical problem Xiaoming Liu is wrestling with lately is how to build a software algorithm capable of identifying someone from 1,000 meters away. That’s roughly 11 football fields, more than half a mile, the distance from the Spartan Statue to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum on the other side of campus. Such a system would be similar in basic ways to the fingerprint scanners on mobile phones or the facial recognition systems in use at many airports. (Full article here.)
India's spies infiltrated West long before Canada's murder claim - Reuters, 04 Oct 23
India's external intelligence service is a feared foe in its neighborhood: Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal have all accused it of political meddling and involvement with outlawed groups that have perpetrated acts of violence. Now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegation last month that Indian government agents were involved in the June killing of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in a Vancouver suburb has thrust Delhi's secretive Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) into the global spotlight. India angrily denied the allegations and demanded that Canada - which expelled RAW's station chief - furnish evidence. Ottawa said it shared proof with allies, but will not release it publicly. Reuters spoke to four retired and two serving Indian security and intelligence officials familiar with RAW who said the agency was galvanized to play a more assertive international role after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that left 166 people dead. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. (Full article here.)
Ukraine’s Counterintelligence Unearths Extensive Russian Spy Ring - Kyiv Post, 03 Oct 23
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) carried out a special operation in the Mykolaiv region, resulting in the discovery of one of the most significant intelligence networks operated by Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022. The network comprised 13 local residents working for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), according to an SBU press release on Tuesday, Oct. 3. The individuals collected intelligence regarding the positions and movements of Ukraine’s Defense Forces around the southern Mykolaiv region. Subsequently, they provided the Russian Federation with targeting information. The report noted: “It was based on their coordinates that the Russian occupiers targeted a high-rise building in Mykolaiv with an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in the autumn of 2022,” resulting in the tragic loss of seven civilians, including a child. (Full article here.)
Spycast is the official podcast of the International Spy Museum and hosts interviews with intelligence experts on matters of HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT, OSINT, and GEOINT. Spycast is hosted by historian Andrew Hammond, PhD.
03 Oct | “A Crash Course in Israeli Intelligence” – with Erez David Maisel Brig. Gen. (res.) Erez David Maisel joins Andrew Hammond to provide a crash-course in Israeli Intelligence history. Erez is a researcher and former head of the IDF’s International Cooperation Division.
In Other News The proprietary analytic newsletter crafted for The Arkin Group's private clients by former CIA Acting Deputy Director for Operations Jack Devine.
06 Oct | US adversaries use multiple strategies to counter Western influence around the world – some more successful than others- but either way, it’s worth paying attention. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine jolted the established world order and cracked open an opportunity for global realignment. Since the war began, we’ve been watching as nations like China, Russia, and Iran have adopted a variety of approaches to gain allies and influence in regions like Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia. Like the Ukraine-Russia battle itself, these influence efforts adopt both traditional and modern tactics and offer examples of both increased collaboration and animosity. (Full version available to AFIO members in the coming days here.)
Intel Brief The Soufan Center's flagship, daily analytical product focused on complex security issues and geopolitical trends that may shape regional or international affairs. The Soufan Center was founded by former FBI Special Agent and Soufan Group CEO Ali Soufan.
10 Oct | The Fog of War Envelopes Syria
Inside the SCIF - 05 Oct - Kremlin Assassins 2.0, and more...
Target USA Podcast - 04 Oct - Prelude to a Crisis: Series Introduction
The Hunt Broadcast - 04 Oct - Coastal terrorism expansion spreading across Africa’s interior
09 Oct | How Did Hamas Acquire Advanced Rockets? - Jonathan Broder
07 Oct | Shocking Hamas Assault on Israel Echoes 1973 Yom Kippur Intelligence Failure - Jonathan Broder
06 Oct | Interview: David Martin on the Wilderness of Mirrors, and More - Jeff Stein
04 Oct | US Intelligence Surprised by African Coup - Jonathan Broder
To support SpyTalk, subscribe here.
Article: ‘Every single day I am ready to be killed’: The KGB defector who writes about Putin - The Telegraph, 06 Oct 23
Interviewing a KGB defector is complicated in an age when opponents of Vladimir Putin’s regime regularly die in suspicious circumstances both at home and abroad. It is all the more complicated if, like Vladimir Popov, the defector is about to publish a book chronicling the infamous history of the KGB and its present-day successor, the FSB, in detail worthy of a John le Carré novel. He agrees to be interviewed only on condition that I do not identify the Canadian town where he now lives. We meet in a location of his choosing – a friend’s empty office whose address I have received at short notice and that is well away from prying eyes. He will be photographed only against an unidentifiable background. He readily acknowledges that he has checked me out before we meet. Even then he brings his own bottle of water. Had I brought coffee with me, he adds, he would have refused to drink it. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: US expels two Russian embassy officials - Reuters, 06 Oct 23
The United States has expelled two Russian embassy officials after Russia earlier expelled two U.S. diplomats from the American embassy in Moscow, the U.S. State Department said on Friday. "In response to the Russian Federation's specious expulsion of two U.S. Embassy Moscow diplomats, the State Department reciprocated by declaring persona non grata two Russian Embassy officials operating in the United States," a State Department spokesman said. (Read full report here.)
Article: Former Soldier Indicted for Attempting to Pass National Defense Information to People’s Republic of China - Department of Justice, 06 Oct 23
A former U.S. Army Sergeant whose last duty post was Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in western Washington was arrested today on an indictment charging him with two federal felonies: attempt to deliver national defense information and retention of national defense information. Joseph Daniel Schmidt, 29, will appear in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California later today and will be brought to the Western District of Washington for further court proceedings. “Individuals entrusted with national defense information have a continuing duty to protect that information beyond their government service and certainly beyond our borders,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen. “The National Security Division is committed to identifying and holding accountable those who violate that duty.” “Joseph Daniel Schmidt was once a trusted guardian of our nation’s secrets and swore an oath to defend and protect U.S. national security,” said Assistant Director Suzanne Turner of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. “As alleged by the government, Schmidt betrayed his promise and potentially placed our nation at risk in his attempts to pass national defense information to Chinese security services. The FBI and our partners remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the American people and U.S. national security." (Read full report here.)
Article: Furious China believes UK spies tracked one of their submarines by bugging a sailor's Apple smart-watch before the vessel got caught in one of Beijing's own underwater traps, killing all on board - Daily Mail, 06 Oct 23
Paranoid Beijing officials believe UK spies tracked a stricken submarine by bugging a sailor's Apple smart-watch, according to Chinese dissidents. The theory that spooks followed the Type 093 – which become stuck with the loss of 55 lives – has emerged as part of an inquiry into the disaster. The Mail revealed earlier this week how the vessel was lost in the Yellow Sea on August 21st after colliding with a 'chain and anchor' device intended to damage Western submarines. China has denied the incident took place but, privately, British naval intelligence officers are convinced it did. Officially, the UK's Ministry of Defence has declined to comment. Now, dissidents based outside China claim to have obtained copies of the Chinese Communist Party's investigation, including Western interference. (Read full report here.)
Article: US Weaves Web of Intelligence Links in Asia to Counter China - Business Insider, 04 Oct 23
The US is deepening intelligence cooperation with countries across Asia as it looks to counter Beijing’s sophisticated spying apparatus and blunt Chinese cyber attacks. The Biden administration has developed a set of separate but overlapping partnerships in Asia, including an intelligence-sharing arrangement with the “Quad” grouping of the US, India, Japan and Australia, according to US officials who asked not to be identified discussing matters that aren’t public. The web of relationships also includes trilateral partnerships among the US, Japan and South Korea, and one encompassing the US, Japan and the Philippines, the officials said. The push also involves strengthened bilateral sharing of information with Japan, India and Vietnam, according to the officials, who added that a major focus of these relationships is boosting resilience to Chinese offensive operations online. These new and strengthened partnerships, known formally as intelligence liaison relationships, are in part aimed at reducing the growing power of China’s spy apparatus, which a recent UK parliamentary report described as the world’s largest. The administration effort is part of a broader drive to deepen links across the region amid growing alarm at the threat from Beijing. (Read full report here.)
Article: The US warns of a Chinese global disinformation campaign that could undermine peace and stability - Associated Press, 04 Oct 23
For much of the world, China’s Xinjiang region is notorious, a place where ethnic Uyghurs face forced labor and arbitrary detention. But a group of visiting foreign journalists was left with a decidedly different impression. On a tour in late September sponsored by Beijing, the 22 journalists from 17 countries visited bazaars and chatted with residents over dates and watermelon slices. They later told state media they were impressed with the bustling economy, described the region as “full of cultural, religious and ethnic diversity,” and denounced what they said were lies by Western media. The trip is an example of what Washington sees as Beijing’s growing efforts to reshape the global narrative on China. It’s spending billions of dollars annually to do so. (Read full report here.)
Article: High-Level Iranian Spy Ring Busted in Washington - Tablet, 01 Oct 23
The Biden administration’s now-suspended Iran envoy Robert Malley helped to fund, support, and direct an Iranian intelligence operation designed to influence the United States and allied governments, according to a trove of purloined Iranian government emails. The emails, which were reported on by veteran Wall Street Journal correspondent Jay Solomon, writing in Semafor, and by Iran International, the London-based émigré opposition outlet which is the most widely read independent news source inside Iran, were published last week after being extensively verified over a period of several months by the two outlets. They showed that Malley had helped to infiltrate an Iranian agent of influence named Ariane Tabatabai into some of the most sensitive positions in the U.S. government—first at the State Department and now the Pentagon, where she has been serving as chief of staff for the assistant secretary of defense for special operations, Christopher Maier. (Read full report here.)
Article: How Section 702 Surveillance Helps Keep Sensitive U.S. Technologies From China, Russia, Iran and North Korea - Just Security, 30 Sep 23
This year, Congress is debating whether, and with what conditions, to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a provision of law that permits the U.S. Government to collect communications of specific foreign individuals physically located outside the United States. That debate has understandably centered on the important ways in which the government has used information collected thanks to 702 to protect Americans against terrorism, espionage, and cyberattacks, weighed against the privacy implications of the collection program and questions about its oversight. To date, however, one crucial benefit of 702 collection has been overlooked – how 702 information helps prevent sensitive U.S. technology from ending up in the hands of our adversaries abroad, including Russia and the People’s Republic of China. The critical nature of 702 to these defining threats of our era underscores how essential it is that this law be reauthorized before it otherwise lapses in December. (Read full report here.)
Article: Intelligence Ignored by Bob Baker - Special Forces Association, 01 Oct 23
As the Easter Offensive of 1972 was the precursor to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords of 1973, there were two occasions where the United States could and should have moved against North Vietnam earlier but didn’t. The first time occurred prior to the invasion of South Vietnam by the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), which began of March 30, 1972, was when William Stearman, a career Foreign Service member who went over to the National Security Council (NSC), put together a small sub rosa group before the Easter Offensive. This group was composed of NSA, CIA, and DIA members, as well as Dr. Steve Hosmer of RAND and Dr. Stearman. Using Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT)—the Hanoi newspapers—they had they first inkling of what was to be the Easter Offensive in the fall of 1971. They found that North Vietnamese men who were previously exempted (both skilled and physically unfit, Chinese, and Montagnards who didn’t speak Vietnamese) were all being conscripted in North Vietnam, they looked at seasonal weather patterns, and “communications shifts,” all of which brought them to the conclusion that the date of the invasion was to be somewhere around 10 days before it actually occurred, which was March 30th. This analysis was passed to Henry Kissinger’s deputy, General Alexander Haig. “I wrongly passed this on to Al Haig who seems to have ignored it, since our generals were caught by surprise,” Stearman wrote. (Read full report here.)
Hamas Attack Raises Questions Over an Israeli Intelligence Failure - New York Times, 08 Oct 23
The devastating surprise attack by Hamas on Saturday represented an equally stunning intelligence failure by Israel that involved undetected warnings, overwhelmed missile defenses and a slow response by apparently unprepared military forces, former and current U.S. officials said. American officials said Hamas had achieved a complete tactical surprise, reflected in a death toll of at least 700 Israelis. The Palestinian militant group sent hundreds of fighters through breached walls, breaking through with bulldozers and then killing civilians and soldiers in shooting sprees that went on for hours. None of Israel’s intelligence services had specific warning that Hamas was preparing a sophisticated attack that required coordinated land, air and sea strikes, according to an Israeli defense official and American officials. While the attack also surprised many Western intelligence agencies, they do not track Hamas’s activities as closely as Israel or Egypt do. The success astounded American officials with experience in the region. Over the years, Israel has set up a network of electronic intercepts, sensors and human informants throughout Gaza, which is about half the area of New York’s five boroughs. Israel and its neighbors have in the past invested heavily in trying to track and block Hamas’s networks, often intercepting shipments of missile components. (Full article here.)
Alibaba accused of ‘possible espionage’ at European hub - Financial Times, 05 Oct 23
Belgium’s intelligence service has been monitoring Alibaba’s main logistics hub in Europe for espionage following suspicions Beijing has been exploiting its growing economic presence in the west. European governments have been increasing scrutiny of the alleged security and economic risks posed by Chinese companies, which has been part of a wider reassessment of the EU’s traditional openness to trade with China. In specific reference to Alibaba’s logistics arm at the cargo airport in Liège, Belgium’s security services told the Financial Times they were working to detect “possible espionage and/or interference activities” carried out by Chinese entities “including Alibaba”. Alibaba, which denies any wrongdoing, signed an agreement with Belgium in 2018 to open the hub in Liège, Europe’s fifth-largest cargo airport, ploughing €100mn of investment into the ailing economy of the French-speaking Walloon region. But almost two years on from the site being opened, the Belgian State Security Service (VSSE) has continued monitoring Alibaba’s operations following intelligence assessments, said people familiar with the matter. (Full article here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
The Hamas attack is a dark day for Israel’s intelligence services - Chatham House, 08 Oct 2023
Almost to the day of the 50th anniversary of the traumatic Yom Kippur war, when Israel was caught by surprise on two fronts, its military establishment was once again taken completely off guard by a Hamas-coordinated land, sea and air attack. Hamas launched thousands of rockets at Israel and infiltrated Israeli towns, villages and kibbutzes, massacring hundreds of civilians and soldiers and taking scores hostage, on what was supposed to be a joyous Jewish holiday. This represents a massive security and intelligence failure which has led to one of the darkest days in the country’s history. For years residents of the area bordering Gaza alerted Israel’s government of their security vulnerability, but to no avail. Today, it is not only those who live facing Gaza feeling vulnerable, but the entire Israeli population. While the physical damage is visible and hard to comprehend, the psychological impact will remain for a long time. For months, the perception in Israel was that Hamas’ interest in breaking the impasse in Gaza had been reduced, due to the recent improvement in economic conditions – Israel has granted tens of thousands of work permits for Gazan people to work in Israel and allowed more commodities to enter the Gaza Strip.(Full report here.)
Why Russian and Chinese Spy Scandals Are a Threat to Us All - American Enterprise Institute, 05 Oct 2023
Russian and Chinese espionage against the west has entered a hyperactive mode. In the past few months, several suspected intelligence officers and agents have been uncovered by police in Britain, Norway and the US. In return, Russia and China have begun seizing random westerners on flimsy espionage charges. A dangerous cycle is unfolding. While there are no statistics on the number of Russian and Chinese intelligence officers and agents operating in the west, arrests over the past couple of years give a good indication of the rise in activity. Five Bulgarians arrested in the UK on charges of spying for Russia have just had their first court hearing, and British prosecutors have alleged that the fugitive German fraud suspect Jan Marsalek has been involved in spying for Russia. Norway has detained an academic suspected of being a Russian intelligence officer working undercover as a Brazilian researcher, and a suspected GRU officer has been arrested trying to infiltrate the International Criminal Court. (Full report here.)
Hamas Attack Prompts Blame Around Israeli Intelligence - Bloomberg, 07 Oct 23
Saturday’s surprise attack on Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas may represent one of the biggest failures by Israeli intelligence since the Yom Kippur war of 1973. The attack involved dozens of infiltrations by land and sea, together with rocket attacks — a sophisticated assault that involves the kind of planning and coordination that intelligence agencies are supposed to pick up on. Hundreds have been killed on both sides. While Israeli officials have said for months that Palestinian militant groups were preparing for violence, the timing and scale of the attack appear to have caught Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by surprise. Israel and its ally the US — which contributed $3.3 billion to Israel in defense spending in 2022 — were already weighing who was most responsible and how it happened. “It’s shocking to me that they were able to do it without Israel or the United States picking up on it,” said Martin Indyk, a former US ambassador to Israel and a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Failure to prepare. Failure to have troops along the border, failure of the fence along the border that they paid millions of shekels for.” (Full report here.)
Spy games: why the US-China cold war is heating up in public - South China Morning Post, 07 Oct 23
In another sign of the dismal state of US-China relations, public espionage disclosures have increased markedly in recent months on both sides of the Pacific as spy agencies that once lurked in the dark openly tout their handiwork. Behind the strategic leaks and veneer of transparency is a shadow play mirroring the broader geopolitics, as intelligence communities face pressure to look effective at home and tough abroad, with little sign that the spy-versus-spy showdown will end any time soon, security analysts and former spies said. “There is a new cold war between China and the West at the moment and intelligence operations and intelligence agencies are the front line of this,” said Calder Walton, assistant director of the Applied History and Intelligence Project at Harvard Kennedy Centre. “Governments of all persuasions use them to pursue foreign policy in non-avowed ways. So what you can’t do openly, you use an intelligence agency to do covertly.” (Full report here.)
Out in the cold: the spy scandal gripping Denmark (35 mins) - Guardian Podcast, 03 Oct 23
In December 2021 Lars Findsen was the head of Denmark’s foreign intelligence agency. He was on leave at the time, had been overseas for a few days, and boarded a flight home to Copenhagen airport. And it was there in the arrivals hall that armed police quietly approached him and told him he was under arrest on suspicion of treason. As Harry Davies tells Michael Safi, what followed could have been taken from the pages of an espionage thriller. Findsen had been responsible for Denmark’s biggest intelligence agency. His work had been state secrets. Then he found himself facing secret legal proceedings. And he is not alone: also facing prosecution is Claus Hjort Frederiksen, a towering figure in Danish politics who has held several senior cabinet positions. As defence minister until 2019, he oversaw the intelligence service run by Findsen. Both men are facing prosecution and both believe they are innocent. Findsen has described the charges against him as “completely insane”, while Frederiksen believes his case is politically motivated, likening it to a bewildering “hoax”. (Full report here.)
How Do Chinese Citizens Feel About Other Countries? - Visual Capitalist, 18 Jul 23
Tensions over Taiwan, the COVID-19 pandemic, trade, and the war in Ukraine have impacted Chinese sentiment towards other countries. This visualization uses data from the Center for International Security and Strategy (CISS) at Tsinghua University to rank survey responses from the Chinese public on their attitudes towards countries and regions around the world. here.)
A look at how the US military's complex operations in Afghanistan required the collaboration of locals for cultural and strategic insights.
Walking Tours - Washington, DC - Sundays (Dates/Times Vary)
Former intelligence officers guide visitors on two morning and afternoon espionage-themed walking tours: "Spies of Embassy Row" and "Spies of Georgetown." For more information and booking, click here or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Routledge Handbook of Disinformation and National Security
This interdisciplinary Handbook provides an in-depth analysis of the complex security phenomenon of disinformation and offers a toolkit to counter such tactics. Disinformation used to propagate false, inexact or out of context information is today a frequently used tool of political manipulation and information warfare, both online and offline. This Handbook evidences a historical thread of continuing practices and modus operandi in overt state propaganda and covert information operations. Further, it attempts to unveil current methods used by propaganda actors, the inherent vulnerabilities they exploit in the fabric of democratic societies and, last but not least, to highlight current practices in countering disinformation and building resilient audiences. The Handbook is divided into six thematic sections. The first part provides a set of theoretical approaches to hostile influencing, disinformation and covert information operations. The second part looks at disinformation and propaganda in historical perspective offering case study analysis of disinformation, and the third focuses on providing understanding of the contemporary challenges posed by disinformation and hostile influencing. The fourth part examines information and communication practices used for countering disinformation and building resilience. The fifth part analyses specific regional experiences in countering and deterring disinformation, as well as international policy responses from transnational institutions and security practitioners. Finally, the sixth part offers a practical toolkit for practitioners to counter disinformation and hostile influencing. This handbook will be of much interest to students of national security, propaganda studies, media and communications studies, intelligence studies and International Relations in general.
Order book here.
Target Tehran: How Israel Is Using Sabotage, Cyberwarfare, Assassination – and Secret Diplomacy – to Stop a Nuclear Iran and Create a New Middle East
Yonah Bob and Ilan Evyatar describe how Israel has used cyberwarfare, targeted assassinations, and sabotage of Iranian facilities to great effect, sometimes in cooperation with the United States. Even as it takes lethal action Israel has managed to alter the politics of the Middle East, culminating in the Abraham Accords of 2020. Arab states, such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, normalized relations with Israel while giving a faint nod to the Palestinian issue, and the holy grail of normalization with Saudi Arabia may be achieved in a way which will inject at least some new energy into improving Israeli-Palestinian relations. Now, they share Israel’s concern with Iran—even as they negotiate with Tehran—remaining silent while Israel undermines Iran’s nuclear program. Bob and Evyatar reveal how Israel has used documents stolen from Tehran in a daring, secret Mossad raid to show the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency how Iran has repeatedly violated the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement and lied about its active nuclear weapons program. Drawing from interviews with top confidential Israeli and US sources, including from the Mossad and the CIA, the authors tell the inside story of the tumultuous, and often bloody, history of how Israel has managed to outmaneuver Iran—so far.
Order book here.
No Cloak, No Dagger: Allied Spycraft in Occupied France
The memoir of SOE agent Benjamin Cowburn is rightly regarded as a classic of wartime literature. In simple, gripping detail Cowburn explains the methods of special agents who were dropped into France during the war and the ways that agents would set about establishing secure networks with the French Resistance. He also shows how agents were able to travel across France, how they set up transmitters and contacted their British headquarters for orders, and how they arranged airplane pick-ups and deliveries of supplies. His account sheds light on the views of both the Resistance fighters facing torture at the hands of the Gestapo and their besieged French countrymen. He notes the tensions within the different command centers, in particular between the French leader-in-exile Charles de Gaulle and his British counterparts, who were all eager to control the efforts of the Resistance. Cowburn gives fascinating general lessons in the art of spying from establishing a worthy target to executing an operation but also tells the full story of his own sabotage operations, including the effective destruction of cylinders for thirteen locomotives in the dead of night. As in so many operations, mistakes were made which could have led to numerous arrests. In this case, the details of the operation had accidentally been left on a blackboard in the school where they had planned the raid, but were luckily scrubbed out by the headmaster’s wife. On another occasion, Cowburn snuck itching powder into the laundry of Luftwaffe agents to cause a disruption. This new edition contains an Introduction by M.R.D Foot and a Foreword by Sebastian Faulks.
Order book here.
Call for Information: Author drafting a book on the Clinton administration seeks contact with the person who served as COS Manila in November 1996 for the purpose of background research. Members who can identify the COS and/or are in contact with him, please forward this request to the COS or contact the author. Responses may be sent to email@example.com.
Call for Information: Seeking information on, Sgt Major Charles “Chuck” Remagen, assigned to MACV/SOG in Vietnam 67-68. Seek details about his role as a Sgt Major with MACV “Studies and Observations Group in Vietnam 7/1/67 to 1/21/68. Responses may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call for Sources: Intelligence activities in Grenada and the southern Caribbean between 1979, Operation Urgent Fury, Leonard Barrett
The Washington Post is developing a multi-part audio documentary series (i.e. podcast) chronicling the Grenadian revolution and the US intervention in 1983. They've interviewed nearly 100 people so far, ranging from the heads of state, former Grenadian officials, current and former US officials, veterans, and intelligence officers. They're looking for people who served at the time and may be knowledgeable about intelligence activities in Grenada and the southern Caribbean between 1979 and Operation Urgent Fury. They would also be interested in speaking with anyone who knew Leonard Barrett during the same period. If anyone is interested in participating, please reach out to Washington Post reporter Ted Muldoon via email at email@example.com or on Signal at 651-497-5449.
Call For Articles: AFIO Journal, The Intelligencer
AFIO is seeking authors for its section on "When Intelligence Made a Difference" in the semi-annual Intelligencer journal. Topics of interest for which we are seeking authors include:
Interested authors please contact Peter Oleson, senior editor The Intelligencer, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Adjunct Faculty - Intelligence Studies - Fayetteville University - North Carolina
The mission of the Department of Intelligence Studies, Geospatial Sciences, Political Science and History is to provide high-quality educational programs and services in these degree-granting programs and in Philosophy and Sustainability. A major goal of the department’s multi-disciplinary faculty is to help students develop key skills and foundational knowledge in the foregoing areas. By offering courses in realms ranging from critical thinking, the humanities, and social science to ethics, civic engagement, environmental studies & sustainability, and global literacy, the departmental faculty strive to empower students with the skills and knowledge they will need to excel in their chosen professions and become effective twenty-first century global citizens. The department will endeavor through its internship programs and will work closely with institutional partners, to provide career pathways for all majors that will assure transitions into meaningful jobs in their chosen field. Through teaching, research, and service, the Intelligence Studies, Geospatial Sciences, Political Science, History, and Philosophy faculty aim to promote the cultural, social, and economic well-being of the residents of the region and the nation.
Additional information and application here.
Assistant Professor in Intelligence and Security - Leiden University - Netherlands
Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) is inviting applications for a full-time Assistant Professor position in Intelligence and National Security. The successful candidate will have a demonstrable research record in themes related to the vacancy and a strong teaching background in intelligence and security, or a related field, as well as in topics related to the Institute’s Bachelor’s and Master’s programme offerings. The position is aimed at strengthening the Institute’s teaching, research and grant-acquisition capacities in a phase of growth and exciting interdisciplinary research opportunities.
Additional information and application here.
Assistant/Associate Professor of Intelligence Studies (Global Security and Intelligence Studies) - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott, Arizona
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Prescott, Arizona campus is accepting applications for a tenure-track assistant or associate-level professor of intelligence studies to teach intelligence courses to students in the Global Security and Intelligence program. The successful candidate will teach students about the intelligence community, strategic intelligence, the intelligence cycle and intelligence analysis, writing, and briefing. Prior experience working in the intelligence community is strongly preferred. We are interested in candidates with teaching acumen in intelligence analysis and writing using structured analytical techniques.
Additional information and application here.
Chris Napjus — Career NSA Officer
Dick Tattarelli — Decorated Former NSA Executive
Viktor Belenko — Soviet Aerospace Engineer and Pilot, Defector
Robert Kadlec — Air Force Intelligence Officer
Ellsworth Johnson — Decorated OSS Medic
13 Oct 2023 (Friday), 10:30am - 2pm - In-Person Tysons VA - ONLY A FEW SEATS REMAIN for this special AFIO National Fall Luncheon
This luncheon features fireside chat with Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, and Jennifer K. Ewbank, the Deputy Director of CIA for Digital Innovation
Check-in and badge pickup for Registered Attendees begins at 10:30 a.m.
16 October 2023 (Monday) 1730 (ET) - New York City - AFIO New York Chapter hosts Dr. Anthony R. Wells on “US-UK Intelligence in an Era of Global Challenges”
Speaker Bio: Dr. Anthony R. Wells has worked for British Intelligence as a British citizen and US Intelligence as a US citizen, at sea and ashore for both the Royal Navy and the US Navy. A fifty year veteran of the Five Eyes Intelligence community, Dr. Wells received his Ph.D in War Studies from King’s College, University of London, and has Bachelor’s and Master’s from the University of Durham. Dr. Wells is the author of “Between Five Eyes: 50 Years of Intelligence Sharing," “Room39 and the Lisbon Connection”, “A Tale of Two Navies”, “Guarding Against Extremism in the 21St Century”, and “UK-US Intelligence in an Era of Global Challenges."
5:30 - 5:55 Registration, Open bar & Hors d’oeuvres (hot)
RSVP by 11 October 2023 (Limited Space) to email@example.com or David Hunt at 301-520-1417
Cash or check payable at the door to "David Hunt."
26 October 2023, 7:30 pm - Pasadena, CA - AFIO Los Angeles hosts AFIO National Board Member Everette Jordan, former Deputy Assistant of the Treasury for IC Integration and National Intelligence Manager for Economic Security and Threat Finance for the DNI. The chapter has an upcoming event with AFIO Board Member Everette Jordan on Oct. 26th. This will be a meet and greet event and will take place out in Pasadena at 7.30 PM at the El Cholo Cafe, 300 E Colorado Blvd Suite 214, Pasadena, CA 91101. Everette Jordan had an impressive 45-year career in service to the Departments of Defense, The Treasury, and the Army. Part of his service included leadership and staff assignments with IC partners and Capitol Hill. His more recent leadership roles were as the Deputy Assistant of the Treasury for IC Integration and National Intelligence Manager for Economic Security and Threat Finance for the DNI.
27 October 2023 - Naples, FL - Meeting of the New Southwest Florida Chapter
The chapter president, Hugo Harmatz, requests members contact him to give suggestions of topics and speakers for programs. He seeks to ensure the chapter meetings are enjoyable and interesting for all.
See the AFIO Calendar of Events for scheduling further in the future.
11 Oct 2023 (Wednesday), 1700-1900 (ET) - The 2nd Annual Cocktails & Codebreakers event - co-hosted by the National Cryptologic Foundation (NCF) and the Intelligence and National Security Foundation (INSF)
Attend to celebrate Men & Women in Cryptology at this 2nd Annual event.
14 - 25 April 2024 - Gary Powers' Cold War Espionage Tour of Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia & Hungary - Travel Dates: April 14 to 25,2024 - 12 days/10 nightsJoin author & historian Gary Powers Jr. on this 12-day tour of Cold War and espionage related sites in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia & Hungary
The deadline to enroll is 11/30/23 with a required deposit of $495. Final payment is due 12/30/23.
What's Included: • Round-trip air transportation from Washington, DC; • 10 nights in centrally located, four-star hotels; • Full-time CHA Tour Director; • Valuable insight & informative commentary by Gary Powers Jr.; • On-tour transportation by private motorcoach; • Breakfast & dinner (or lunch) daily; • Sightseeing tours & visits shown in itinerary (subject to change based on availability)
Tour Prices: Full Tour Price: $5,695 per person; Land Tour Price: $4,645 per person (does not include round-trip airfare and airport transfers); Repeat Gary Powers travelers will receive a $200 discount! Price based on double occupancy.
A $600 single room fee will apply for travelers without roommates.
The deadline to enroll is 11/30/23 with a required deposit of $495. Final payment is due 12/30/23.
Questions? Call 1-800-323-4466 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enroll Online at: www.cha-tours.com/GaryPowers
Now available: Black short-sleeved polo shirts with Embroidered AFIO logo
Order this and other store items online here.
Guide to the Study of Intelligence...and...When Intelligence Made a Difference
"AFIO's Guide to the Study of Intelligence" has sold out in hard-copy.
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