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LATEST FROM AFIO
Released exclusively to members today, 17 October 2023...
What Would You Risk for Half a Billion Dollars?
Interview of Thursday, 20 July 2023 between David Bickford, Former UK Under Secretary of State & MI5 & MI6 Legal Director, on his novel Katya, and AFIO President James Hughes, a former senior CIA Operations Officer.
“Katya combines just enough professionally informed realism with great plot and character development to hold a former intelligence officer’s attention - a great read as only the Brits can do it.”
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
CSIS warning Inuit leaders about covert foreign investment in Arctic, documents show - Canadian Broadcast Corporation, 13 Oct 23
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has warned Inuit leaders that foreign adversaries could gain a foothold in Canada by offering to fill infrastructure gaps in the North. But Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) — the nonprofit organization that represents more than 65,000 Inuit across Inuit Nunangat and the rest of Canada — said the spy agency's inability to share classified intelligence with the region's decision-makers leaves them in the dark about the risks. "We are making decisions every day that are currently not as informed as they could be about threats and considerations," Obed recently told CBC News. "The partners that we choose are sometimes not the partners that we hope to have." (Full article here.)
NRO plans 10-fold increase in imagery, signals intel output - Breaking Defense, 10 Oct 23
The National Reconnaissance Office’s plan to “quadruple” the size of its satellite fleet over the next decade will allow it to deliver “10 times as many signals and images” as it is today, according to the spy agency’s deputy director. “NRO is already building the largest and most capable, diverse and resilient overhead constellation in our history. We’re also putting new capabilities on orbit, on ground and everywhere in between,” Space Force Maj. Gen. Christopher Povak told the Mitchell Institute today. The planned new satellites will be of diverse size stationed across diverse orbits, and NRO’s future architecture will include the continued use of commercial satellites to obtain “unclassified, shareable” data, he said. (Full article here.)
Iran is seeking Russian assistance for a new spy satellite: reports - Space.com, 09 Oct 23
Iran plans to hold talks with Russia over assistance to build a new Khayyam remote-sensing satellite. Discussions will cover developing technical specifications for new Khayyam satellites, along with plans for a small geostationary satellite and a telecommunications satellite, Russia's TASS news agency reported, citing the Iranian Mehr News Agency. Russia launched a Khayyam satellite for Iran on a Soyuz rocket in August last year. The spacecraft is a Russian-built Kanopus-V Earth-observation satellite with a resolution of 3.9 feet (1.2 meters). Khayyam satellites are named after the famed Persian poet and mathematician Omar Khayyam. (Full article here.)
Those who adopt AI will disrupt those who do not, CIA cyber policy adviser says - Fed Scoop, 10 Oct 23
While many organizations are hesitant to be first adopters during the current wave of artificial intelligence, for the CIA, it’s “imperative” that the agency takes swift action to begin working with the rapidly evolving technology or risk falling victim to those that do, according to the agency’s top cyber policy adviser. One thing that “is pretty clear is those entities that augment their activities with AI applications will likely disrupt those entities that do not. So I think it’s imperative that we find a way to tap into this technology to support the activities that we are entrusted with,” Dan Richard, chief cyber policy adviser for the CIA, said during a Billington Cybersecurity event last week. Long before the current craze around generative AI, the intelligence community, led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, developed guiding principles and a supporting framework for the ethical use of AI by intelligence agencies. Richard noted that work as evidence of the CIA and other intelligence agencies being ahead of the curve. (Full article here.)
North Korea says military satellite key to countering U.S. 'space militarisation' - Reuters, 09 Oct 23
North Korea's spy satellite program is an "indispensable" measure to counter U.S. space militarisation aimed at beefing up the United States' preemptive nuclear strike capability and securing "world supremacy," state media KCNA said on Tuesday. Ri Song Jin, whom KCNA described as a researcher of the National Aerospace Technology Administration, accused the United States of seeking greater military hegemony in Asia by expanding its space force in an article titled "U.S. space force deployment aimed at preemptive aggression war". Ri singled out a recent trip by the U.S. Space Force commander to Tokyo, and the deployment of a Space Force component in South Korea, where its members took part in joint military drills for the first time this year. Such moves were "nothing but a camouflaged curtain to cover up the scenario for preemptive attack on the anti-U.S. and independent countries," Ri said, mentioning North Korea, China and Russia. (Full article here.)
Is the Defense Department getting serious about insider threats? - Federal News Network, 11 Oct 23
In the months following the arrest of Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, for leaking national security secrets to his friends on Discord, the Defense Department has released new policies and procedures for how it handles classified information. According to the reporting, most of the measures revolve around steps that should have been taken long in the past. These are items like: Bringing the DoD’s Secret Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIFs) into line with the standards of other intelligence agencies; making sure that everyone touching sensitive information has a valid NDA on file; performing an accounting of who has clearance to access classified information. With any luck, the DoD team will get on top of these basic-yet-tedious and necessary tasks, playing a bit of catch up to get back to a respectable starting point. And they will probably have their hands very full. (Full article here.)
Standards Body Considers Uncloaking Secret Encryption Algorithms - Zero Day, 11 Oct 23
A European standards body that found itself in hot water this summer over flaws in encryption algorithms it created to secure radio communications of police, military and critical infrastructure, is now discussing whether to make its new algorithms public as a result of the backlash, I’ve learned. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has put the question to members and is seeking consensus this month on whether new proprietary algorithms it has created for the TETRA radio protocol should be made public so that independent researchers and government agencies that rely on the algorithms to protect their communications can examine them for security flaws. If members can’t come to a consensus informally, the group is expected to put the matter to a vote on October 26. ETSI spokeswoman Claire Boyer confirmed that the group is weighing whether to make the new algorithms public. (Full article here.)
State Department declassifies diplomatic cables using AI assistant - Federal News Network, 09 Oct 23
A directive to U.S. embassies in India and Pakistan requesting an urgent evaluation of economic and financial vulnerabilities in those countries. A report from the embassy in Sofia detailing discord in the Bulgarian Socialist Party. And an internal summary, prepared by the U.S. embassy in Pretoria, of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s meeting with President Nelson Mandela in South Africa. Those messages are among dozens of newly released diplomatic cables from late 1997. The State Department declassified the cables using a machine learning tool developed by the agency over the past year. The cables were not subject to any Freedom of Information Act requests, but State officials determined copies of the documents could be publicly released through the “proactive disclosure” provision of FOIA. (Full article here.)
Canada's electronic spy agency facing a staffing crisis - Canadian Broadcast Corporation, 11 Oct 23
The Communications Security Establishment (CSE), one of the federal agencies tasked with countering foreign interference, is experiencing a "major staffing crisis," a former CSE spy told Radio-Canada/CBC. The CSE intercepts and decodes communications of foreign targets that seek to harm Canada. It is also responsible for protecting the federal government's computer network and advising critical infrastructure operators, such as banks and hospitals, on how to protect themselves against cyberattacks. In a rare interview, the CSE's chief, Caroline Xavier, did not deny that there is a crisis, but said the shortage of cybersecurity experts is a global problem. "Talk to any other CEO that manages a technical organization, they will all tell you we're competing for top talent," she said. "So it is potentially a national crisis, but it's not a crisis only for CSE". (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.
10 Oct | “Former Israeli National Security Advisor” – with Uzi Arad Uzi Arad joins Andrew Hammond to discuss intelligence and policy at the highest level. Uzi was also a former foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Director of Intelligence for the Mossad.
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.
13 Oct | Hamas’ terrorist onslaught made a hard landing in Gaza inevitable. Last Saturday, Hamas launched a seismic and devastating attack on Israel- killing at least 1300 individuals and holding over 100 more hostage. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had no recourse but to declare war, and the Israeli Defense Forces are now actively targeting and attacking Hamas operatives in Gaza- even tracking and identifying some through the social media postings uploaded by the terrorists themselves. Over 1000 Gazans, many of them civilians, have already been killed during Israel’s retaliatory attack, and Israel has called for mass evacuation of northern Gaza in preparation for a ground offensive. (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.
17 Oct | No End in Sight, Hard Questions Ahead for Ukraine and Allies
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
14 Oct | Spurious Spy Now Runs RFK, Jr. Campaign - Seth Hettena
14 Oct | New Tales of Some Astonishing CIA Women - Jeff Stein
12 Oct | Did China Really Lose a Nuclear Submarine? - Matt Brazil
To support SpyTalk, subscribe here.
Article: Mathematician warns US spies may be weakening next-gen encryption - New Scientist, 10 Oct 23
A prominent cryptography expert has told New Scientist that a US spy agency could be weakening a new generation of algorithms designed to protect against hackers equipped with quantum computers. Daniel Bernstein at the University of Illinois Chicago says that the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is deliberately obscuring the level of involvement the US National Security Agency (NSA) has in developing new encryption standards for “post-quantum cryptography” (PQC). He also believes that NIST has made errors – either accidental or deliberate – in calculations describing the security of the new standards. NIST denies the claims. “NIST isn’t following procedures designed to stop NSA from weakening PQC,” says Bernstein. “People choosing cryptographic standards should be transparently and verifiably following clear public rules so that we don’t need to worry about their motivations. NIST promised transparency and then claimed it had shown all its work, but that claim simply isn’t true.” (Read full report here.)
Article: C.I.A. Reports Contained General Warnings of Potential Gaza Flare-up - New York Times, 13 Oct 23
A pair of classified C.I.A. intelligence reports issued in the days ahead of a major Hamas attack on Israel warned about a potential escalation in violence but did not predict the complex, multipronged attack that Hamas gunmen launched against Israel, according to U.S. officials. The first of the intelligence reports, dated Sept. 28, described the possibility that Hamas would launch rockets into Israel over a period of several days. The second report, dated Oct. 5, built on the first but was more analytical. The Oct. 5 report appeared in a daily C.I.A. summary of intelligence that is distributed widely to policymakers and lawmakers, the officials said. But intelligence officials did not brief either of the reports to President Biden or senior White House officials. Nor did the C.I.A. highlight the reports to White House policymakers as being of particular significance, officials said. Several U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, described the reports as routine, and similar to other intelligence reports about the possibility of Palestinian violence that were written throughout the year. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: US Navy sailor pleads guilty to sharing military secrets with Chinese intelligence officer - The Blaze, 11 Oct 23
A United States Navy sailor pleaded guilty on Tuesday to sharing sensitive military secrets with a Chinese intelligence officer in exchange for payments, the Department of Justice reported. In August, Petty Officer Wenheng Zhao was arrested and charged with accepting bribes in exchange for U.S. military information. The DOJ accused Zhao of transmitting the sensitive data to a Chinese intelligence officer posing as a maritime economic researcher. The 26-year-old was stationed at California's Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme. As part of Zhao's role, he was granted U.S. security clearance. The DOJ accused Zhao of providing intelligence information to a Chinese officer from August 2021 through at least May 2023. Over that period, the petty officer sent photographs of electrical diagrams and blueprints for a Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar system at a military base in Okinawa, Japan. (Read full report here.)
Article: Putin's spy master says issue of Ukraine support turning 'toxic' in US - Reuters, 11 Oct 23
Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign intelligence chief said on Wednesday that the issue of support for Ukraine was becoming toxic in the United States and that the divisions would deepen ahead of next year's U.S. presidential election. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, the United States and the European Union have made more than $160 billion in commitments to Ukraine, including tens of billions of dollars in weapons. However, President Joe Biden last week expressed fears that U.S. aid to Ukraine could be hurt by congressional chaos while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has repeatedly warned of the dangers of allowing Russia to win the war. "The Ukrainian topic is becoming more and more toxic on the eve of the upcoming presidential election," Sergei Naryshkin, the director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), said during a visit to the Azerbaijani capital Baku. (Read full report here.)
Article: How Israel’s Security Services Failed to Stop Hamas - New York Times, 10 Oct 23
Shortly before attackers from Gaza poured into Israel at dawn on Saturday, Israeli intelligence detected a surge in activity on some of the Gazan militant networks it monitors. Realizing something unusual was happening, agents sent an alert to the Israeli soldiers guarding the Gazan border, according to two senior Israeli security officials. But the warning wasn’t acted upon, either because the soldiers didn’t get it or the soldiers didn’t read it. Shortly afterward, Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, sent drones to disable some of the Israeli military’s cellular communications stations and surveillance towers along the border, preventing the duty officers from monitoring the area remotely with video cameras. The drones also destroyed remote-controlled machine guns that Israel had installed on its border fortifications, removing a key means of combating a ground attack. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: Initial US intelligence suggests Iran was surprised by the Hamas attack on Israel - CNN, 11 Oct 23
The United States has collected specific intelligence that suggests senior Iranian government officials were caught by surprise by Saturday’s bloody attack on Israel by Hamas, according to multiple sources familiar with the intelligence. The existence of the intelligence has cast doubt on the idea that Iran was directly involved in the planning, resourcing or approving of the operation, sources said. The sources stressed that the US intelligence community is not ready to reach a full conclusion about whether Tehran was directly involved in the run-up to the attack. They continue to look for evidence of Iranian involvement, which caught both Israel and the United States by surprise. (Read full report here.)
Article: Vietnam tried to hack U.S. officials, CNN with posts on X, probe finds - Washington Post, 09 Oct 23
Vietnamese government agents tried to plant spyware on the phones of members of Congress, American policy experts and U.S. journalists this year in a brazen campaign that underscores the rapid proliferation of state-of-the-art hacking tools, according to forensic examination of links posted to Twitter and documents uncovered by a consortium of news outlets that includes The Washington Post. Targeted were two of the most influential foreign policy voices on Capitol Hill: Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and chair of its subcommittee on the Middle East. Also targeted were Asia experts at Washington think tanks and journalists from CNN, including Jim Sciutto, the outlet’s chief national security analyst, and two Asia-based reporters. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: What went wrong? Questions emerge over Israel’s intelligence prowess after Hamas attack - Associated Press, 09 Oct 23
For Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s eyes are never very far away. Surveillance drones buzz constantly from the skies. The highly-secured border is awash with security cameras and soldiers on guard. Intelligence agencies work sources and cyber capabilities to draw out a bevy of information. But Israel’s eyes appeared to have been closed in the lead-up to an unprecedented onslaught by the militant Hamas group, which broke down Israeli border barriers and sent hundreds of militants into Israel to carry out a brazen attack that has killed hundreds and pushed the region toward conflict. Israel’s intelligence agencies have gained an aura of invincibility over the decades because of a string of achievements. Israel has foiled plots seeded in the West Bank, allegedly hunted down Hamas operatives in Dubai and has been accused of killing Iranian nuclear scientists in the heart of Iran. Even when their efforts have stumbled, agencies like the Mossad, Shin Bet and military intelligence have maintained their mystique. (Read full report here.)
Article: Roads not taken in satellite photo-reconnaissance: Part 1, the 1960s -The Space Review, 16 Oct 23
Today digital cameras are everywhere and most people under 30 will have no concept of what a film camera was. But film was a powerful storage medium for more than a century, and from the late 1950s to the mid-1980s American reconnaissance satellites depended upon it. During this period, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which oversaw the procurement and operation of American reconnaissance satellites, studied numerous alternative reconnaissance satellite designs to meet new requirements. These proposed but unbuilt satellites became footnotes in the official—and classified—histories of the reconnaissance program. However, in recent years, many more details about them have been released. They illuminate some of the issues facing the NRO during this time period, generally falling into three categories: increasing ground resolution (i.e. being able to see smaller objects on the ground), wider area coverage (or at least continuing existing area coverage), and decreasing the time it took from taking a photo to getting the intelligence data it contained to military and intelligence leaders in Washington, DC. (Read full report here.)
Ideology in Costume: A Growing Threat to Intelligence Studies - International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 10 Oct 2023
Intelligence studies (IS) is a new and rapidly evolving academic discipline. Scholars periodically assess its status, noting considerable progress, but they have barely begun to assess the origins and implications of a significant recent development in IS: infiltration of the discipline by people determined to alter intelligence studies for ideological reasons. This commentary focuses on the destructive impact of neo-Marxian “critical intelligence studies” on IS generally. It addresses the origins and implications of this infection and suggests ways to inoculate IS against further damage. Intelligence studies (IS) is a new and rapidly evolving academic discipline. Among positive recent changes are geographic expansion beyond the “Anglosphere” and scope extension from states’ foreign intelligence services to the intelligence activities of domestic law enforcement agencies, businesses, and other nonstate actors. Scholars have periodically examined the status of IS, focusing on such topics as definitions of intelligence and applicable research methods including those of historiography and social sciences.Footnote1 But intelligence scholars have barely begun to assess the implications of a significant recent development in IS: infiltration of the discipline by people determined to alter intelligence studies for ideological reasons. This trend has been lauded and criticized. This commentary, aiming to express both alarm and sadness, takes the latter view and focuses on the destructive impact of neo-Marxian “critical intelligence studies” (CIS) on intelligence studies generally. This perspective regards “critical” theory as a revolutionary, troublesome ideology but is not concerned about the wide range of left-of-center liberal views presumably embedded in many intelligence-related studies that employ traditional scholarly methods in pursuit of knowledge, not a political program. The complexity of “critical” writings cannot be covered fully in this short article and readers are asked to accept some generalizations. This commentary addresses implications of the Marxian infection of IS and suggests ways to inoculate intelligence scholarship against further damage. (Full report here.)
The Nightingale Versus the Bear: What Persuasion Research Reveals About Ukraine's and Russia's Messaging on the War - RAND Corporation, 12 Oct 23
In the wake of Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, many prominent Western news outlets and policymakers concluded that Ukraine is winning the information war. Yet the reality may be more complex. RAND researchers used an evidence-based approach to try to understand whether official Ukrainian influence campaigns related to the current war have been more persuasive than Russian ones, and, if so, why Ukraine's messaging may have been effective while Russia's efforts may have fallen flat. To do this, the researchers examined each side's messaging toward not only its own public and military personnel but also the public and military personnel of its adversary. Specifically, they looked at Ukrainian-, Russian-, and English-language content produced and disseminated by official Ukrainian and Russian authorities and their affiliated institutions in the days leading up to and following two incidents: (1) Russia's initial offensive and the Battle for Kyiv, in February–March 2022, and (2) the announcement of Russia's partial mobilization, in September 2022. The researchers analyzed the two countries' messaging through the lens of persuasion research, which offers insights about the characteristics associated with successful influence campaigns. This report details the researchers' analysis and conclusions. (Full report here.)
Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matt Olsen called for the reauthorization of foreign surveillance policy, that is, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was set to expire at the end of 2023. “It is without question the single most important legal authority that we have for foreign intelligence collection at this point,” he said. He discussed the history of Section 702, explaining how it was created in 2008 to more effectively gather intelligence amid foreign terrorist threats, and how it has improved over the years so that Americans' data are not indiscriminately searched by intelligence authorities. The Association of Former Intelligence Officers hosted the event from McLean, Virginia. (Full report here.)
OSINT in support of the Defence Intelligence Enterprise (DIE) - part two (25 mins) - JANE's Intelligence Podcast, 09 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.)
Examining Chinese citizens’ views on state surveillance - Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 12 Oct 23
The relentless advance of new and more invasive surveillance technologies poses a growing threat to open societies and human rights. The need to understand their impact around the world has never been more pressing. Freedom House’s Freedom on the net 2023 report underscores this urgency, highlighting an escalation of digital repression in many countries including Iran, Myanmar and the Philippines. The report has identified China as the nation with the most oppressive internet environment for the ninth consecutive year. A new ASPI report, Surveillance, privacy and agency: insights from China, examines how, in addition to online repression and surveillance, the People’s Republic of China has become the world’s primary example of tech-enhanced social control with its society-wide system of ‘techno-authoritarianism’. Over the past year, ASPI and a non-government research partner worked on this project, which is designed to share detailed information on state surveillance in the PRC and engage thousands of PRC residents on the issue of surveillance technology. The decision has been made not to identify this partner to preserve its access to specific research techniques and data and to protect its staff. (Full report here.)
Perkins Operations: Tactics Used in Undercover Interactions - International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 10 Oct 23
In the United States, it is permissible to place an undercover police officer in the jail cell with a suspect. This tactical move is rare and launched only for serious crimes, and it takes place before any charges have been filed. This tactic goes under the name of Perkins operations, from the case ruling that if an individual speaks freely to someone whom they believe is a fellow inmate it is allowed to take advantage of their misplaced trust (Illinois v. Perkins, 1990). In this study, we examine 22 Perkins operations, 60 hours of secretly taped interactions in the cells, and we describe and categorize the different approaches and tactics that the undercover officers used. Based on the descriptive analysis, we conceptualize two pathways to information elicitation (direct and relational) and explore the undercover officers’ use of risky interview tactics. The findings suggest that undercover officers use four broader approaches to establish relationships and gather information, and we were able to identify only a few instances of risky tactics in this sample. The relevance of the findings for human intelligence gathering and counterintelligence are discussed. In an undercover (UC) jailhouse operation, typically referred to as a “Perkins operation,” a UC officer poses as a fellow inmate and interacts with a suspect in a jail cell to surreptitiously gather information that might advance an ongoing investigation and/or to be used as evidence in court.Footnote1 In this study, transcripts will be analyzed of the verbal interactions in the cell between the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) UC officers and the suspect. Two issues must be acknowledged before proceeding. First, Perkins operations involve a host of ethical issues. Although these issues are not at the core of the present examination, it is important to assess to what extent it is possible to identify coercive and deceptive elements in the interactions, as well as indications of the production of unreliable information and false confessions. These issues are addressed at the end of the article. Second, given the secrecy and rarity of these operations, assessing their effectiveness with inferential statistics is challenging. For this study, several attempts were made to explore the relationship between the UC officers’ behavior and the information disclosed by the inmates. However, we were unable to find any reliable statistical relationships. Nevertheless, this study still offers new insights into the behaviors of UC officers, and we shed some light on what Perkins interactions can look like. (Full report here.)
How Do We Define Intelligence Failure?: Hamas October 2023 Attack on Israel - Brunel Center for Intelligence and Security Studies, 09 Oct 23
Beginning on the morning of 7 October, Hamas confronted Israel with what has been described as the ‘most serious attack in a generation’, all but unprecedented in ambition, scale, sophistication and ferocity. Already the ‘intelligence failure’ chorus is in full voice, and an arms race of compelling and evocative analogies has kicked off. Is it another Yom Kippur? Another 9/11? Yet another Pearl Harbor? The correct answer, of course, is that it is none of these. Such comparisons distract any analysis of current events, about which there remain substantial unknowns. The Hamas October offensive of 2023 is itself, likely destined to become as iconic in retrospect as any of the other three cases, and many others besides. However, historical analogies have some place in thinking events like this through, partly because they provide handrails of familiarity for us to orient ourselves and partly because they offer cues and clues of where to look for specific kinds of detail that will help us deal with present circumstances. They offer a short-cut and a heuristic but are also hazardous precisely because every case is unique. Most importantly, while individual cases of intelligence failure are unique, there are distinct and recognisable, and sometimes depressingly consistent, patterns and principles that often underlie them. As scholar Richard Betts famously observed, individual intelligence failures may be avoidable, but intelligence failure is inevitable. (Full report here.)
Why only 1% of the Snowden Archive will ever be published - Computer Weekly, 11 Oct 23
Some 10 years after he flew to Hong Kong to meet Edward Snowden with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, The Guardian’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Ewen MacAskill, talks to Computer Weekly about the Snowden files. MacAskill was speaking after Computer Weekly revealed the first new facts to emerge from the Snowden files since the archive first made headlines in 2013. The three new revelations have surfaced for the first time only thanks to a highly technical publication: a doctoral thesis authored by US investigative journalist and postdoctoral researcher Jacob Appelbaum, as part of his degree in applied cryptography from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Their publication by Computer Weekly has revived the debate as to why the entire Snowden archive has never been published, considering that even after a decade the three revelations remain indisputably in the public interest, and it is reasonable to assume there are many others like them. (Full report here.)
General Vladimir Petrovsky, head of the Ninth (“Ukrainian”) Directorate of the FSB's Department of Operational Information, was in charge of recruiting Ukrainian politicians in the run-up to Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. The FSB's agents were meant to play a key role in dividing Ukraine's political establishment in the first days of the attack — part of the political elite was to support the Kremlin and become the new power structure in the country. The plan didn't succeed; the so-called “fifth column” never materialized. That hasn't affected Petrovsky's career — he continues to fly on private jets and buy luxury apartments, registering them to third parties. The general's main sponsor is fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko, who gained exclusive access to Ukrainian assets in the occupied territories due to his ties with the FSB. (Full report here.)
Map Explainer: The Gaza Strip - Visual Capitalist, 11 Oct 23
Recent attacks on Israel by Hamas have placed the Gaza Strip firmly in the spotlight of the global news cycle. While conflict in that part of the world is thoroughly covered in headlines and news stories, more basic facts about Gaza receive less attention. With this infographic, we aim to fill in some of those gaps, including demographics, infrastructure, and more. here.)
At the height of the Cold War, the CIA endeavors to recover a sunken Soviet submarine from the depths of the ocean floor.
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
A Short Introduction to Geospatial Intelligence
A Short Introduction to Geospatial Intelligence explains the newest form of intelligence used by governments, commercial organizations, and individuals. Geospatial intelligence combines late 20th century historically derived ways of thinking and early 21st century technologies of GIS, GPS, digital imaging satellites and communications satellites to identify, measure, and analyze the current risk in the world. These ways of thinking have developed from military engineering, cartography, photointerpretation, and imagery analysis. While the oldest example dates back to the early 16th century, all the ways of spatial thinking share the common thread of being developed and refined during conflicts to help military leaders make informed decisions prior to action. In the 21st century― thanks in great part to advances in digital precision technology, miniaturization, and the commercialization of satellites― these ways of thinking have expanded from the military into various other industries and sectors including energy, agriculture, environment, law enforcement, global risk assessment, and climate monitoring.
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The Third Option: Covert Action and American Foreign Policy
The three major instruments that guide United States foreign policy are the Treaty Power, the War Power, and the Spy Power. Within the category of Spy Power is the "Third Option" the use of covert action. Ever since the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, the US has often turned to the third option in the conduct of its international relations. This controversial approach includes covert propaganda campaigns, subversive political activities, economic sabotage, and paramilitary operations ranging from clandestine warfare to the assassination of foreign leaders. From the beginning of the Cold War to the present day, America's intelligence and national security agencies have employed all of these "third option" tools in order to advance America's global interests. In The Third Option, the eminent national security scholar Loch Johnson provides a history of American covert warfare from 1947 to the present. In particular, he focuses on the morality and consequences of America's heavily veiled attempts to shape global affairs through its covert actions. Over the course of the book, a fundamental question comes into focus: Of what value has the Third Option been to the US as a complement to the nation's more open battlefield and diplomatic initiatives? Just as importantly, Johnson exposes the conflict between this controversial approach to achieving America's international objectives and the ideals that the US has always propounded: democracy, human rights, and liberalism. The Third Option closes with a sharp assessment of the policy, measuring its failures versus its successes. A richly detailed synthesis of America's covert action program ever since it became the world's preeminent power, this book serves as an ideal introduction for anyone interested in US foreign and national security policy.
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Intelligence for Homeland Security: An Introduction
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks―considered one of the worst intelligence failures in US history―the many agencies that constitute the homeland security enterprise have aggressively developed their intelligence capabilities and activities. Jeffrey Dailey and James Phelps provide a comprehensive introduction to the nature of intelligence, its structures, roles, and missions, in the context of homeland security. This accessible text: Covers the full gamut of agencies involved in homeland security; Tackles difficult ethical issues; Discusses specific threats―ranging from drug trafficking and money laundering to bioterrorism and the challenges of Covid-19―and how they are dealt with by the intelligence community; Looks at how intelligence for national security can be applied to domestic security; Addresses the realities of intelligence sharing among federal, state, and local organizations. Enriched with numerous case studies of both successes and failures, the book has been carefully designed to meet the needs of students focusing on homeland security, intelligence, criminal justice, policing, security management, and related fields.
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/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.
Marlene Nance-Lake — Career NSA Officer
Jon Holstine — Decorated Government Academic and AFIO Member
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.
2 November 2023 (Thursday), 11:30 a.m. PDT - Las Vegas, NV - Las Vegas Chapter Meeting features Amir Eden, Friends of The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Director of Nevada, and Colorado Chapters, discussing situation in Mideast. The AFIO Las Vegas Chapter meeting features Amir Eden, Friends of The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Director of Nevada, and Colorado Chapters. Given current world events we are fortunate to have this special speaker lined up that I’m sure you will enjoy. The event will be held at Charlie’s Lakeside Bar and Restaurant, 8603 W Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89117.
9 November 2023 (Thursday), 11:30 a.m. PST, - San Francisco, CA - AFIO San Francisco Chapter meeting features Ricky Deutsch on "Spies in the Sky: HEXAGON -- A History of the Last Film-Based Satellite."
See the AFIO Calendar of Events for scheduling further in the future.
8 November 2023, 6 - 8pm EST - Williamsburg, VA - Veterans Day Book Talk with Brian Morra '78 on "Cold War History to Today's Russian Invasion of Ukraine"
Please join us for a Veterans Day event with W&M alumni Brian J. Morra ’78, who will be discussing his book "The Able Archers." The talk will focus on Brian’s writing process, the history of the Cold War period depicted in the book, and connections that can be drawn to the present-day Russian invasion of Ukraine.Brian is a former U.S. intelligence officer and a retired senior aerospace executive. Learn more about him. A reception and book signing will follow the talk, and the library’s Special Collections Research Center will have select military collections on display. The W&M Bookstore will be there selling copies of his book. This event is produced in partnership with W&M Libraries, W&M Military and Veteran Affairs, and Association of 1775. Location: Swem Library, Read and Relax, 400 Landrum Dr, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Map this location
Free food. Registration/RSVP Required Please register to be guaranteed a seat!
Register for this Event here.
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 email@example.com.
Enroll Online at: www.cha-tours.com/GaryPowers
Now available: Black short-sleeved polo shirts with Embroidered AFIO logo
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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