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LATEST FROM AFIO
Released exclusively to members 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
U.K. Navy ends tradition of Chinese laundrymen on warships over spying fears - The Telegraph, 23 Oct 23
The Navy is ditching its century-old tradition of having Chinese servants on warships amid fears they could be spying. Hundreds of Chinese laundrymen have worked on British ships since the 1930s with most from Hong Kong but will now be replaced by Nepalese Gurkhas. The Sun reported that the Ministry of Defence had made the decision over fears Beijing could obtain secret information by threatening the loved ones of laundrymen. The paper said that three Chinese nationals were barred from joining HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier, on her strike group voyage to the contested South China Sea. A fourth Chinese laundryman was dismissed this month after 39 years of washing and pressing sailors’ uniforms and officers’ white tablecloths because his family lives in Hong Kong. The tradition began as a local custom early in the last century and was formalised through contracts with various Hong Kong companies. (Full article here.)
Ex-NSA employee admits trying to sell top-secret information to Russia - Axios, 23 Oct 23
A former National Security Agency employee admitted trying to sell classified national security information to Russia, according to a plea deal Monday. Jareh Sebastian Dalke, 31, of Colorado Springs, pleaded guilty to six counts of attempting to transmit classified National Defense Information to a person he believed to be a Russian agent, but who was actually an undercover FBI employee. The Army veteran admitted that from August to September 2022, "in order to demonstrate both his 'legitimate access and willingness to share,' he used an encrypted email account to transmit excerpts" of three top-secret documents to the undercover employee, per a Department of Justice statement. Dalke was last year paid $16,499 in cryptocurrency for excerpts of National Defense Information (NDI) documents that he shared before offering to sell for $85,000 the rest of the information that was classified as "Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information," according to the plea agreement. (Full article here.)
CIA has spent tens of millions on Ukrainian intelligence agencies - RT citing Washington Post, 23 Oct 23
The CIA has spent “tens of millions” of dollars on transforming Kiev’s Soviet-style spy services into “potent allies against Moscow,” The Washington Post reported on Monday, citing multiple sources in the US and Ukrainian intelligence communities. The US foreign intelligence service has been heavily involved in Ukrainian affairs since at least 2015, according to the report. The agency maintains a “significant presence” in Kiev amid the conflict with Russia. “The agency has provided Ukraine with advanced surveillance systems, trained recruits at sites in Ukraine as well as the United States, built new headquarters for departments in Ukraine’s military intelligence agency,” the report reads. The CIA has been aiding Ukraine’s SBU domestic intelligence service, as well as its military counterpart, the GUR. (Full article here.)
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.)
Visiting professor used PhD students to gather intelligence for China, Asio boss alleges - The Guardian, 18 Oct 23
The spy agency Asio says it has disrupted a plot by China’s intelligence services to “infiltrate a prestigious Australian research institution” with officials forcing an academic to leave the country before any harm was done. The Asio chief, Mike Burgess, provided broad details of the alleged plot while also accusing China of engaging in “the most sustained, scaled and sophisticated theft of intellectual property and expertise in human history”. “It is unprecedented and unacceptable,” Burgess said during a press conference in California on Wednesday alongside counterparts from the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand. The MI5 director general, Ken McCallum, with the FBI’s director, Christopher Wray, in July. US and UK spy chiefs warn Middle East crisis could raise domestic terror threat. Burgess acknowledged that “all nations spy” and “all nations seek strategic advantage” but he said China’s behaviour went “well beyond traditional espionage” and became “a ruthless business model aimed at seizing commercial advantage”. (Full article here.)
Russian ship suspected of espionage spotted off Dutch coast - NL Times, 20 Oct 23
A Russian research ship believed to be used for espionage was sailing along the Dutch coast on Wednesday. This was reported by the investigative journalistic platform Pointer (KRO-NCRV) on Friday. The Yevgeny Gorigledzhan vessel switched off its AIS transmitter shortly after entering the North Sea. The Yevgeny Gorigledzhan is a Russian Navy oceanographic vessel officially designed for bottom surveys and underwater work. However, according to Pointer, the vessel was likely part of a secret Russian military program established during the Cold War called GUGI. (Full article here.)
How Israel underestimated Hamas’s intelligence capabilities – an expert reviews the evidence - The Conversation, 18 Oct 23
Israel has a cutting-edge security technology industry and was (and still should be) considered to be the leading nation for national security. The controversial electronic intelligence platform Pegasus was developed in Israel, and the border between Israel and Gaza was considered – before the October 7 attack – to be a leading example of using sensors and machine learning to reduce the need for human guards while not reducing the strength of the security. But when Hamas fighters descended on the Supernova music festival on October 7, they had used drones to disable Israeli communication towers and remote-controlled machine guns. They also used unexpected tactics to breach the border. These included flooding the Iron Dome air defences with rockets, arriving on hang-gliders and demolishing the border with bulldozers (a likely echo of Israel’s use of bulldozers in occupied territories). (Full article here.)
Brazil police arrest two intel agents for alleged illegal surveillance - Reuters, 20 Oct 23
Brazil's federal police on Friday arrested two intelligence officials from the country's spy agency Abin for allegedly using phone hacking tools without judicial approval. Police said in a statement they had also carried out 25 search and seizure warrants in five states as part of the probe being led by the country's Supreme Court. Brazilian newspapers O Globo and Folha de S.Paulo reported that Abin officials allegedly bought the spying software FirstMile from Israeli firm Cognyte (CGNT.O) and used it to invade targets' phones and geolocate them. (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.
17 Oct | “The Intelligence Legacy of the Yom Kippur War” – with Uri Bar-Joseph Uri Bar-Joseph joins Andrew Hammond to discuss the intelligence failure of the Yom Kippur War. Uri is an author and professor emeritus at Haifa University.
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.
19 Oct | Hamas and Israel are now engaged in both a physical and information war. The catastrophic aftermath of Hamas’s attack on Israel continues, resulting in extensive loss of civilian lives and exceedingly complicated political calculations. Hamas and Israel are now engaged in both a physical and information war, as demonstrated by the response to this week’s al-Ahli hospital explosion in Gaza where multiple social and traditional media mistakenly blamed an Israeli airstrike for the destruction. (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.
24 Oct | What Follows Hamas in Gaza?
Inside the SCIF - 19 Oct - Israel vs. Hamas
Target USA Podcast - 18 Oct - How did Hamas plot the invasion of Israel?
The Hunt Broadcast - 18 Oct - The fallout of the Israel-Hamas conflict
21 Oct | The Spies of Hamas - Jeff Stein
19 Oct | Israel Conflict Challenges U.S. Intelligence - Jonathan Broder
Article: How the CIA’s top-ranking woman beat the agency’s men at their own game - Washington Post, 21 Oct 23
In the early history of the CIA, marked by towering male figures like Allen Dulles, William Colby and William “Wild Bill” Donovan, few careers proved more remarkable — and unlikely — than that of a Southern blue blood named Eloise Randolph Page. Page anticipated the launch of Sputnik when just about everyone else was taken by surprise. She was the top female officer in the CIA’s clandestine service in the 1960s and 70s and the first woman to head a major overseas station. She was physically tiny but larger-than-life, reactionary but visionary, snobby but able to overcome patriarchal provincialism to wield unheard-of influence, at a time when the agency’s sexist culture ensured most women’s career tracks were limited to secretarial and clerk roles. Born in 1920, Page began her intelligence career during World War II as a secretary at the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s precursor. She was assigned to Donovan, the OSS chief, who liked to recruit from highborn families and must have been delighted that “Eloise,” as everybody called her, came from not only one such family, but two. The Randolphs and the Pages were two of Virginia’s oldest White families, with roots that went back to the origins of the commonwealth, and to slavery. “She was a classy woman,” as one female officer put it, “who belonged somewhere on a plantation.” (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: How Hamas Caught U.S. and Israeli Intelligence Unaware - Wall Street Journal, 19 Oct 23
Hamas’s attack on Israel should be a wake-up call to U.S. intelligence services. That a terrorist attack of this magnitude—with seismic implications for global security—came as a surprise to many in Washington shows that we need to reassess our own operations sharply to ensure that America has a comprehensive threat picture that can provide early warnings and prevent national-security tragedies. The Israelis will no doubt examine this lapse thoroughly. Several possible reasons come to mind for why Israel and its allies, including the U.S., failed to report on the exact nature, timing and scale of the attack. Disinformation could have played a role in diluting Israeli intelligence. Hamas has years of experience with Israel’s intelligence methods and strategic priorities, giving the terrorists the know-how to feed Israeli operatives false information. Over the past two years, Israel had seemingly developed a working relationship with Hamas on issues like humanitarian-aid deliveries and work permits for Gaza residents. That would have given Hamas operatives opportunities to communicate regularly with Israelis and perhaps gain the Israelis’ trust by sharing accurate information on other threats from Gaza—lending credibility to Hamas’s deceptions about its own plans. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: The CIA dropped the ball here': Hacker hijacked the CIA's secure contact link for Russian informants due to Twitter flaw - The Daily Mail, 19 Oct 23
An American hacker was able to use a glitch on the CIA's X account (formerly known as Twitter) to direct potential informants to his own Telegram channel. The link on the CIA's Twitter channel offers informants ways to covertly contact the agency - and large amounts of the text is in Russian, to enable people within the country to contact the CIA. Kevin McSheehan, 37, said that he noticed that the Telegram link on the X page could be hijacked, and redirected it to his own channel to prevent hostile nations exploiting the link. McSheehan, who describes himself as a 'pro-CIA patriot' told the BBC, 'My immediate thought was panic. 'I saw that the official Telegram link they were sharing could be hijacked - and my biggest fear was that a country like Russia, China, or North Korea could easily intercept Western intelligence. 'The CIA really dropped the ball here.' (Read full report here.)
Article: Spy vs. spy: How Israelis tried to stop Russia’s information war in Africa - Washington Post, 21 Oct 23
When Israeli businessmen Royi Burstien and Lior Chorev touched down in the busy capital of the West African nation of Burkina Faso, they had an urgent message for the country’s embattled ruler. The Israelis — one a veteran political operative and the other a former army intelligence officer — had been hired with the mission of keeping the government of President Roch Marc Kaboré in power. Their company, Percepto International, was a pioneer in what’s known as the disinformation-for-hire business. They were skilled in deceptive tricks of social media, reeling people into an online world comprised of fake journalists, news outlets and everyday citizens whose posts were intended to bolster support for Kaboré’s government and undercut its critics. But as Percepto began to survey the online landscape across Burkina Faso and the surrounding French-speaking Sahel region of Africa in 2021, they quickly saw that the local political adversaries and Islamic extremists they had been hired to combat were not Kaboré’s biggest adversary. The real threat, they concluded, came from Russia, which was running what appeared to be a wide-ranging disinformation campaign aimed at destabilizing Burkina Faso and other democratically-elected governments on its borders. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: Allied Spy Chiefs Warn of Chinese Espionage Targeting Tech Firms - New York Times, 18 Oct 23
The United States and its allies vowed this week to do more to counter Chinese theft of technology, warning at an unusual gathering of intelligence leaders that Beijing’s espionage is increasingly trained not on the hulking federal buildings of Washington but the shiny office complexes of Silicon Valley. The intelligence chiefs sought to engage private industry in combating what one official called an “unprecedented threat” on Tuesday as they discussed how to better protect new technologies and help Western countries keep their edge over China. The choice of meeting venue — Stanford University, in Silicon Valley — was strategic. While Washington is often considered the key espionage battleground in the United States, F.B.I. officials estimate that more than half of Chinese espionage focused on stealing American technology takes place in the Bay Area. It was the first time the heads of the F.B.I. and Britain’s MI5 and their counterparts from Australia, Canada and New Zealand had gathered for a public discussion of intelligence threats. It was, in effect, a summit of the spy hunters, the counterintelligence agencies whose job it is to detect and stop efforts by China to steal allied secrets. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: The Clever Cameras Used by the East German Stasi to Spy on Citizens - Petapixel, 16 Oct 23
East Germany, or the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was one of the most tightly-controlled police states in recent memory from 1949 to 1990 that would spy on its own citizens throughout using all sorts of fascinating imaging equipment. The Ministry for State Security, better known as the Stasi by its German acronym, was a fierce and shadowy secret police intent on keeping the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in power as a one-party communist state during the Cold War. In January 1990, only two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, protesters stormed Stasi headquarters in East Berlin in an attempt to stop its agents from destroying documents and force both East and West Germany to make them fully accessible to citizens upon reunification. Ever since, the building has been a museum chronicling and documenting just how the GDR became such a police state and how the Stasi enforced the party line. To this day, citizens can make appointments to come in and see files kept on them, learning everything about why they were under suspicion — and who informed on them. (Read full report here.)
Article: Behind a Senator’s Indictments, a Foreign Spy Service Works Washington - New York Times, 13 Oct 23
“What else can the love of my life do for you?” asked Nadine Arslanian, the girlfriend of Senator Robert Menendez. She posed the question at a cozy dinner at a steakhouse in May 2019 attended by Gen. Ahmed Helmy, Egypt’s top spy in Washington. The discussion was revealed in a federal indictment on Thursday. As General Helmy would come to find out, even if Ms. Arslanian and her soon-to-be husband were not always able to deliver what Egypt wanted, they at least seemed to try very hard. The indictment charged Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, and his now wife with conspiring to act as agents of the Egyptian government. The document, in addition to another indictment made public last month, paint an unseemly picture of how the couple advanced Egyptian interests on numerous fronts. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: Wi-Fi that Can Read Through Walls - Tech Briefs, 28 Sep 23
Researchers in UC Santa Barbara Professor Yasamin Mostofi’s lab have proposed a new foundation that can enable high-quality imaging of still objects with only Wi-Fi signals. Their method uses the Geometrical Theory of Diffraction and the corresponding Keller cones to trace edges of the objects. The technique — which appeared in the Proceedings of the 2023 IEEE National Conference on Radar (RadarConf) — has also enabled, for the first time, imaging, or reading, the English alphabet through walls with Wi-Fi, a task once deemed too difficult for Wi-Fi due to the complex details of the letters. “Imaging still scenery with Wi-Fi is considerably challenging due to the lack of motion,” said Mostofi. “We have then taken a completely different approach to tackle this challenging problem by focusing on tracing the edges of the objects instead.” This innovation builds on previous work in the Mostofi Lab, which since 2009 has pioneered sensing with everyday radio frequency signals such as WiFi for several different applications, including crowd analytics, person identification, smart health, and smart spaces. (Read full report here.)
Article: A surprising number of celebrities have worked as spies - Washington Post, 22 Oct 23
During World War II, Josephine Baker regularly attended parties at embassies and consulates in occupied France, where she would flirt with high-ranking Nazi officials. Because of her celebrity as a dancer, actor and singer, the German men would swoon over her — and sometimes begin to divulge military secrets after being plied with alcohol. Baker would later jot down notes and hide them where she hoped no one would find them: in her underwear. In her 1977 autobiography “Josephine,” she wrote how those secrets were “snugly in place, secured by a safety pin,” so they could be carried past checkpoints and delivered to the French Resistance. The American-born performer was one of surprisingly large number of celebrities involved in espionage during the 20th century, including escape artist Harry Houdini, baseball catcher Moe Berg, movie actress Marlene Dietrich, spy novelist Ian Fleming, chef Julia Child and Hollywood heartthrob Cary Grant. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Article: Ukrainian spies with deep ties to CIA wage shadow war against Russia - Washington Post, 23 Oct 23
The cluttered car carrying a mother and her 12-year-old daughter seemed barely worth the attention of Russian security officials as it approached a border checkpoint. But the least conspicuous piece of luggage — a crate for a cat — was part of an elaborate, lethal plot. Ukrainian operatives had installed a hidden compartment in the pet carrier, according to security officials with knowledge of the operation, and used it to conceal components of a bomb. Four weeks later, the device detonated just outside Moscow in an SUV being driven by the daughter of a Russian nationalist who had urged his country to “kill, kill, kill” Ukrainians, an explosion signaling that the heart of Russia would not be spared the carnage of war. The operation was orchestrated by Ukraine’s domestic security service, the SBU, according to officials who provided details, including the use of the pet crate, that have not been previously disclosed. The August 2022 attack is part of a raging shadow war in which Ukraine’s spy services have also twice bombed the bridge connecting Russia to occupied Crimea, piloted drones into the roof of the Kremlin and blown holes in the hulls of Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Building Trust to Enhance Elicitation - International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, 17 Oct 2023
Drawing on the scientific literature on trust and the experiences of distinguished interviewers, two primary trust-building tactics with potential application in investigative and intelligence interviewing were identified and assessed for their efficacy in this context. Trust-building tactics that demonstrate trustworthiness and demonstrate a willingness to trust portray the interviewer as reliable and dependable (i.e., perceptions of cognitive trust) as well as convey goodwill and warmth (i.e., perceptions of affective trust) were viewed as likely to increase a source’s willingness to disclose critical information. Across three experiments, both tactics were found to be influential in engaging the reciprocity principle in a manner that elicited the sources’ cooperation and enhanced information yield. However, perceptions of cognitive trust were found to function as a direct encouragement to reveal information. In contrast, perceptions of affective trust first facilitated a willingness to cooperate that had the potential for subsequently manifesting as an instrumental form of cooperation. Intelligence has been called “the second oldest profession.” There is a certain irony, then, when intelligence officers routinely ask a recruited source to “trust me,” as such a request means trust me with your safety, trust me to protect your family, even trust me with your life. Nonetheless, accomplished interviewers view the challenge of earning a source’s trust to be of vital importance to eliciting intelligence information. Across the spectrum of human intelligence—from agent handling to interrogation—case studies of successful operators highlight the fact that time and effort in building trust can facilitate intelligence elicitation. This article builds on the theoretical literature on trust and the experiences of distinguished interviewers to describe the role of trust building in mitigating resistance. Central to the discussion are two trust-building tactics—demonstrating trustworthiness and demonstrating a willingness to trust—that can be leveraged to encourage cooperation in an operational context. The next step was to evaluate the efficacy of these proposed trust-building tactics via three experiments and explore the application of these tactics in investigative and intelligence elicitation contexts. (Full report here.)
State Department cipher machines and communications security in the early Cold War, 1944–1965 - Intelligence and National Security, 17 Oct 23
From 1944 the State Department attempted to improve its communications security by creating a Division of Cryptography and mechanising the encryption process. This article assesses the effectiveness of these reforms and shows that State’s new cipher equipment had cryptographic vulnerabilities. Moreover, the department was unable to maintain physical security at the Moscow embassy and through espionage and technical surveillance the KGB broke the ciphers and read American communications. The paper concludes by analysing the impact of this security failure, including the claim that intercepted messages influenced Stalin’s decision to approve the North Korean invasion of South Korea in 1950. It has been well established that in the first four decades of the 20th century the State Department struggled to keep its correspondence secret. David Kahn and Christopher Andrew have shown that the department had weak codes and feeble physical and personnel security. Communications security appeared not to be a priority for the department; Daniel Larsen recently examined cultural attitudes towards secrecy and diplomacy in the State Department during the Wilson administration and found that at the start of the First World War State exhibited ‘virtually no concern for the quality of its codes or the confidentiality of its communications’. The United States was in effect conducting open diplomacy, with other great powers like Russia, France and Britain able to read American diplomatic telegrams. Even in the inter-war period, State Department cryptography was small scale and inert. The head of the Division of Communications and Records was responsible for creating and maintaining all of State’s cryptographic systems, and codes and ciphers were updated or replaced very infrequently. What has not been studied is whether State Department communications security noticeably improved with the coming of the Cold War. This lack of attention is probably due to the difficulty of accessing sources since many of the relevant documents of the State Department and the National Security Agency (NSA) are still classified, making research on the post-1945 period challenging. However, some of the secrecy was lifted in 2015 when the NSA released over 50,000 pages of official documents formerly held by the American cryptologist William Friedman.Footnote4 There remain gaps in the historical record but with this material it is possible for the first time to trace the development of State Department communications security in the early Cold War. So drawing on the Friedman archive, as well as other sources, this article will assess how effectively the State Department protected its communications between 1944 and 1965. It will show that the department made a concerted effort to break with the past and improve security by creating a Division of Cryptography and bringing into service a series of electro-mechanical cipher machines. The article will then evaluate the vulnerabilities of the new cipher equipment and examine the threat to their physical security from Soviet espionage and technical surveillance. The paper will conclude by discussing whether failings in State Department security benefitted the Soviet Union and affected Soviet decision-making towards Korea in 1950. (Full report here.)
Former National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice moderates a discussion on current espionage threats from China and other actors in the first-ever public appearance of representatives of all Five Eyes partners in a public forum. (Watch here.)
What we know about Beijing’s spies - The Spectator, 18 Oct 23
Two years ago, Richard Moore, head of MI6, said that China was now the organisation’s ‘single greatest priority’. Parliamentarians and the British public have been starkly reminded of this by last week’s news that a parliamentary researcher had been arrested on suspicion of spying for China. On this episode, we won’t be commenting on the ins and outs of that case, but talking more generally about Chinese espionage. What forms does it take, what are its goals and how successful are the Chinese secret services at achieving those? I’m joined by a brilliant and knowledgeable guest. Nigel Inkster is the former director of operations and intelligence for MI6. He has served in Beijing and Hong Kong, and is now the senior adviser on cyber security and China at the think tank IISS. (Full report here.)
Even War Has Rules, So Why No Rules for Espionage? - Homeland Security Newswire, 21 Oct 23
There are even rules for war, which is why it makes little sense that there are none for espionage during times of peace. That was the central issue explored by Asaf Lubin, faculty affiliate at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, during a talk at Harvard Law School about his forthcoming book The International Law of Intelligence: The World of Spycraft and the Law of Nations. “Cicero said that in times of war, the law falls silent,” said Lubin, who is an associate professor of law at Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. “But war has been regulated. You might be unhappy with the international humanitarian law, the laws of war for good reasons, and yet at least there’s a framework for war. The idea that we cannot fathom regulation of a particular field doesn’t hold true in this day and age.” Organized by the Harvard International Law Journal and the Harvard National Security & Law Association, Lubin’s talk explored the contemporary legal framework that governs peacetime intelligence operations and the ways in which espionage remains in “a legal penumbra,” in the words of legal scholar Simon Chesterman. (Full report here.)
How Israel’s Spies Failed—and Why Escalation Could Be Catastrophic - Foreign Policy, 19 Oct 23
The trauma that Israel suffered on Oct. 7 is both unprecedented and unthinkable by any Israeli historical measure. Never before has Israel experienced such a calamity in its 75-year history. Even Hamas never expected such operational success. Indeed, actors across the region, notably Hezbollah and Iran, were stunned by the success of the Hamas offensive. (Full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Curbing the threats to encryption - Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 23 Oct 23
Government efforts to access private communications are nothing new. In decades past, such attempts at prying were often justified on national-security grounds. Today, however, policymakers point to child safety and disinformation as reasons to limit privacy protections. Established democracies are often leading this charge, inadvertently paving the way for the world’s autocrats. But people around the world aren’t taking these policies lying down. They speak out, using events like Global Encryption Day to highlight the importance of privacy and security not just for their own lives but for their communities and societies. And as vociferous opposition continues to stymie government efforts to expand surveillance powers, it’s become clear that public pressure works. Encryption, which scrambles digital data so that it can be read only by someone with the means to decode it, has become ubiquitous because it keeps information confidential and secure while authenticating the identity of the person with whom one is communicating. Today, billions of people use encryption to send digital messages and emails, transfer money, load websites and protect their data. The gold standard in security is end-to-end encryption (E2EE), since only the participants have access to the data—not even the service provider can decipher it. (Full report here.)
How the Chinese Communist Party Uses Cyber Espionage to Undermine the American Economy - Center for Strategic and International Studies, 19 Oct 23
The United States is locked in a long-term competition with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Even though that competition need not turn to conflict, it will almost certainly continue to see a network of operatives linked to the CCP wage a systematic cyber espionage campaign designed to gain an intelligence advantage and steal intellectual property. Put simply, China is trying to cheat its way to the top of key industries in the 21st century. Their quest to achieve dominance in artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) is unlikely to be any different. Let’s start with the facts. According to the Dyadic Cyber Incident and Campaign Dataset (DCID), the People’s Republic of China is the world’s most egregious actor in terms of cyber espionage targeting private firms and linked to stealing intellectual property. Since 2000, China has been associated with 90 cyber espionage campaigns, 30% more than Russia. The actual number is likely higher and each instance sees multiple businesses targeted that overlap priority industries specified in the CCP’s “Made in China 2025” plan. In other words, hackers work for communist technocrats in modern China. And, as seen in numerous cases these cyber operations work alongside clandestine human intelligence networks to steal trade secrets from U.S. firms. These multifaceted campaigns have the potential to offset any advantages artificial intelligence brings to cyber defenses, a reality on display in the recent discovery of malware in U.S. critical infrastructure. (Full report here.)
The Rise of the New Spycraft Regimes - Foreign Policy, 21 Oct 23
The world of global espionage has traditionally been dominated by the big powers—Russia, China, the United States, France, and Britain. But a series of recent revelations are a reminder that the intelligence services of middle powers—particularly those of the so-called global south—are not only active in the West, but also likely expanding the scope and ambition of their activities. The ramifications of these activities could rival any major power spy scandal. The states are smaller, but the stakes are not. (Full report here.) (NOTE: This material may require a one time free subscription or sit behind a paywall.)
Visualized: Which Countries are Dominating Space - Visual Capitalist, 08 Jul 22
Believe it or not, there is a lot of stuff in space. In fact, our atmosphere is filled with more than 11,000 objects that have been launched since the foray into space began. The Space Race started during the Cold War, and early on the Soviet Union dominated when it came to the amount of devices and objects launched into our atmosphere. But a few years ago, the U.S. took back that title with Elon Musk’s SpaceX helping lead the charge. This visual, using data from Our World in Data, breaks down the amount of objects launched into space by country over time. here.)
The true story of an Israeli civilian who was recruited into Israel's Secret Intelligence Agency to become a spy in Damascus, where he spent years infiltrating the Syrian political establishment. Israel's national hero, Eli Cohen, successfully entered the upper echelons of the Syrian government as a double-agent. The secrets he obtained became crucial in Israel's victory in the 1967 Six Day War.
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 email@example.com
The Sisterhood: The Secret History of Women at the CIA
Created in the aftermath of World War II, the Central Intelligence Agency relied on women even as it attempted to channel their talents and keep them down. Women sent cables, made dead drops, and maintained the agency’s secrets. Despite discrimination—even because of it—women who started as clerks, secretaries, or unpaid spouses rose to become some of the CIA’s shrewdest operatives. They were unlikely spies—and that’s exactly what made them perfect for the role. Because women were seen as unimportant, pioneering female intelligence officers moved unnoticed around Bonn, Geneva, and Moscow, stealing secrets from under the noses of their KGB adversaries. Back at headquarters, women built the CIA’s critical archives—first by hand, then by computer. And they noticed things that the men at the top didn’t see. As the CIA faced an identity crisis after the Cold War, it was a close-knit network of female analysts who spotted the rising threat of al-Qaeda—though their warnings were repeatedly brushed aside. After the 9/11 attacks, more women joined the agency as a new job, targeter, came to prominence. They showed that data analysis would be crucial to the post-9/11 national security landscape—an effort that culminated spectacularly in the CIA’s successful effort to track down bin Laden in his Pakistani compound. Propelled by the same meticulous reporting and vivid storytelling that infused Code Girls, The Sisterhood offers a riveting new perspective on history, revealing how women at the CIA ushered in the modern intelligence age, and how their silencing made the world more dangerous.
Order book here.
Marianne Is Watching: Intelligence, Counterintelligence, and the Origins of the French Surveillance State
Professional intelligence became a permanent feature of the French state as a result of the army’s June 8, 1871, reorganization following France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Intelligence practices developed at the end of the nineteenth century without direction or oversight from elected officials, and yet the information gathered had a profound influence on the French population and on pre–World War I Europe more broadly. In Marianne Is Watching Deborah Bauer examines the history of French espionage and counterespionage services in the era of their professionalization, arguing that the expansion of surveillance practices reflects a change in understandings of how best to protect the nation. By leading readers through the processes and outcomes of professionalizing intelligence in three parts—covering the creation of permanent intelligence organizations within the state; the practice of intelligence; and the place of intelligence in the public sphere—Bauer fuses traditional state-focused history with social and cultural analysis to provide a modern understanding of intelligence and its role in both state formation and cultural change. With this first English-language book-length treatment of the history of French intelligence services in the era of their inception, Bauer provides a penetrating study not just of the security establishment in pre–World War I France but of the diverse social climate it nurtured and on which it fed.
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Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen: Egypt's Road to Revolt
Revolutions are difficult to understand and almost impossible to predict. Egypt’s 2011 revolt was no exception. The military’s abandonment of Mubarak—a turning point for the revolt—confounded many observers, who assumed that the leader and the generals stood or fell together. The officers, it was thought, ruled from behind the scenes and simply swapped the figures in the spotlight to preserve the status quo. In a challenge to this conventional view, Hazem Kandil presents the revolution as the latest episode in an ongoing power struggle between the three components of Egypt’s authoritarian regime: the military, the security services, and the political apparatus. A detailed study of the interactions within this invidious triangle over six decades of war, conspiracy, and sociopolitical transformation, Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen is the first systematic analysis of how Egypt metamorphosed from a military into a police state—and what that means for the future of its revolution.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com
Adjunct Faculty - MS in Intelligence Analysis - Johns Hopkins University - Maryland
The Advanced Academic Programs (AAP) division of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences seeks non-tenure-track adjunct faculty to teach 473.665 Human Intelligence Operations within the MS in Intelligence Analysis program. The course will be taught fully online/asynchronously beginning Spring 2024. Candidates with online course development and teaching experience and those with experience teaching and engaging students from diverse backgrounds are of particular interest.
Additional information on qualifications and application instructions 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.
Bob Martin — Decorated Military Detailee to the IC
Marty Faga —Former NRO Director, President of MITRE, and AFIO Vice Chairman
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 (Friday), 3 p.m. - Naples, FL - The new Southwest FL (Naples, Fort Myers) AFIO Chapter Business and Speaker Meeting
This AFIO Southwest Florida business and speaker meeting takes place at the Hawthorn Suites which is located at 3557 Pine RIdge Road in Naples, FL. Attendees are urged to be on time as there will be a number of presentations.
9 November 2023 (Thursday), 11:00 a.m. PST - 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."
11 November 2023 (Saturday), 11:30 a.m. EDT, - Indiatlantic, FL - The AFIO Florida Satellite Chapter hears from Col Susie Dabrowski USAF (Ret) on "High-Impact Operations."
See the AFIO Calendar of Events for scheduling further in the future.
26 Oct 23, 1200-1300 (ET), - Inside Intelligence presents the Foundations of American Intelligence - Virtual - Johns Hopkins University
Join host Michael Ard for a conversation with Mark Stout, former director of the MA in Global Security Studies, on the Foundations of American Intelligence. Mark Stout has taught in Advanced Academic Programs since 2007. From 2013 to 2021 he was the director of the Master of Arts in Global Security Studies and he directed the post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Intelligence from 2014 to 2019. Stout previously worked for thirteen years as an intelligence analyst, first with the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research and later with the CIA. Stout also worked on the Army Staff in the Pentagon and at the Institute for Defense Analyses. In addition, from 2010 to 2013 Stout was the historian at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Stout is a series co-editor of Georgetown University Press’ Studies in Intelligence History book series. He is a contributing editor at War on the Rocks and he was the founding president of the North American Society for Intelligence History from 2016-2019. He is the co-author or co-editor of several books and has published articles in The Journal of Strategic Studies, Intelligence and National Security, Studies in Intelligence, and Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. He has a book on American intelligence in World War I under contract to the University Press of Kansas. Stout has degrees from Stanford and Harvard Universities and a PhD in history from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. His research interests include American intelligence history and military thought. Details and free registration here.
01 Nov 23, 1200-1300 (ET), - Leadership Analysis: Understanding an Intelligence Discipline - Virtual - Johns Hopkins University
Join Michael Ard for a curated conversation with Deborah Wituski on "Leadership Analysis: Understanding an Intelligence Discipline." Wituski is the vice president for Resilience and Risk Foresight at Google and is responsible for the global program that informs business decisions with trusted resilience and risk analysis to protect Google's people, property, and ideas. Prior to Google, Wituski served in the U.S. government for 20 years. Starting as a leadership analyst in Iraq for the Central Intelligence Agency, Wituski went on to work on Middle East and counterterrorism issues and held senior positions, including chief of staff to the director, CIA. Wituski earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in political science from West Virginia University and a PhD in political science from Ohio State University. Details and free registration here.
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
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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