Association of Former Intelligence Officers

Weekly Intelligence Notes

24 - 30 January 2024
(Issue 04)

Readers who encounter problems with the email version of the WIN can
view the latest web edition here.

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Section I - CURRENTS

(Recent Events, Developments, Highlights)


(Research Papers, OpEds, Analysis, Podcasts)


(Legacy Intel Practitioners' Informed Perspectives)


(All Categories)

  • Article: More companies expected to disclose email hacks by Russian intelligence - Washington Post, 26 Jan 24
  • Article: U.S. Secretly Alerted Iran Ahead of Islamic State Terrorist Attack - Wall Street Journal, 66 Jan 24
  • Article: US Spy Agencies Want to Use AI, but It Needs to Pass a Crucial Test First - The Messenger, 26 Jan 24
  • Article: Biden to send CIA chief to advance new hostage release deal - Diplomatic by Laura Rozen, 25 Jan 2024
  • Article: DEI hires pushed onto the FBI are putting the country’s safety at risk for the sake of being ‘woke’ - New York Post, 24 Feb 24
  • Article: Two Belgian brothers and a Chinese spy - Le Monde, 22 Jan 24
  • Article: China’s feared spy agency steps out of the shadows - Financial Times, 22 Jan 24
  • Article: We Must Accept the Truth: Western Academics Are Russian Intelligence Targets - The Moscow Times, 25 Jan 24
  • Article: FSB pushes border opening with Finland, 18 walkers crossed illegally on Thursday - Barents Observer, 25 Jan 24
  • Article: Putin's Spokesman Responds to CIA Efforts to Recruit Russians - Newsweek, 23 Dec 23
  • Article: China Raises Private Hacker Army To Probe Foreign Governments - Newsweek, 18 Jan 24
  • Article: Iran Assassination Network Hired Hells Angels to Kill Dissident Who Fled to US, Treasury and Justice Departments Say - The Messenger, 29 Jan 24
  • Article: Israeli intelligence docs detail alleged UNRWA staff links to Hamas, including 12 accused in Oct. 7 attack - CBS, 29 Jan 24
  • Article: Fake Spies and Potential Traitors: Russia’s Paranoia Swells - The Messenger, 29 Jan 24
  • Article: Lithuania bans its soldiers from visiting Russia, Belarus and China citing espionage risks - Free Press Kashmir, 26 Jan 24
  • Article: Twenty spies detained in Latvia over eight years - Eng.LSM.Lv, 23 Jan 24

*The editor thanks the following contributors of content for this issue:



Books: (Forthcoming, New Releases, Overlooked)

True Intelligence Matters in Film: Spymaster - Andrew Wallerstein (2022)

Intelligence in History - A Collection of Recent Content

Infographic: The World’s Top 25 Defense Companies by Revenue - Visual Capitalist, 27 Oct 23

Walking Tours: "The Spies of Embassy Row" and "Spies of Georgetown" - Washington, DC. (Sundays, Dates/Times Vary)

Section VI - Obituaries and Classifieds

(Research Requests, Academic Opportunities, Employment)


Research Requests and Academic Opportunities


Section VII - Events

Upcoming AFIO Events

  • Monday, 5 Feb 2024, noon (CST) - The San Antonio AFIO Chapter Intelligence Briefing on the Communist Chinese Military Goals - In Person, San Antonio, TX
  • Saturday, 10 Feb 2024, 1130 (EST) - The AFIO Florida Satellite Chapter hosts David Hunt, retired Senior Operations Officer of CIA's Clandestine Service, discussing "Intelligence in Flux." - In Person, Indialantic, Florida
  • NOTE NEW DATE: 30 July 24, 1900 (PST) - Former CIA Director General David Petraeus on challenges in Ukraine and the Middle East - In-Person, Yorba Linda, CA - AFIO Los Angeles Chapter; Dinner after presentation.

Events from Advertisers, Corporate Sponsors, Others

See the AFIO Calendar of Events for scheduling further in the future.


The Weekly Intelligence Notes include a wide range of articles and commentary to inform our readers. Views expressed in articles are those of the authors; they do not reflect AFIO's support or endorsement. Notices about non-AFIO events do not reflect AFIO endorsement or recommendation.
AFIO does not vet or endorse research inquiries, career announcements, or job offers. Reasonable-sounding inquiries and career offerings are published as a service to readers, who should exercise caution and good judgment when responding and independently verify the source before supplying resumes, career data, or personal information.



Released exclusively to members 23 January 2024...

The Soviet Nuclear War Crisis of 1983

Recorded 17 October 2023

Brian J. Morra, USAF Intelligence Officer
The Able Archers on the 1983 Soviet Nuclear War Crisis

Interview of Tuesday, 17 Oct 2023 between Brian J. Morra, Former US Air Force Intelligence Officer and senior aerospace executive; and AFIO President James Hughes, a former senior CIA Operations Officer. They discuss Brian's semi-fiction book "The Able Archers" on the 1983 Soviet nuclear war crisis.

Of this book, Former DDI and D/CIA Robert M. Gates wrote:

"Occasionally, a work of fiction is best suited to bring little-known but dangerous historical events to life. In the fall of 1983, Soviet leaders apparently became deeply worried that the U.S. was preparing to launch a surprise nuclear attack on the USSR under the cover of a NATO exercise titled "Able Archer." Brian Morra's novel "The Able Archers " builds a tension-packed story around those events and paints a cast of heroic figures on both sides who prevent a global catastrophe. While a gripping work of fiction, "The Able Archers " is a powerful reminder of the value of human judgment — and the continuing peril posed by nuclear-armed powers."

The interview runs 26 minutes and includes several Q&As.
His book "The Able Archers" may be purchased here.

Access the Brian Morra interview here or click above image.

The AFIO Now video series in 2024 is proudly sponsored by Northwest Financial Advisors.

The Archive

AFIO Now Video Interviews and Podcasts in 2023 were sponsored by
Northwest Financial Advisors

Click here to watch interviews in the AFIO Now series released in 2024.
View interviews from 2020 to 2023 here.
Watch public-release interviews on our YouTube channel or listen to them in podcast form at the links below.

Log into the member-only area for member-only features.

The Podcast

LATEST PODCAST: In this episode, Michael V. Hayden, former DIRNSA & D/CIA, and first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence (PDDNI) on "Protecting & Preserving the US Intelligence Community", with AFIO President James Hughes, a former senior CIA Operations Officer. They discuss some of Mike Hayden's biggest challenges in the senior positions he held in the U.S. Intelligence Community. He also offers advice to those considering careers in intelligence.
The interview runs 14.38 minutes and includes several Q&As.
Podcast here.

Are you too busy to watch an entire AFIO Now episode on YouTube? Would you rather listen in your car or while accomplishing other tasks? You can download or stream episodes on any of the 8 podcasting platforms that host AFIO Now. Search for 'AFIO Podcast' for a selection of the interviews above (public released ones) on:

Podbean; iTunes; Google; Spotify; Amazon Music; TuneIn; iHeartRadio; Pandora

Special Walking Tours Announcements
from SpyGuide Tours Inc

Weekend Tours in Washington DC
Georgetown Spy Tour
Embassy Row Spy Tour Daily Tours in New York City
The Spies of Wall Street

New 2024 Dates
Vintage Espionage: A Wine Tasting Event with an Espionage Twist.

• Sunday, 4 February 2024, 4p-6p. The Golden Age; 1726 Connecticut Ave NW; Washington, DC 20009
Use promo code VE2024 for a $20 discount. Read more and book here.

Visit Spyher Book | Buy | Contact us to schedule a private event |
Subscribe and “Get the Intel” for not-yet-public information on upcoming events

Vintage Espionage travels throughout the U.S. 
Visit to learn more and book all tours.

New — from AFIO Partner The OSS Society

Full information and registration here.



Special Gifts for Colleagues, Self, or Others

NEW Gray long-sleeved polo shirts with embroidered AFIO logo. Men's sizes only.
Show your support for AFIO with our new Gray Long-sleeve Polo Shirts. Shirts are shrink and wrinkle resistant of fine cotton with a soft, "well-worn, comfy" yet substantial feel. They feature a detailed embroidered AFIO seal. Get a shirt for yourself and consider as gifts for colleagues, family, and friends. Only $60 each including shipping.
Sizes for men, only: Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, and XXXL.  $60 per shirt. Order this and other store items online here.

 NEW 20 oz ceramic Mug with color glazed logo. Made in America. Check out our new tapered, sleek AFIO coffee mug!! This handsome 20 oz. ceramic mug is made in the USA, has a white matte exterior, sports a beautiful navy-blue interior, and is dishwasher safe.  Order yours today! $35 per mug includes shipping to a CONUS address. [includes shipping to U.S. based address, only. For foreign shipments, we will contact you with a quote.] SHIPPING: For shipment to a U.S.-based CONUS address, shipping is included in price. For purchases going to AK, HI, other US territories, Canada, or other foreign countries the shipping fees need to be calculated, so please call our office M-F 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET at 703-790-0320 or email providing following information: 1) your name, 2) mailing address (or addresses where each gift item will be shipped), 3) name of the AFIO store items you wish to purchase, 4) quantity of each, 5) your credit card number and expiration date, 6) amount (except for additional of shipping fees) authorized to charge, and 7) your phone number and email should we have questions. Foreign shipments fees will be calculated and estimates emailed to you, awaiting your approval.  Order this and other store items online here.

Roy Berkeley's "A Spy's London" - Original U.S. Edition - A Few Unsold Copies Available

In 'this remarkable book' (as intelligence historian and AFIO member Nigel West describes in his Foreword), the reader will be struck by the vibrancy of history made real. Author/AFIO member Roy Berkeley goes behind the facades of ordinary buildings, in the city that West calls 'the espionage capital of the World,' to remind us that the history of intelligence has often been made in such mundane places. With his evocative photographs and compelling observations, The 136 sites are organized into 21 manageable walks. But also a joy to armchair travelers. Among the sites: the modest hotel suite where an eager Red Army colonel poured out his secrets to a team of British and American intelligence officers; the royal residence where one of the most slippery Soviet moles was at home for years; the London home where an MP plotting to appease Hitler was arrested on his front steps in 1940. A few copies are available at only $20 a copy (postage to a U.S.-based address included). Telephone the office at 703-790-0320 or email to obtain one of these last copies.

CIA's In-house Gift Shop

One special benefit of AFIO membership is access to CIA's EAA Store.

After completing the required, quick pre-approval process for all AFIO members described here, you can purchase directly from the EAA online store their unusual logo'd gift items for self or colleagues. EAA on 20 October 2023 released the photo above, which features some of their newest CIA items and other gift suggestions.

Section I - CURRENTS

(Recent Events, Developments, Highlights)

Washington eyes giving Commerce Department new spy powers to stop tech drain to China - Washington Times, 26 Jan 24

It’s not just about business anymore. Efforts to transform the Commerce Department into America’s “19th intelligence agency” are quietly under consideration in Washington as lawmakers and Biden administration officials struggle to find new tools to stop the loss of strategic technology and intellectual property to China and other U.S. adversaries. Policymakers have discussed housing a new intelligence unit inside the Commerce Department, a long-term second-tier player in the Cabinet pecking order with the lead responsibility for export controls and foreign investment screening that supporters say will be crucial to the country’s growth. (Read more here.)

Ex-MI6 boss warns UK not equipped to deal with Chinese spies - itvX, 27 Jan 24

The former deputy head of MI6 has warned that the British intelligence service is not equipped to handle covert threats from Beijing. Nigel Inkster said his concerns stem from the basis that MI6 “clearly does have difficulties, in terms of language expertise and collective general historical and cultural awareness” when it comes to China. He told the i: “In 2015, the British government was talking about a ‘golden era’ of UK-China relations… Given that situation, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the security service isn’t where it might be.” During Lord David Cameron’s time as prime minister, he presided over the so-called “golden era” of relations between Britain and China. (Full article here.)

NSA admits to buying Americans’ web browsing data from brokers without warrants - Engadget, 26 Jan 24

The National Security Agency’s director has confirmed that the agency buys Americans’ web browsing data from brokers without first obtaining warrants. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) blocked the appointment of the NSA’s inbound director Timothy Haugh until the agency answered his questions regarding its collection of Americans’ location and Internet data. Wyden said he’d been trying for three years to “publicly release the fact that the NSA is purchasing Americans’ internet records.” In a letter dated December 11, current NSA Director Paul Nakasone confirmed to Wyden that the agency does make such purchases from brokers. "NSA acquires various types of [commercially available information] for foreign intelligence, cybersecurity, and other authorized mission purposes, to include enhancing its signals intelligence (SIGINT) and cybersecurity missions," Nakasone wrote. "This may include information associated with electronic devices being used outside and, in certain cases, inside the United States." (Full article here.)

Brazilian police raid Bolsonaro ally’s home over illegal spying allegations - The Guardian, 25 Jan 24

Federal police agents have raided the home and offices of Brazil’s spy chief under the former president Jair Bolsonaro as part of an investigation into the alleged illegal monitoring of thousands of people, including two supreme court judges and a key ally of the current president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Alexandre Ramagem, a former federal police chief who ran Brazil’s intelligence agency, Abin, during Bolsonaro’s 2019-22 administration, was targeted as part of an inquiry into a “criminal organisation” that allegedly used Israeli spyware to track Bolsonaro’s political foes. Six mobile phones, four laptops and 20 data storage devices were reportedly seized from Ramagem’s flat in the capital, Brasília, including a phone and a laptop belonging to Abin, for which he no longer works. Computers and documents were taken from his office. (Full article here.)

A call to secure our cell towers from Chinese spying - The Hill, 26 Jan 24

Last year, Americans were shocked when a Chinese surveillance balloon flew coast-to-coast over the entire United States. The balloon caused a public frenzy of concern about why China was spying and what classified secrets they might have found. But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been spying on us for over a decade in a much subtler way. Their surveillance tool of choice? Our cell towers. Over the past several years, Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE have infiltrated our communications networks by selling their equipment to providers at artificially cheap prices. Over time, this has enabled Huawei and ZTE to significantly expand their equipment’s presence in networks throughout the rural United States. For providers in rural areas operating on slimmer margins, cheap gear was a welcome option, and the risks associated with that gear were not yet well known. (Full article here.)

CIA, Mossad chiefs to hold ‘critical’ hostage talks with Qatari, Egyptian mediators - Times of Israel, 25 Jan 24

The directors of the Mossad and the CIA will meet Qatar’s prime minister in Europe in the next few days to discuss a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and a release of hostages, two officials briefed on the meeting said Thursday. CIA director William Burns and Mossad chief David Barnea will meet with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to discuss the release of the remaining 132 hostages taken on October 7 during Hamas’s murderous rampage across southern Israel, and a pause in fighting in the war-torn Palestinian enclave that is now in its fourth month. Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel will also participate in the meeting, said one source. Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar will also be there. (Full article here.)

China warns citizens against 'exotic beauty' traps of foreign spies - BBC, 25 Jan 24

China has warned its citizens against "exotic beauties" seeking to lure them into the hands of foreign spy agencies. The Ministry of State Security said a Chinese man, Li Si, went to a nightclub while on an overseas trip and was later blackmailed by foreign spies. The ministry's WeChat post's title read, "Hunting for beauty? You may become the prey".Analysts say such warnings reflect a sense of insecurity among China's leaders. The Ministry of State Security, which functions as China's intelligence and secret police agency, has increasingly been raising the alarm among citizens about the dangers of foreign spies. The ministry has also been making public the cases of people being arrested for espionage in China. Earlier this month, the ministry said Beijing had detained an individual alleged to be spying for Britain's foreign intelligence service, MI6.’t some commonplace Cessna 172 or Piper PA. No, his single-engine De Havilland has a history with Air America, a CIA-run initiative. (Full article here.)

NGA Launches National GEOINT Operations Center and CACI Wins $382 Million Army Contract to Support Military Intel - Clearance Jobs, 26 Jan 24

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has upped its game with the launch of the National GEOINT Operations Center (NGOC), an operational powerhouse designed to provide critical geospatial intelligence around the clock. Born out of decades of expertise, the NGOC consolidates various watch functions to deliver visual products and geospatial insights for swift decision-making to military and national-level leaders globally. Emphasizing its strategic significance, NGA Director Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth likened the NGOC to the National Security Operations Center, marking a significant leap forward in enhancing warfighting capabilities and communication channels. With the motto “We own the night!” the NGOC is poised to play a pivotal role in bolstering global situational awareness. (Full article here.)

Qatar to explore legal avenues after Fox News allegations of spying on US lawmakers - Middle East Monitor, 22 Jan 24

Qatar announced that it is “exploring legal avenues” after Fox News claimed Doha spied on American lawmakers opposed to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Qatari embassy in the US said in a statement yesterday that “all legal avenues are being explored against the reporter in question, who has previously been identified by other international media outlets as part of a coordinated anti-Qatar campaign spanning many years.” The Qatari embassy’s comment came after Fox News claimed that Qatar hired a former CIA agent to discredit Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz and other lawmakers who oppose Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The network claimed to have obtained documents revealing the alleged espionage campaign funded by Qatar since March 2017, to undermine legislation and policies against Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The network quoted Cruz as accusing the Qatari government of spending billions of dollars on promoting and financing the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other “terrorist groups” before calling on the White House administration to reevaluate its relationship with Doha. (Full article here.)

DIA Innovates: Breakthrough Accommodation for SCIF Workspaces - Clearance Jobs, 23 Jan 24

At the recent DoDIIS (Department of Defense Intelligence Information System) Worldwide conference hosted by the DoD, the CIO of the DIA, Douglas Cossa, shared how his organization used their own ingenuity to transform how accommodation for those with hearing impairments was handled. His organization’s efforts did not stop at the door of the classified work environment. The solution included those whose work took them within Secure Classified Information Facilities (SCIF). The DIA’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office has been working diligently to create and sustain “an ecosystem that embodies “Inclusive Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA).” The DIA created a strategic plan to “address barriers, increase transparency, promote accountability, foster a culture of inclusive diversity, and provide accessibility and safety for all DIA officers.” The intent is clearly stated: “To achieve our mission, DIA depends on attracting and retaining the right people in the right places with the right talent.” (Full article here.)

MIT deciphered Mossad agents through financial network - Daily Sabah, 22 Jan 24

Türkiye's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) uncovered a network of Israel's intelligence service Mossad through the financial network the spies had used. On Jan. 2, MIT launched an operation against 46 suspects, 34 of whom were detained. Authorities ruled that eight of these are to be deported. Operations are underway to capture the other suspects. Authorities said operations were held in eight provinces against people suspected of involvement in espionage activities for Israel. MIT started to follow the network three years ago through the statements of another detained spy, Muhammed Salhab, who was studying medicine in Konya province and taking spying training from Mossad agents. In coordination with the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), MIT exposed the financial network. (Full article here.)

NGA to gather more unclassified economic, military intel from commercial sats - Breaking Defense, 22 Jan 24

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is launching a new program designed to greatly expand intelligence and insights gleaned from unclassified sources for use by US and allied analysts. The focus of the effort, called Luno A, is primarily on data gathered by commercial remote sensing satellites, an NGA spokesperson told Breaking Defense. “Luno A will transform NGA’s approach for geospatial information and knowledge” and “expand access to data and services” for the National System for Geospatial Intelligence (NSG) network, by delivering data that enables “analysts to add context to analytic assessments, and have unparalleled insight into and data to quantify worldwide economic and environmental activity and military capabilities,” NGA’s Jan. 10 request for proposals (RFP) states. The NSG is made up of representatives of the US Intelligence Community, the Joint Staff, the military services, combatant commands, international partners (including from the Five Eyes nations), federal agencies and other civil users of geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). (Full article here.)

Indian Army Deploys Artificial Intelligence To Fight Pakistani Spies Trying To Honey-Trap Its Officers & Extract Information - Eurasian Times, 22 Jan 24

‘Honey-trapping’ has been one of the top methods in the guidebook of international espionage. Last year, a Pakistani spy posing as a girl honey-trapped a high-ranking defense scientist and made him divulge sensitive secrets, including information about the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Taking a cue from this, the Indian Army has developed a chatbot that, when deployed, will send messages to unsuspecting soldiers and try to gauge their gullibility to such traps online. In recent years, there have been multiple reports of military personnel and executives from Indian defense corporations being set up for deception by Pakistani intelligence operatives. Although honey trapping is a widely employed tactic by intelligence services worldwide, the Indian incidents are notable for taking place virtually rather than in person. Developed by the soldiers of the Territorial Army, the Chatbot will work through WhatsApp. The AI-based technology has been tested and will be deployed soon. Once deployed, it is envisaged that the commanding officer or another senior officer will be using the technology to chat with the men in his unit and figure out who is gullible to such traps. (Full article here.)

Counterespionage Corner - Recent Arrests, Convictions, Expulsions, and more...

  • Pre-trial detention for American reporter held in Russia extended through March - ABC News, 25 Jan 24
  • China confirms the 2022 conviction of a British businessperson on espionage charges - WTOP, 26 Jan 24

Cyberespionage Collection - Newly Identified Actors and Operations, Countermeasures, Policy, other...


(Research Papers, OpEds, Analysis, Podcasts)

GCHQ and the unions: A battle that shaped British politics - Tom Griffin on Intelligence History, 22 Jan 24

This month marks 40 years since Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher banned trade unions at GCHQ, Britain’s SIGINT agency. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is marking the anniversary with a march through Cheltenham, where GCHQ is based, on 27 January. The issue of labour representation at GCHQ had been a concern for successive governments for decades before Thatcher’s decision. In the mid-1950s, the involvement of communist activists in the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) attracted the attention of the CIA, and British officials began to fear that the ETU’s role at GCHQ represented a security risk. Unlike Thatcher three decades later, they were wary of overt intervention. Instead, they brought to bear a range of covert capabilities. According to Christopher Andrew, Whitehall used MI5 material against the communists in a number of unions in this period. The most successful of these campaigns was within the ETU. Selected trade union leaders, including the TUC general secretary, Sir Vincent Tewson, were briefed on the basis of MI5 information. (Full report here.)

Russian Information Warfare Strategy: New IWC Translation Gives Insights into Vulnerabilities - Irregular Warfare Center, 23 Jan 24

This Irregular Warfare Center (IWC) Insights article introduces and builds upon the IWC’s new translation of a Russian military article titled “Informational Support for National Security: Information Warfare Strategy.” This article, originally published in the 2016 issue of the Russian academic journal “National Security/nota bene,” gives new insights into how Russian scholars and practitioners view information warfare. Written by one of Russia’s most prolific authors on hybrid and information warfare and a member of Russia’s Academy of Military Sciences, Alexander Bartosh, the article reveals the similarities of Russian information warfare strategy in 2016 and 2022 and certain narrative vulnerabilities in the Russian approach. The translation can be requested here. (Full report here.)

Congress Must Strengthen Oversight on Intelligence Sharing and Civilian Harm - Just Security, 25 Jan 24

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) sent an important bipartisan signal through Section 439 of the FY 24 Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) that the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) must do more to track how intelligence-sharing with allies and partners may contribute to civilian harm. While the Department of Defense (DOD) is required to report to Congress when a U.S. military operation kills civilians, intelligence agencies – until now – have not been required by law to track or report instances when the United States provides intelligence support for operations that result in civilian harm. Section 439 imposes a requirement to do just that. Tracking and investigating how partners and allies use U.S. intelligence is important not only because of U.S. legal (and moral) culpability in the strikes it enables, but also to hold partners accountable and instill better civilian protection measures. As the United States continues to work more with partner forces, including through proxy warfare programs such as 127e and 1202, it will be even more crucial for Congress to keep tabs on how partners use U.S intelligence information.(Full report here.)

Intelligence-led investigations can curb Ethiopia’s kidnappings - Institute for Security Studies, 23 Jan 24

Kidnapping and extortion are on the rise in Ethiopia, with cases even reported beyond the country’s borders. Ethiopian Electric Power announced in October last year that six of its employees had been abducted and held ransom at an undisclosed location in the Oromia region. The kidnappers demanded 10 million Ethiopian birr (ETB) (about US$1 million) in cash for the safe release of each victim – about 10 times more than previous ransom amounts. Cross-border kidnappings have been reported in several parts of the country. Some incidents involve ransom demands, such as the Ethiopian Electric Power case and another that saw Ethiopian gunmen crossing into Sudan in 2021. They abducted three merchants and demanded approximately US$9 000 for their release. But not all kidnappings are motivated by ransom. The recurring abductions of children in Ethiopia’s Gambella Region by armed groups from South Sudan are worrying – more than 275 children have been kidnapped in five years. Following Ethiopia’s 2018 transition, armed dissidents previously based in Eritrea established themselves in Ethiopia. While armed groups like the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA or OLF-Shene) are often blamed for these incidents, a lack of thorough investigation means reliable information is lacking. So, despite significant public concern, attention from law enforcement agencies remains limited. (Full report here.)

The future of Army deep sensing - U.S. Army, 22 Jan 24

Since the publication of the joint Army/Marine Corps Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) white paper in 2016, there has been a fundamental shift from supporting counterinsurgency to focusing on emerging near peer threats and supporting MDO efforts. As a leader in the procurement of state-of-the-art equipment and aerial sensor technology, Project Director Sensors-Aerial Intelligence (PD SAI) is working to deliver on the Secretary of the Army’s priority to provide the ability to see farther, see more, and see more persistently than our enemies and build the Army of 2030. The Army recognizes its existing fleet of turboprop aircraft is not adequate to meet requirements for the MDO against peer and near-peer adversaries. To replace these systems, the Army is pursuing the Multi-Domain Sensing System (MDSS) High Accuracy Detection and Exploitation System (HADES) program. “MDSS HADES will be the first program coming out of the MDSS family of systems and has successfully gone through the required Army acquisition shaping panel and was approved for program initiation in February 2023” said Dennis Teefy, PD SAI. “Through the HADES program, the Army will build a fleet of aerial ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] systems with SIGINT [signals intelligence], SAR/MTI [synthetic aperture radar/moving target indicator], and additional built-in capabilities.” (Read full report here.)

Our man in Brussels: The Insider has unmasked the GRU officer helping the Kremlin evade sanctions from his base in the heart of Europe - The Insider, 27 Jan 24

Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Viktor Labin has set up shop in Brussels, home to the European Commission and NATO headquarters. From his office in a nondescript seven-story building on the outskirts of the Belgian capital, Labin supplies Russian arms manufacturers with European-made coordinate-measuring machines, a high-tech machine tool critical in the production of the Kremlin’s hypersonic Kinzhal missile. The sanctions-busting operation has become a family business. Labin’s younger son runs the Moscow-based middleman that delivers his father’s shipments to end users in Russia, while his elder son pitches in by organizing pro-Kremlin protests across Europe. Despite the Labin family’s unabashed efforts to aid the Russian military-industrial complex, none of them has been placed on the European Union’s sanctions list. (Read here.)

From Espionage to Ransomware: Iran’s Strategic Assault on the West Revealed - Security Online, 25 Jan 24

Within the intricate webs of international cyber espionage, a comprehensive report by Insikt Group® has shed light on a clandestine network that marries the sophistication of digital warfare with the strategic interests of Iranian intelligence and military entities, notably those associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This network, spanning a spectrum of contracting companies, has been implicated in a series of cyber activities targeting Western countries, unveiling a complex orchestration of geopolitical maneuvering in the cyber realm. (Read here.)

Havana Syndrome: Directed Attack Or Cricket Noise? – Analysis - Eurasia Review, 24 Jan 24

In late 2016, 21 American and Canadian diplomatic personnel stationed in Havana, Cuba, experienced unusual and unexplained health problems. Although symptoms varied among those affected, the onset of illness was generally described as starting with hearing strange grating noises and feeling pressure in the ears coming from a specific direction and lasting less than 30 seconds. Other people nearby did not report any symptoms. Although most of those affected recovered with no residual symptoms, some had prolonged effects including hearing loss, memory loss, and nausea, and at least one individual now requires hearing aids. The etiology of the illnesses was undetermined, but speculation at the time centered on the possibility that these health effects resulted from a directed attack by means of either sonic or radio frequency energy. While not accusing the Cuban government of intentionally causing these “attacks”—intentionality even today remains unproved—both the U.S. and Canadian governments reduced embassy staffing to essential personnel only. (Read here.)

How the Role of OSINT Will Change in a Landscape of Data Abundance (53 mins) - The National Security Podcast, 24 Jan 24

What is open-source intelligence (OSINT)? How does big data influence our understanding of “good” intelligence? And does Australia need a dedicated OSINT agency in the National Intelligence Community? In this episode, Dr Miah Hammond-Errey and Ben Scott join Olivia Shen to discuss the increasing importance of open-source intelligence and big data in intelligence analysis, and the evolution required from intelligence agencies to keep up. Dr Miah Hammond-Errey is the Director of the Emerging Technology Program at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. Ben Scott is a Senior Advisor at the ANU National Security College, and has over 25 years of experience in diplomacy, intelligence and think tanks, including stints at the Lowy Institute and the Office of National Intelligence. Olivia Shen is a Director at NSC on secondment from the Department of Home Affairs. (Listen here.)

DIA CIO on Cybersecurity, Zero Trust, and AI (34 mins) - Inside the CI Podcast, 26 Jan 24

The Defense Intelligence Agency runs the federal government's top-secret IT network. DIA is in the middle of a major modernization of that network. And in addition to running new routers and switches, DIA also wants to upgrade to more network automation and help lay the groundwork for the intelligence community to leverage AI. Cybersecurity is also essential, both to defend against outside hackers and prevent insider threats. For the latest, I spoke with DIA Chief Information Officer Doug Cossa. (Listen here.)

Mis and Disinformation Considerations for OSINT (36 mins) - Jane's The World of Intelligence Podcast, 22 Jan 24

In this new podcast episode Harry Kemsley and Sean Corbett are joined by Amil Khan, the founder and CEO of Valent Projects, to delve deep into the implications of misinformation and disinformation for open-source intelligence. They identify the difference between misinformation and disinformation and how we can overcome these challenges to support open-source intelligence. (Listen here.)

Loose lips can still sink ships: Protect your Critical Information - Cipher Brief, 24 Jan 24

In the early stages of the Vietnam War, Pentagon officials were puzzled why U.S. bombing missions against northern Vietnam were yielding meager results. Accordingly, the U.S. Government investigated and, in what became known as the Purple Dragon study, concluded that U.S. forces were inadvertently revealing flight plan information to North Vietnam, which could then take evasive action. Addressing the challenge of keeping information on U.S. military strengths and vulnerabilities away from hostile forces became known as operations security—or OPSEC. Ultimately, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan directed elements of the Executive Branch that support classified or sensitive activities to establish formal OPSEC programs. Since then, OPSEC has been applied not just across the U.S. military and Intelligence Community, but in various private industries and other sectors. (Read here.)

The Latest from International Spy Museum Historian Andrew Hammond, PhD.

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.

23 Jan | Australian National Day Special: "Intelligence Down Under with John Blaxland" John Blaxland joins Andrew to discuss intelligence in Australia and Oceania. John is a widely recognized as a leading expert in this area. 


(Legacy Intel Practitioners' Informed Perspectives)

The Latest Insights from Former CIA Acting Deputy Director for Operations Jack Devine.

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.

25 Jan | Iran is actively destabilizing the Middle East- but Tehran’s pushing its limits on both the domestic and international fronts. Emboldened by deeper relations with Russia and China- and insufficient enforcement of sanctions on its petroleum products- Iran is seeing a violent start to 2024. But while Iran’s regional adversaries are feeling the immediate impact of an aggressive Tehran, nations that are more friendly to Iran are also likely to be negatively impacted by Iran’s maneuvers. (Full report here.)

Daily Analysis of Security Issues and Geopolitical Trends

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.

30 Jan | Egypt Strives to Contain Conflicts Raging Throughout the Region

Egypt, which maintains close ties to Israel, the United States, other Arab states, as well as some Hamas leaders, is a pivotal regional stakeholder in the multi-faceted effort to de-escalate and eventually bring about an end to the Israel-Hamas war. As an illustration of the significance of Egypt’s ties to all the parties to the war and to other mediators, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns met with the prime minister of Qatar as well as the heads of Egyptian and Israeli intelligence, Abbas Kamel and David Barnea, respectively, over the weekend. In November, Director Burns’ mediation efforts, working with the same counterparts, helped finalize a limited Israel-Hamas ceasefire and the release of 105 Israeli and third-country hostages captured in its October 7 attack on Israel. Nearly 180 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons in exchange. The Burns trip will attempt to forge another ceasefire and hostage release, potentially using the deal as a springboard to end the war and establish a roadmap to a broader Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. Moreover, the trip follows a visit by a top U.S. Middle East envoy, Brett McGurk, to Egypt and Qatar to try to bridge the divides holding up another round of hostage releases.

29 Jan | U.S. Escalation Likely after Troop Deaths in Jordan

26 Jan | NATO’s Quantum Technologies Strategy Highlights Intensifying Strategic Competition

25 Jan | The Taliban Continues its Crackdown on Women in Afghanistan

24 Jan | Violence Amplifies in Ukraine and Russia, Even as Battle Lines Remain Static

23 Jan | Iran Demonstrates Strength to Keep Adversaries at Bay

Former CIA Acting Director Michael Morell and former CIA Chief Operating Officer Andy Makridis on critical security challenges.

Intelligence Matters: The Relaunch is a Beacon Global Strategies podcast.

24 Jan | Chinese Cognitive Warfare: Josh Baughman Andy talks about the complexities and goals of China's cognitive warfare program with Josh Baughman, an analyst at the China Aerospace Studies Institute at Air University.

The Innovation Gap (43 mins) with Former NSA Chief of Innovation Kevin Keaton - State Secrets Podcast, 28 Jan 24

Former NSA Chief of Innovation Kevin Keaton left his government job last year – before the age of retirement - to accept a role as a founding partner at a venture capital firm.  Today, he’s focused on closing a gap between government and the private sector that he believes is a serious issue when it comes to U.S. national security.  In his first podcast interview since leaving government, State Secrets sat down with Keaton to talk about what he sees as the ‘innovation gap’, China is exploiting it, and how he’s now working from the private sector, to try and close it. (Listen here.)

Costly failures of intelligence by former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman - New Age, 28 Jan 24

The investment in intelligence collection and analysis continues to grow, and the failures of intelligence grow as well. In some of the most costly failures, the intelligence collection was adequate, occasionally spot on, but the analysis was inadequate. For example, Pearl Harbour in 1941; the October War in 1973; the 9/11 attacks in 2001; and, most recently, the October 7th attack in 2023 could have been prevented. In the 1973 and 2023 failures, the Israelis had authoritative knowledge far in advance of the attack. In 1941 and 2001, the United States had sufficient information to prevent the attacks. There are also examples of inadequate or flawed intelligence that led to unnecessary force that incurred great costs in terms of blood and treasure. The Bush administration, including the Central Intelligence Agency, went to war against Iraq in 2003 on the basis of politicised intelligence. The CIA director at the time was George Tenet, who left government the following year with the highest presidential award that can be given to a civilian — the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Vice-president Dick Cheney visited the CIA on at least eight occasions to tell the agency’s analysts what the White House wanted in the way of finished intelligence, and the CIA, for the most part, complied. (Read more here.)

CIA Operations Officer Bob Dougherty on Keeping the World Safe (96 mins) - The Kuderna Video Podcast, 26 Jan 24

Bob Dougherty worked for over 25 years as an undercover Operations Officer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He has deep operational experience having personally managed and carried out multiple high-profile missions in the US, Europe, Central America, South America, and Middle East that lead to the capture of several most-wanted terrorists and the dismantling of their networks. Bob has successfully worked against foreign terrorist groups such as The Islamic State, Al-Qaida, Hezbollah, HAMAS, Sendero Luminoso, Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, the Japanese Red Army, and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In addition, Bob has extensive experience in working against Iranian state sponsored terrorism, and government of Iran intelligence and procurement operations worldwide. He’s received over 20 service awards during his career with the CIA. During the time period before and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Homeland, Bob worked as the senior CIA officer on a FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) – which provided him substantive experience working the terrorism target inside the U.S. and in foreign countries through “over the horizon” operations. Bob has served as a subject matter expert instructor on terrorism and countering terrorist cells inside the U.S. and overseas. He is a senior instructor on Human Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism for U.S. military special operations elements including Naval Special Warfare, SEALS, and U.S. Army Green Beret units. Bob is part of the guest speaker network of SpyScape and one of his major counter-terrorist operations (the capture of Abu Abbas) was subject of a recent episode. (Watch here.)

Opinion: It’s frightening to imagine what Donald Trump could do with the CIA in a second term by former senior CIA operation officer Douglas London - CNN, 24 Jan 24

Could a reelected former President Donald J. Trump use the CIA’s unique authorities, capabilities and insulation from public scrutiny to take action against his political enemies? The answer was “yes” well before Trump’s lawyer argued that he would be immune from prosecution for directing SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival — unless first impeached and convicted by Congress. In fact, it would be even easier for Trump to turn the CIA into his own Praetorian Guard. Last March, the former president told supporters at a political rally, “I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution.” What could be better than a powerful and elite secret organization insulated from public scrutiny, whose rules he can rewrite with near impunity to defile the Constitution? The CIA’s operating guidelines have been primarily set by executive orders which can be changed with the stroke of a pen — and for good reason. As the nation’s first line of defense and collector of last resort, its size and flexibility facilitates innovation and the authority to quickly realign resources. (Read more here.)

Unwinnable Wars: Afghanistan and the Future of American Armed Statebuilding new book by former CIA military analyst and analytic methodologist for security issues in Afghanistan and South Asia Adam Wunische - Polity Publishing, 23 Jan 24

In nine short days, Taliban forces destroyed two decades of American armed statebuilding in Afghanistan. This was no isolated failure. Over the last century, almost every attempt to intervene militarily to prop up or reconstruct an allied state has seen similar dismal outcomes. Why? This book answers that fundamental question. By exploring the factors that hindered success in Afghanistan, Adam Wunische identifies forces common to other unsuccessful U.S. armed statebuilding missions, from Vietnam to Syria, Haiti to Iraq. These forces, he argues, inherently favor insurgencies, forfeit sustainability for quick results, and create dependencies and corruption – all of which undermine the goal of building a state that can stand on its own. Not only that, but most of these forces are inescapable and uncontrollable. This means any future attempts at armed statebuilding will likely also be unwinnable, with costs and consequences far outpacing America’s interests and benefits. Faced with a future likely dominated by proxy wars, Wunische offers a novel way forward to prevent the U.S. from chasing new wars that it is destined to lose. (Purchase here.)

The US is hamstringing itself in its spy war with China by former senior CIA operations officer Douglas London - The Hill, 24 Jan 24

FBI Director Christopher Wray routinely warns of the near apocalyptic threats and consequences from Beijing’s massive counterintelligence campaign. China’s spying aims to secure the military advantage observers caution might enable it to prevail in a war with the U.S. — a war that is likely to incur unprecedented American casualties. Despite China’s current conditions offering the CIA a limited window of opportunity, we might not be able to seize it because of a congressional process that perennially underfunds it. China’s intelligence appetite is massive, as is the espionage enterprise that feeds it. A Center for Strategic and International Studies study reflects just some of the resulting significant damage. But look more closely, and there’s a pattern of duplicative effort and problematic tradecraft that the CIA can exploit. (Read here.)

Why Putin’s World View Matters citing former senior CIA operations officer Rolf Mowatt-Larssen - Cipher Brief, 23 Jan 24

“It’s about the future, who runs the world. Vladimir Putin made it clear when he started this war in Ukraine it’s about shaking up the status quo, not trying to preserve it. So, the idea that we in the West have of going back to the status quo, where the U.S. led the global order, is not something that Vladimir Putin – and I would say many of his new allies also — would agree with.” That was Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, long-time CIA operations officer, and Cipher Brief Expert, speaking last Wednesday, during a Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) webinar on Putin’s War and Putin’s World, although he talked about much more than just Putin. He also spoke about “a world that is changing dramatically around us…The possibility of strategic surprise is much greater for the United States and our policy formulation and execution. The idea that our norms, our means, our methods, our organizational structure may not be up to the 21st Century.” His words got me thinking that it’s worth stepping back once in a while from dealing with today’s events and instead look more broadly at Russia, its President Vladimir Putin and the world we share. But first, a bit about the person taking us on this trip. (Read here.)

Netanyahu Has Got to Go with former Army intelligence case officer Jeff Stein - SpyTalk, 24 Jan 24

When I got back from Vietnam some 50-plus years ago, all I wanted to do was get on with my life. My experience in the war as an Army intelligence case officer had dispelled any doubts that I’d had when I’d first arrived in Saigon that the war was not only a loser, but criminal. After a year there I’d firmly concluded that the wreckage we unleashed on that benighted country and its peoples far outweighed the lofty goals Washington claimed for continuing the war at its murderous rate. Now back home in Boston in 1970, I suppressed my rage and depression about the war and focused on finishing college, finding a mate and deciding on a career, possibly teaching world history to adolescents so that they might avoid the trap of knee-jerk patriotism and their own Vietnam. Alas, two events soon upended my deliberate disinterest: The U.S. invasion of Cambodia, an insane expansion of the Indochina battlefield, and then publication of the Pentagon Papers, which confirmed my many suspicions about the criminal origins and prosecution of the war. But it was the devious Nixon administration’s backing of South Vietnam's corrupt and compromised leadership, moreover, that was the main impediment to any kind of “win” in the war, much less any kind of peace, in the near future. (Read here.)

Held Hostage (26 mins) by former CIA Acting Deputy Director for Operations Jack Devine and former government Intelligence Analyst Julia Stone - Arkin Group's Straight from the Shoulder Podcast, 23 Jan 24

Given that hostage taking is again in the spotlight after the October 7 Hamas attacks, what is the latest status of Washington’s hostage policy? What can we learn from a review of the past several decades of hostage crises worldwide? And is it possible for Americans to avoid hostage situations in the coming years, even while tensions between democratic and non-democratic countries appear to be on the rise? Join Jack and Julia for a thoughtful discussion about the recent history of hostage taking, where we grapple with the question of how to best respond to the threat, and what the future might hold. On this episode, we’ll consider: The evolution of hostage threats to US citizens- from Latin America to the Middle East; How and why the United States has historically decided to respond to hostage takers, and the use of both policy and force in deterrence; Why democratic societies are more susceptible to hostage crises in the first place, and what this means for our collective future. (Listen here.)

Gen Z and CIA is a Relationship in Need of Counseling by former CIA Executive Marc Polymeropoulos - Cipher Brief, 29 Jan 24

As a mere “wretched pensioner” in retirement (words taken from my good friend and former CIA colleague Doug Wise), I spend a great deal of time talking to recently retired CIA officers about the state of the outfit today, particularly in the Directorate of Operations (DO). A side of the CIA that inspires myth and legend, it is a unique and relatively small club of individuals that battled the Soviet Union and helped the US win the Cold War, worked assiduously against a global terrorist threat, saving countless US lives, and now has been front and center in resisting Russian aggression. All of this was done in the shadows, mostly with little fanfare. Saddling up to tackle our nation’s greatest challenges was the hallmark of a DO officer. Our nation calls, we answer. Yet something appears to be off in the DO workforce today. As I make the rounds, common themes have emerged about the new Generation Z (‘Gen Z’) officer cadre that I find both encouraging but also troubling. They are smarter than ever. They are tech savvy. More than likely, many of us old timers would never have made it through the recruitment process. It is harder to get in to the CIA than it is to be admitted to Harvard. It is not the intellectual acumen of this new generation that is an issue. (Read here.)

Deadly Drone Strike in Jordan Makes Things ‘Different’ for the U.S. by former CIA Executives Ralph F. Golf and Glenn Corn - Cipher Brief, 29 Jan 24

The White House said Monday that the situation in the Middle East is “different” after a deadly strike that killed three U.S. Service members in Jordan over the weekend. “We have three families that just got the worst possible news,” White House Spokesman John Kirby told reporters from the White House podium on Monday. “That’s different.” As the President considers his options for response, some members of Congress are calling for retaliatory attacks inside Iran, as Tehran denies responsibility. The Cipher Brief spoke with former senior CIA Officers Ralph Goff and Glenn Corn – both with extensive experience in the Middle East – about retaliation, deterrence and why it’s critical that both parties in Congress come together to address Iran’s continued backing of proxy groups targeting the U.S. presence in the region. (Read here.)

A Tale of Two Elections by former NIO for East Asia Carl Ford - The Footnote, 29 Jan 24

In February 1986 I was serving as the National Intelligence Officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council (NIC). I suppose in time spent, I worked harder and longer on the Philippines in the NIC than any other issue. It was a time of the New People’s Army (NPA) insurgency, Ferdinand Marcos, and Cory Aquino. Producing anything on the Philippines was more complicated than usual by the fact that both the President and Director Casey considered Marcos a swell guy, maybe even a friend. My travels from one end of the archipelago to the other and back again during my time on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee helped me sort through all the information coming out of the Philippines. I quickly discovered that, like me, no one in the Intelligence Community had any love lost for Marcos. As I wrote in a memo to Casey, “Marcos isn’t even a good authoritarian,” and “is the Philippines’ worst enemy.” Everyone agreed that most, if not all of the country’s troubles, could be traced back to him. The government’s failure to provide even a basic level of security, its focus on the cities with little attention given to the problems of the countryside, and its abject failure to provide a fair and efficient judicial system went far in explaining the dangers posed by the communist insurgency. The government never maintained a permanent presence far beyond the cities, creating vast areas of the Philippines captive to the NPA’s intimidation. All the while, Ferdinand and his friends were growing rich and living the high life in Manila. (Read here.)


(All Categories)

Article: More companies expected to disclose email hacks by Russian intelligence - Washington Post, 26 Jan 24

Security experts expect many more companies to disclose that they’ve been hacked by Russian intelligence agents who stole emails from executives following disclosures by Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in the past week. Microsoft said late Thursday that it had found more victims and was in the process of notifying them. A spokesperson declined to say how many. But three experts in and out of government said that the attack was deeper and broader than the disclosures to date reveal. Two said that more than 10 companies, and perhaps far more, are expected to come forward. The experts spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to maintain relations with the victims. The Securities and Exchange Commission last year strengthened the rules that require companies to notify their stockholders of computer intrusions that could have a material impact on company results. That helped spur the recent disclosures. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: Access to this article may require a one-time, free registration or a paid subscription.)

Article: U.S. Secretly Alerted Iran Ahead of Islamic State Terrorist Attack - Wall Street Journal, 66 Jan 24

The U.S. secretly warned Iran that Islamic State was preparing to carry out the terrorist attack early this month that killed more than 80 Iranians in a pair of coordinated suicide bombings, U.S. officials said. The confidential alert came after the U.S. acquired intelligence that Islamic State’s affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan, known as ISIS-K, was plotting to attack Iran, they said. American officials said the information passed to Iran was specific enough about the location and sufficiently timely that it might have proved useful to Tehran in thwarting the attack on Jan. 3 or at least mitigating the casualty toll. Iran, however, failed to prevent the suicide bombings in the southeastern town of Kerman, which targeted a crowd that was commemorating the anniversary of the death of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds force. Soleimani was killed in a January 2020 drone attack near the Baghdad airport ordered by then-President Donald Trump. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: Access to this article may require a one-time, free registration or a paid subscription.)

Article: US Spy Agencies Want to Use AI, but It Needs to Pass a Crucial Test First - The Messenger, 26 Jan 24

The U.S. government is considering incorporating more artificial intelligence into its spying operations — but first it has to figure out which AI models can resist tampering and protect the country’s secrets. The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a small unit inside the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is evaluating AI models to determine how they prevent bias and other forms of corruption and how they safeguard the data they analyze. “The intelligence community wants to avail itself of the large-language models out there, but there are a lot of unknowns,” Tim McKinnon, who runs IARPA’s Bias Effects and Notable Generative AI Limitations (BENGAL) project, told Bloomberg. “The end goal is being able to work with a model with trust.” (Read full report here.)

Article: Biden to send CIA chief to advance new hostage release deal - Diplomatic by Laura Rozen, 25 Jan 2024

President Biden will dispatch CIA Director Bill Burns to Europe in the coming days to try to help broker a new deal to secure the release of over 100 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in exchange for an extended cessation of hostilities in Gaza, the Washington Post reported today. The planned talks involve Burns as well as Israel Mossad chief David Barnea, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamal, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani. They come as Israeli media reported that a tentative agreement on the principles for a deal to release all the remaining hostages in exchange for an extended cessation of hostilities has been reached. Israel and Hamas “have reached tentative agreement on the basic principles for a 35-day ceasefire, the release of all Israeli hostages, and of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners” from Israeli jails, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported tonight, citing a source familiar with the negotiations. (Read more here.)

Article: DEI hires pushed onto the FBI are putting the country’s safety at risk for the sake of being ‘woke’ - New York Post, 24 Feb 24

An alarming deterioration in recruitment standards for the FBI has been exposed in a report delivered to the House Judiciary Committee by an alliance of retired and active-duty agents and analysts. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) requirements pushed by FBI Director Chris Wray have degraded recruitment standards in all areas including “physical fitness, illicit drug use, financial irregularities, mental health, full-time work experience and integrity,” and pose a threat to the FBI’s ability to protect America from harm, say the authors. The report cites cases of new agents who are so fat and unfit, they can’t even pass the new relaxed standards for fitness; who are illiterate and need remedial English lessons; who don’t want to work weekends or after hours; have serious disabilities or mental-health issues, and “create drama.” (Read full report here.)

Article: Two Belgian brothers and a Chinese spy - Le Monde, 22 Jan 24

What happens after the story is published? Le Monde looks back at Chinese influence in Europe via two Flemish far-right politicians. Our article led to the opening of an investigation, and to the Belgian government writing the offence of foreign espionage into law. What we said: "For at least three years, from 2019 to 2022, a Chinese spy regularly exchanged messages with Frank Creyelman, a former Belgian MP (2007-2014). According to hundreds of messages obtained by Der Spiegel, the Financial Times and Le Monde, the intelligence officer, calling himself Daniel Woo, solicited the member of the Vlaams Belang (VB, a far-right Flemish party) to gather confidential information, approach potential sources and speak positively about the Chinese government. Woo was an agent of the Zhejiang State Security Department, a provincial offshoot of the Ministry of State Security, Beijing's main intelligence service. He particularly intended to influence Europe's position on the Covid-19 pandemic, the oppressed Uyghur minority and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. For these various missions, Woo invited Creyelman to an all-expenses-paid beach resort in southern China and paid him in cryptocurrency."... (Read full report here.)

Article: China’s feared spy agency steps out of the shadows - Financial Times, 22 Jan 24

The slick ad from China’s feared spy agency, the Ministry of State Security, opens with the shadow of an agent walking through a dark tunnel, a scene reminiscent of the cover of a John le Carré novel. “Who am I?” asks a mysterious voice. “I am this silhouette by your side . . . I face the ever-changing world and the surging tide of darkness.” The dramatic ad, which references natural disasters, urban unrest and a pandemic, was released to mark National Police Day this month and is the latest sign of China’s premier intelligence agency emerging from the shadows to tout its role fighting “subversion, separatism, terrorism and espionage”. This month, the agency, which has increasingly publicised its investigations, accused Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, of instructing a foreign consultant to spy on China. Last year, it claimed to have arrested a Chinese national working for US intelligence services. Analysts say the growing public profile of the MSS is part of President Xi Jinping’s increasing focus on security, as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong seeks to tighten his hold on the country. (Read full report here.)

Article: We Must Accept the Truth: Western Academics Are Russian Intelligence Targets - The Moscow Times, 25 Jan 24

The case of Dr. Vyachelsav Morozov, the professor of political science at Tartu University who was arrested by Estonian police and is now being prosecuted on charges of engaging in espionage for Russia, has brought to the fore concerns about Russian spies targeting academics and related professionals in Western countries. Like Morozov, I am an academic who has visited many countries in the post-Soviet region over more than twenty years. His arrest has stirred up distressing thoughts for me and other colleagues. It has also solidified my impression that members of our profession are at significant risk from the intelligence services of Russia and other hostile authoritarian regimes. However, the concerns raised by this incident go far beyond this specific case. I know Dr. Morozov only very minimally, by correspondence, and will not comment on his possible guilt or innocence. He should and will have his day in court. Estonia is a credible rule-of-law state, and I trust that the case will be handled fairly. (Read full report here.)

Article: FSB pushes border opening with Finland, 18 walkers crossed illegally on Thursday - Barents Observer, 25 Jan 24

The group of illegal border crossers consisted of men, women and children, the Finnish border guard informs. All 18 have asked for asylum, and preliminary information indicates that they are from the Middle East. It is illegal to cross the border in the terrain anywhere along the 1,340 km land border between the two countries. Following an FSB-supported wave of migrants in the autumn of 2023, Finland’s Government decided to close all eight legal checkpoints to Russia. In January, it was decided to keep the border crossings closed until February 11. Meanwhile, the FSB border guard service in Karelia, in charge of the borders with northern Finland and Norway, promotes that the Russian checkpoints are still open. (Read full report here.) (NOTE: Access to this article may require a one-time, free registration or a paid subscription.)

Article: Putin's Spokesman Responds to CIA Efforts to Recruit Russians - Newsweek, 23 Dec 23

Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, mocked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on Tuesday for posting a video that attempts to recruit Russian intelligence officers to work as double agents. The CIA posted the video on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Telegram on Monday. The Russian-language clip is designed as a message to Russian intelligence agents, trying to convince them to work with the U.S. by addressing the alleged corruption of Putin's government. The Russian state news agency Tass reported that Peskov joked that the ClA should have posted the video on VKontakte, a social media platform that is widely used in Russia. "Somebody should tell the CIA that VKontakte is much more popular here than the banned X, and that VKontakte has a much larger audience," Peskov said. (Read full report here.)

Article: China Raises Private Hacker Army To Probe Foreign Governments - Newsweek, 18 Jan 24

China has inadvertently raised a private army of hackers to help it discover vulnerabilities in overseas computer networks thanks to a cybersecurity law that makes it mandatory to first inform the Chinese government. In July 2021, China's cyberspace watchdog, its public security ministry, and its industry ministry jointly published the Regulations on the Management of Network Product Security Vulnerabilities, which make Chinese companies report loopholes in their software or the products they use within 48 hours of discovery. Under the rule, the Chinese state institutions issue rewards for finding the cybersecurity vulnerabilities in software that is often used by foreign governments, in what may be a subtle new form of state-backed cyber warfare. At the same time, China is promoting young cybersecurity engineers in a doubling of its efforts to probe foreign systems for areas the Chinese government can exploit. (Read full report here.)

Article: Iran Assassination Network Hired Hells Angels to Kill Dissident Who Fled to US, Treasury and Justice Departments Say - The Messenger, 29 Jan 24

The Justice Department unsealed an indictment on Monday that alleged an international assassination network based in Iran attempted to have a dissident who fled to America killed by hiring hitmen from the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Canadian national Damion Patrick John Ryan, 43, who is a member of the outlaw motorcycle group Hells Angels, is said to have worked closely with Iranian narcotics trafficker Naji Sharifi Zindashti, 49, between the dates of December 2020 through March 2021 to plan the assassination a person who defected from Iran and fled to Maryland, according to a statement from the Justice Department. Ryan was set to be paid $350,000 for the killing. (Read full report here.)

Article: Israeli intelligence docs detail alleged UNRWA staff links to Hamas, including 12 accused in Oct. 7 attack - CBS, 29 Jan 24

An Israeli intelligence document shared on Monday with CBS News and a number of other Western news outlets spells out allegations against a dozen U.N. employees whom Israel says participated in Hamas' Oct. 7 terror attack. The document claims seven staff members of UNRWA, the U.N. humanitarian agency that helps Palestinian refugees, stormed into Israeli territory during that attack, including two who participated in kidnappings. The allegations against UNRWA staffers prompted the U.S. and some other Western countries to freeze funds vital to the work of the agency, which is a lifeline for desperate Palestinians in war-torn Gaza. The U.N. fired nine of the 12 accused workers and condemned "the abhorrent alleged acts" of staff members. The accusations come after years of tensions between Israel and UNRWA over its work in Gaza, where it employs roughly 13,000 people. (Read full report here.)

Article: Fake Spies and Potential Traitors: Russia’s Paranoia Swells - The Messenger, 29 Jan 24

Russia’s paranoia has just reached new heights — unsurprisingly, as all dictatorships always see enemies everywhere. Sergei Naryshkin, director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, the SVR, recently declared that all Russians who studied in the United States are potential enemies whom their supposed puppet masters in the West might use to disrupt Russia’s forthcoming presidential elections in mid-March. Naryshkin’s worries are, for the most part, absurd. The United States knows full well that Vladimir Putin’s reelection is a done deal — as is, his predictably phenomenal share of the vote — and that Washington has no way of affecting these outcomes. If Russians decide to protest — a possibility that one shouldn’t ignore or underplay; recall the post-election mass protests of 2010-2011 — they will do so because of their own outrage at the regime’s manipulation of their vote. If the United States really had the ability to produce mass disturbances in Russia, it would have done so many times in the past, and popular protest would be a daily occurrence in Russia. But the United States didn’t, and the protests aren’t. (Read full report here.)

Article: Lithuania bans its soldiers from visiting Russia, Belarus and China citing espionage risks - Free Press Kashmir, 26 Jan 24

Lithuania has banned its military personnel, border guards and police officers from visiting Russia, Belarus and China while off duty, citing espionage concerns. Vilnius claimed the three countries pose “threats to the security of Lithuania and its citizens.” Along with fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania has repeatedly suggested that Russia is planning to invade it, ever since Moscow launched its military campaign against Ukraine in February 2022. Belarus, which borders Lithuania and Latvia, is one of Moscow’s closest allies, and has hosted Russian tactical nuclear weapons since last summer. Meanwhile, relations between China and the US and its allies in NATO – of which all three Baltic states are members – have been on a downward spiral in recent years, in particular over the issue of Taiwan. Citing the alleged threat of “espionage” by the Russian, Belarusian and Chinese intelligence and security services, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry has declared that a travel ban to these three countries for service personnel is justified, national broadcaster LRT reported on Wednesday. (Read full report here.)

Article: Twenty spies detained in Latvia over eight years - Eng.LSM.Lv, 23 Jan 24

Last year, on suspicion of espionage and other illegal activities on behalf of Russian special services, VDD detained the largest number of persons so far – 10 people in total. That's as many as over the previous seven years together. “Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, VDD has been paying heightened attention to suspicious and potentially pro-kremlin activities. In response to the increase in various threats, the service is rolling out a much broader set of measures to identify persons supporting Russia. It has also increased its operational capabilities in recent years,“ the service said. In 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, the VDD detained one person each year on suspicion of espionage. Five persons were detained on suspicion of unlawful cooperation with Russian special services in 2021. in 2022, one person was detained on suspicion of espionage on behalf of the Belarusian Special Service. Ten persons have so far been found guilty of espionage in Latvia. (Read full report here.)


Books — Forthcoming, Newly Released, Overlooked

The British and American Intelligence Divisions in Occupied Germany, 1945–1955: A Secret System of Rule
by Luke Daly-Groves
(Palgrave MacMillan, 25 Jan 24)

This book provides the first history of the British and American Intelligence Divisions (IDs) in occupied Germany and the liaison between them. It reveals that after the fall of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, much of Germany was controlled by an Anglo-American secret system of rule which was the real backbone of the occupation and largely explains its successful outcomes. Based in Heidelberg, the American ID was the senior American military intelligence organisation in occupied Germany, responsible for the security of American forces in Europe. The British ID, based in Herford, was a purpose-built intelligence organisation designed to ensure the security of the British Zone of Germany and to help achieve the Allied occupation objectives. The IDs undertook military, scientific, security, political, and state-building intelligence tasks which each form the focus of a chapter in this book.

Purchase book here.

The Lion And The Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy
by Alexander Rose
(Mariner Book, 06 Dec 22)

In 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, two secret agents—one a Confederate, the other his Union rival—were dispatched to neutral Britain, each entrusted with a vital mission. The South’s James Bulloch, charming and devious, was to acquire a cutting-edge clandestine fleet intended to break President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate ports, sink Northern merchant vessels, and drown the U.S. Navy’s mightiest ships at sea. The profits from gunrunning and smuggling cotton—Dixie’s notorious “white gold”—would finance the scheme. Opposing him was Thomas Dudley, a resolute Quaker lawyer and abolitionist. He was determined to stop Bulloch by any means necessary in a spy-versus-spy game of move and countermove, gambit and sacrifice, intrigue and betrayal. If Dudley failed, Britain would ally with the South and imperil a Northern victory. The battleground was the Dickensian port of Liverpool, whose dockyards built more ships each year than the rest of the world combined, whose warehouses stored more cotton than anywhere else on earth, and whose merchant princes, said one observer, were “addicted to Southern proclivities, foreign slave trade, and domestic bribery." From master of historical espionage Alexander Rose, The Lion and the Fox is the astonishing, untold tale of two implacable foes and their twilight struggle for the highest stakes.

Order book here.

Ethics of Spying: A Reader for the Intelligence Professional (Volume 0) (Security and Professional Intelligence Education Series, 8)
by Jan Goldman (editor)
(Scarecrow Press, 11 Jun 09)

Intelligence professionals are employees of the government working in a business that some would consider unethical--the business of spying. This book looks at the dilemmas that exist when one is asked to perform a civil service that is in conflict with what that individual believes to be 'ethical.' This is the first book to offer the best essays, articles, and speeches on ethics and intelligence that demonstrate the complex moral dilemmas in intelligence collection, analysis, and operations that confront government employees. Some are recently declassified and never before published, and all are written by authors whose backgrounds are as varied as their insights, including Robert M. Gates, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; John P. Langan, the Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Professor of Catholic Social Thought at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University; and Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia and recipient of the Owens Award for contributions to the understanding of U.S. intelligence activities. To the intelligence professional, this is a valuable collection of literature for building an ethical code that is not dependent on any specific agency, department, or country. Managers, supervisors, and employees of all levels should read this book. Creating the foundation for the study of ethics and intelligence by filling in the gap between warfare and philosophy, Ethics of Spying makes the statement that the intelligence professional has ethics.

Order book here.

True Intelligence Matters in Film - Spymaster - Andrew Wallerstein (2022)

The astonishing true story of Sidney Reilly, the Ukrainian-born secret agent and model for James Bond who spied against Russia for more countries than most people visit in a lifetime. Follow the definitive biography of the most enigmatic, dangerous, and influential spy in history as he plays a deadly game against Russia from his native Odesa to New York. Featuring award-winning author and foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer as well as Reilly biographer and acclaimed intelligence historian Richard B. Spence.

More information about this based-on-true-events production here.

Intelligence in History - A Collection of Recent Content

Infographic: The World’s Top 25 Defense Companies by Revenue - Visual Capitalist, 27 Oct 23

Every year, the world’s most powerful countries spend billions of dollars on defense—but where does this money actually flow? To gain insight, we’ve ranked the world’s top 25 defense companies by 2022 revenues, using data from Defense News. Note that our graphic shows each company’s revenues from defense, and not total revenues. This is because many companies such as Boeing also generate revenue from non-defense related industries and sectors. The data we used to create this graphic is listed in the table below... (View graphic here.)

Walking Tours - "Spies of Embassy Row" and "Spies of Georgetown" - 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

Section VI - Obituaries and Classifieds

(Research Requests, Academic Opportunities, Employment)


Gerry Gossens — Career CIA Operations Officer

Gerry Francis Gossens, 90, a 40-year resident of Salisbury, died in Middlebury, Vermont on January 18th, 2024. Born in Henderson, Texas to German immigrants and a proud first-generation American, in childhood he lived in Texas, Little Rock, Arkansas and Cincinnati, Ohio during World War Two. While his father worked on the Big Inch Pipeline in Beirut Lebanon, he graduated high school from the American Community School of Beirut, Lebanon in 1951. Gerry was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, class of 1956. He liked to talk of the night as a Midshipman that he stood Radar Watch on a destroyer leading a fleet through the Straits of Gibraltar, and being initiated into the Order of Neptune on an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic, on a cruise to Brazil. Lieutenant, US Air Force, 1956-1959, pilot and intelligence officer. Gerry always marveled at the near-death experience that got him out of flying. As an intelligence officer assigned to Project Blue Book, he was given a car with no heat and a broken window to investigate UFO reports, most of which he found amusing for the rest of his life. He then worked briefly at the Grey Tool Company, Houston Texas, in the Texas oil fields before being recruited in 1960 by the Central Intelligence Agency, where he spent the next 25 years. After Junior Officer Training and Operations training, he accepted a Long-Term Deep Cover job in Beirut, Lebanon, as a sales rep for Outboard Marine Motor Company from 1961 to 1964. During this time, he traveled throughout the Middle East, and he and Nancy adopted their children Jim and Christine in Switzerland. In the late 60’s he was stationed in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, Congo, and he then spent the 1970s as Chief of Station in Conakry Guinea, Tunis Tunisia, Lusaka Zambia and Pretoria South Africa. In Conakry, he was often face to face with one of the most violent and psychopathic despots in Africa, Sekou Toure, and was always proud that he was able to stop the forced deportation of a Polish family whose daughter was friends with his children. During his time in Tunis, he met Yasser Arafat of the PLO, President of Egypt Anwar Sadat and US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. He also was involved in negotiations to free the passengers of a hijacked British airliner. In Lusaka and Pretoria, he was the CIAs intelligence source into the Rhodesian War of the late 70s – he always said that Robert Mugabe was a thug and a thief, and time proved him right. He also managed CIA involvement in the Angolan rebellion against Portugal and Cuba. Every now and then in Lusaka, some scary guys showed up at our door, men fighting for freedom in a tumultuous place at a wide-open time. In 1980, after being PNG’d (persona non grata) from South Africa, he went to work at CIA headquarters in Langley and was involved in senior staff work at the Agency’s highest levels. This was followed by two years as the Deputy Chief of Station in Paris France. Gerry became involved with the Salisbury Selectboard, then was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives, where he served two terms. This was followed by four years on the Water Resource Board of Vermont, and then two terms in the Vermont State Senate, before finally retiring a second time, this time for good.

Research Requests and Academic Opportunities

  • Call for Information: A documentary on the life and death of Swiss photographer Bruno Zehnder needs some help. His family members received information that Bruno may have been approached by the CIA in the 1990s to help inform on Russian research activity in Antarctica. Bruno died whilst on a 1997 expedition there at Mirny under questionable circumstances as he was dubbed ‘ the western spy’ on board. We are looking for anyone who may have any information in Bruno or more generally who may be able to speak to the climate between Russia and the CIA in the 19980s/90s regarding adhering to the scientific treaty and the race to be the first to breach Lake Vostok. Contact Thomas Whitmore at
  • Call for Information: Private civilian researcher seeking information about VADM Eric Burkhalter and Colonel Roy Jonkers working in the Defense Intelligence Agency during the period of 1980 to 1985, and VADM Burkhalter’s activities as Director, Intelligence Community Staff during that time. Contact Thomas Whitmore at
  • Call for Information: Professor Emerita Joan Beaumont, Australian National University, Canberra, is currently revising, for republication in 2025, her 1988 book on Australian prisoners of war on Ambon, Gull Force: Survival and Leadership in Captivity. The POW at Tan Tui (Tan Toey), Ambon, was bombed twice during the war, on 15 February 1943 and 28 August 1944. These raids were two of many on the island. I am trying to ascertain whether the presence of the POW camp was known to the USAAF and RAAF when they set targets for bombing the island. The existence of the POW camp was reported by men who escaped back to Australia in March–April 1942 and reported to Army Headquarters in Melbourne. This information was shared with senior US naval officers (Vice Admiral Leary vetoed a proposed rescue plan in June 1942). My question: would this intelligence have been forwarded to air force bases in the Norther Territory? And how were targets for bombing raids set? The Australian official history of the air war in the Pacific by George Odgers (vol. II 41) suggests that the squadron involved in the 15 February 1943 bombing might have been no 319, 90th Bombardment Group, based at Fenton. Any information that might be germane to my research should be sent to or +61418376909.
  • National Intelligence Summer Academy (NISA) for High School Students: 15-19 July 2024. University of Northern Georgia - Cumming Campus. $149 fee covers meals, course materials, and the motor coach travel on the last day of the program. Scholarships available. Application deadline 15 April 2024. More information, including eligibility and application, here.
  • Call for Interviews: Alex W. Palmer, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, is working on a book about the history of American intelligence on China. He's looking to speak with any intelligence officers who worked in or on China during their career, from whatever timeframe and in whatever role. He can be reached at and +1-262-894-7160 on Signal.
  • Call for Information: Dr. Andrew Hammond and Dr. Mark Stout are seeking interviewees for a journal article on the CIA’s Office of Soviet Analysis (SOVA). The final output will be based on oral history interviews which can be (a) on-the-record (b) off-the-record or (c) utilizing a pseudonym. The data will be used for this project only and thereafter destroyed. Our aim is to understand how people who served in SOVA or who worked alongside SOVA made sense of it: what was it like, what was its culture, what were its strengths and weaknesses, how did it relate to the rest of the CIA and other agencies, is there anything we can learn from SOVA re the new era of Great Power Conflict, etc.? If you served in SOVA during the period 1981 to 1992 and would like to be interviewed, please contact Dr. Andrew Hammond at
  • Call for Information: Seeking information on Al "Albert" Purdum, stationed at Arlington Hall 55, Defense Language School - Albanian 55-56, NSA Linguist, Sr. Cryptologist 57-95. Looking for colleagues or friends who knew him, of him. Researching Role of National Security Linguists and Foreign Affairs. Contact
  • Call For Articles: AFIO's Journal, The Intelligencer. AFIO seeks 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:

    - The Richard Sorge espionage ring in Tokyo in World War II and the impact of his intelligence on Stalin and the battle for Moscow.
    - How Rommel’s Afrika Korps used SIGINT against the British in World War II and how allied SIGINT isolated the Afrika Korps from its logistics chain. (Potentially two separate articles.)
    - The breaking of the Nazi U-boat SHARK encryption system.
    - How A.Q. Khan’s nuclear proliferation efforts were uncovered and stopped.
    - How US intelligence found Usama Bin Laden in Abbottobad, Pakistan.
    - How US intelligence discovered the Soviet’s high speed Shkval torpedo.
    - Intelligence and the rescue of Scott O’Grady.
    - The Trust (Bolshevik deception operation -1920-26).
    - The hunt for Pablo Escobar.
    - How National Technical Means (NTM) have been used for environmental purposes (MEDEA Program).
    - Other topics are also welcome.

    Interested authors can contact The Intelligencer's senior editor, Peter Oleson, at


  • Wanted: Retired Federal Government Employees - NSA - Fort Meade, Maryland
  • The National Security Agency (NSA) may occasionally need skilled civilian retirees to augment the existing work force on high priority projects or programs. In order to fill these temporary positions quickly, we need to know who may be interested and available to return to work with us on a short notice basis as well as their skills. Retired federal government employees at NSA provide expertise and corporate knowledge to temporarily support mission requirements, manpower shortfalls, and/or mentor the next generation of Agency employees. Applications accepted until 30 September 2024.

    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.

Section VII - AFIO Events

Monday, 5 Feb 2024, noon CST - The San Antonio AFIO Chapter Intelligence Briefing on the Communist Chinese Military Goals - In-Person, San Antonio, TX

The San Antonio AFIO Chapter will have its next meeting on 5 Feb 2024 (a Monday) at 12 (noon) at Blue Skies of Texas West. The topic will be the modernization of the Communist Chinese military and para military forces and the Communist Chinese Party's plans on how they will use these forces as they advance toward becoming the Earth's global power. Chinese planners considers the neutralization of US power projection to be one of their most important goals. The presentation will be done by John Franklin, the AFIO San Antonio chapter president from unclassified materials provided to Congress. Blue Skies of Texas West members are invited to attend the program.

San Antonio AFIO Chapter members attending the meeting are to identify to the Blue Skies gate guard that you are coming for the Intelligence briefing in the Roadrunner Lounge in the Towers. AFIO visitors should use the parking lot in front of the main building which is straight ahead from the gate. AFIO members may purchase a variety of lunch meals in the cafeteria. The presentation will be in a meeting room (the Roadrunner Lounge) adjacent to the cafeteria.
Here is the link to the Blue Skies Texas West which will provide orientation to the organization and their campus.
An address to put in you phone or GPS it is: 5100 John D. Ryan Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78245
Questions to John Franklin, President, AFIO San Antonio Chapter, at or 210 863-0430.

Saturday, 10 Feb 2024, 1130 (EST) - The AFIO Florida Satellite Chapter hosts David Hunt, retired Senior Operations Officer of CIA's Clandestine Service, discussing "Intelligence in Flux." - In Person, Indialantic, Florida. The Florida Satellite Chapter is hosting David Hunt, retired Senior Operations Officer of CIA's Clandestine Service. He will address "Intelligence in Flux."
Event commences at 11:30 AM at the Doubletree Hotel, 1665 North State Route A1A, Indialantic, FL 32903.
Mr. Hunt's' presentation will follow a sit-down lunch. The cost is $35.00 per person.
Questions? Or to attend, email Chapter President Laurence F. Sanford or call him at 978-502-3328.

NOTE NEW DATE: 30 July 24, 1900 (PST) - Former CIA Director General David Petraeus on challenges in Ukraine and across the Middle East - In-Person - Yorba Linda, CA - AFIO Los Angeles Chapter.
Location: Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, CA 92886. Following the presentation, we will meet at 2030 hours for dinner at Chilis Grill (18380 Yorba Linda Blvd.). If you plan to attend, please RSVP here. Questions? Contact Vincent Autiero, President, AFIO-Los Angeles Chapter, at

Events from Advertisers, Corporate Sponsors, Others

Friday, 2 February 2024, 6:00-9:00pm – Washington, DC – Spy Fest: Family Festival – In Person International Spy Museum Program. Could you be a spy? Now's your chance to find out! Do you have the savvy to beat a lie-detector? The smarts to break a top-secret coded message? The wits to create secret writing? Families are invited to find out how they measure up at the Museum's annual Spy Fest! Learn tradecraft from experts in the field and participate in spy skill challenges that will give KidSpy recruits and their handlers an insider's peek into the shadow world of spying—and who knows, there just may be a spy or two in your midst. Tickets are free of charge as a result of a generous donation from Booz Allen Hamilton. Museum admission is included in your ticket. All attendees must have a ticket. Visit

Thursday, 8-15 February 2024, All Day – Washington, DC – Member Appreciation Days – In Person International Spy Museum Program.For our 2023 Member Appreciation Days only, our members enjoy an additional one-time-use guest pass (redeemable between February 8 and 15), an exclusive membership gift (while supplies last), 25% off their purchases at the SPY Museum Store, and entrance to our member raffle to win an exclusive SPY swag gift bag! As part of these days, we will host a Members-Only Event on Saturday, February 10th. You can join SPY as a member online or by calling 202.654.2840. If you are a current member and have questions about Member Appreciation Days, please email Visit

Thursday, 8 February 2024, 6:30-8:30pm – Washington, DC – Spying Launched a Nation Whiskey Tasting Celebration with George Washington's Distillery – In Person International Spy Museum Program.Whiskey, spies, and rebellion: a winning combination for George Washington and for you this evening. Revel in the tales and tactics of the cunning spies George Washington depended on as we celebrate the Museum's newly updated exhibition Spying Launched a Nation. You'll enjoy afterhours access to the exhibit which features famed American actor Christopher Jackson telling the story of the Culper Ring. The Museum holds the original letter George Washington penned asking Nathaniel Sackett to set up a spy ring; Spying Launched a Nation is centered around this precious artifact. After exploring the exhibit, Steven T. Bashore, Director of Historic Trades and Head Distiller at George Washington's Mount Vernon, will lead you through a whiskey tasting. You'll try three whiskeys that show the progression of aging in barrels over time — in Washington's day it was all unaged rye! Join us as we cheers to Washington's innovative approach to spirits and spying on a wintery night in the month of his birth. Tickets are $150; members tickets are $130.  Your ticket includes tastings of three different whiskeys, hors d'oeuvres, and non-alcoholic beverages. Visit

Saturday, 10 February 2024, 10:00am – Washington, DC – Members Only: The Making of Spying Launched A Nation – In Person Members-Only International Spy Museum Program.This Valentine's Day season, in the spirit of love and gratitude, we are thrilled to invite all Spy Museum members to Member Appreciation Days. During Member Appreciation Days, join us for an exclusive look at the Museum's newly updated exhibition Spying that Launched A Nation. On Saturday, February 10th at 10 AM, Dr. Andrew Hammond, SPY's Historian and Curator, and Lauren vonBechmann, the Museum's Exhibitions Project Manager, will discuss the importance of the Culper Spy Ring, the history of the George Washington Spy Letter, and the making of a museum exhibition. Members are invited to a formal presentation in the Museum's Theater from 10 to 10:30 AM, followed by coffee and pastries and an opportunity to chat with members of the Spy Museum team. This event is free of charge and open exclusively to Spy Museum members. You can join SPY as a member online or by calling 202.654.2840. Visit

Tuesday, 13 February 2024, 7pm – Washington, DC – WWI Series Part I: Flirting with Danger with Janet Wallach – Virtual International Spy Museum Program. Join us for a two-part look at World War I-era intelligence and operatives. As modern American intelligence took shape and intelligence personnel became essential to any senior wartime commander, the traditional spy in the shadows thrived as well. Marguerite Harrison was just such a spy. This evening Janet Wallach, author of Flirting with Danger: The Mysterious Life of Marguerite Harrison, Socialite Spy, will introduce you to this daring and glamorous woman who became a US spy and Russian double agent. Dining with aristocrats and dancing with socialists late into the night, she watched as alarming signs emerged from a broken Germany in the aftermath of World War I. Harrison saw the future in both places – a second war with Germany, a cold war with the Soviets – but was little believed back home. Wallach has written extensively about notable women in history, and she brings to life this courageous woman who was drawn to danger and adventure. After Wallach's presentation and a brief interview by Amanda Ohlke, Director of Adult Education at the International Spy Museum, we'll turn to your questions about this turbulent period and extraordinary individual! Support for this program has been provided by a generous grant from the Pritzker Military Foundation, on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Visit

Thursday, 15 February 2024, 12:00-1:00pm – Washington, DC – Spy Chat with Chris Costa ft. Special Guest Uzi Arad – Virtual International Spy Museum Program. Join us for an online discussion of the latest intelligence, national security, and terrorism issues in the news. Spy Museum Executive Director Chris Costa, a former intelligence officer of 34 years, will be joined by Uzi Arad, former Head of Israel's National Security Council.  Arad is a well-known strategist and thought leader who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Yuval Ne'eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security at Tel Aviv University. Arad served as National Security Advisor to Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu and Head of the Israeli National Security Council between 2009 and 2011.  He was Netanyahu's Foreign Policy Advisor from 1997 to 1999. Between 1975 and 1999 Arad served with Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service. He held senior positions domestically and abroad and was advisor to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He ultimately became Director of the Intelligence Division. Prior to his career in government, Arad was a Professional Staff Member at the Hudson Institute in New York and a Fellow at Tel Aviv University's Center for Strategic Studies. Program is free of charge but requires advanced registration. Visit

Tuesday, 27 February 2024, 2:00-3:00pm – Washington, DC – SPY with Me: Program for Individuals with Dementia and their Care Partners – Virtual International Spy Museum Program. SPY with Me is an interactive virtual program for individuals living with dementia and their care partners. Join SPY as we use music and artifacts to explore some of our favorite spy stories. Programs last one hour and are held virtually through Zoom. To register, please email Shana Oltmans at Free but space is limited. Visit

Tuesday, 27 February 2024, 7pm – Washington, DC – WWI Series Part II: World War I and the Foundations of American Intelligence – Virtual International Spy Museum Program. In the second part of our WWI series, dive deeper into America's intelligence history with author and global security historian, Dr. Mark Stout as he discusses his new book World War I and the Foundations of American Intelligence. The book examines the army, navy, and State Department's increasing reliance on intelligence personnel around the globe during the Great War to create a new professional practitioner that transcended the Armistice to active peacetime service leading up to the founding of the Office of Strategic Services in World War II. Stout examines the breadth of American intelligence in the war, not just in France, not just at home, but around the world, and demonstrates how these far-flung efforts endured after the Armistice in 1918. For the first time, there came to be a group of intelligence practitioners who viewed themselves as different from other soldiers, sailors, and diplomats. Stout will also discuss how this gave the United States a solid foundation from which to expand to meet the needs of the second world war and the Cold War that followed. Support for this program has been provided by a generous grant from the Pritzker Military Foundation, on behalf of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. Visit

Gifts for Friends, Colleagues, Self

NEW Gray long-sleeved polo shirts with embroidered AFIO logo. Men's sizes only.
Show your support for AFIO with our new Gray Long-sleeve Polo Shirts. Shirts are shrink and wrinkle resistant of fine cotton with a soft, "well-worn, comfy" yet substantial feel. They feature a detailed embroidered AFIO seal. Get a shirt for yourself and consider as gifts for colleagues, family, and friends. Only $60 each including shipping.
Sizes for men, only: Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, and XXXL.  $60 per shirt.
Order this and other store items online here.

 NEW 20 oz ceramic Mug with color glazed logo. Made in America. Check out our new tapered, sleek AFIO coffee mug!! This handsome 20 oz. ceramic mug is made in the USA, has a white matte exterior, sports a beautiful navy-blue interior, and is dishwasher safe.  Order yours today! $35 per mug includes shipping to a CONUS address. [includes shipping to U.S. based address, only. For foreign shipments, we will contact you with a quote.] SHIPPING: For shipment to a U.S.-based CONUS address, shipping is included in price. For purchases going to AK, HI, other US territories, Canada, or other foreign countries the shipping fees need to be calculated, so please call our office M-F 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET at 703-790-0320 or email providing following information: 1) your name, 2) mailing address (or addresses where each gift item will be shipped), 3) name of the AFIO store items you wish to purchase, 4) quantity of each, 5) your credit card number and expiration date, 6) amount (except for additional of shipping fees) authorized to charge, and 7) your phone number and email should we have questions. Foreign shipments fees will be calculated and estimates emailed to you, awaiting your approval.  Order this and other store items online here.

Black short-sleeved polo shirts with Embroidered AFIO logo
Show your support for AFIO with our new Black Short-sleeve Polo Shirts. Shirts are shrink and wrinkle resistant of fine cotton with a soft, "well-worn, comfy" yet substantial feel. They feature a detailed embroidered AFIO seal. Get a shirt for yourself and consider as gifts for colleagues, family, and friends. Only $50 each including shipping.
Sizes for (M) men, only; Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL, and XXXL. $50 per shirt.
You may pay by check or credit card. Complete your order online here or mail an order along with payment to: AFIO, 7600 Leesburg Pike, Ste 470 East, Falls Church, VA 22043-2004. Phone orders at 703-790-0320. Questions? Contact Annette at:

PopSocket for cellphones or tablets
Show your support to AFIO while enjoying the convenience offered by our AFIO Logo PopSocket. The PopSocket is most commonly used as a stand and as a grip for your mobile phone or tablet; handy for taking selfies, watching videos, and for texting. The PopSocket looks like a small button or sticker which, when closed, sticks flat to your mobile device. However, its accordion-like design enables it to pop open for use. The benefits of using a PopSocket make it a must-have accessory for your mobile phone or tablet. It also aids in keeping your phone from slipping off your hand during use, falling, or breaking.
Price: $15. Order this and other store items online here.

Duffel Bags - Royal Blue and Black with Full Color AFIO Logo This duffel has it all when it comes to value, style and organization.
600 denier polyester canvas with polyester double contrast; D-shaped zippered entry for easy access. Front pocket with hook and loop closure. End mesh pocket Easy-access end pockets. Four durable, protective feet and built-in bottom board for added strength. Web handles with padded grip. Detachable, adjustable shoulder strap.
Dimensions: 11"h x 19.75"w x 9.75"d; Approx. 2,118 cubic inches
Price: $50. Order this and other store items online here.

Caps - Dark Navy with Navy AFIO Logo
An authentic silhouette with the comfort of an unstructured, adjustable fit. Fabric: 100% cotton. Unstructured. Fabric strap closure with adjustable D-clip. Price: $30. Order this and other store items online here.


Be informed on career opportunities in the U.S. Intelligence Community
Intelligence as a Career - with updated listings of colleges teaching intelligence courses, and Q&As on needed foreign languages, as well as the courses, grades, extracurricular activities, and behavioral characteristics and life experiences sought by modern U.S. intelligence agencies.

AFIO's popular 47-page booklet reaches thousands of high school, college students, university guidance offices, and distributed in classes teaching intelligence, to help those considering careers in the U.S. Intelligence Community.
This is the all new fifth edition.
The publication is also popular with University Career Guidance Centers, professors and academic departments specializing in national security, and parents assisting children or grandchildren in choosing meaningful, public service careers.
This booklet is provided online as a public service from the generosity of AFIO board, volunteer editors/writers, donors, and members.
We thank all for their support which makes this educational effort possible.
  Careers Booklet (new 2023 Fifth Edition) can be read or downloaded here

Guide to the Study of Intelligence...and...When Intelligence Made a Difference

"AFIO's Guide to the Study of Intelligence" has sold out in hard-copy.
It is available in digital form in its entirety on the AFIO website here.

Also available on the website here are the individual articles of AFIO's history project "When Intelligence Made a Difference" that have been published to date in The Intelligencer journal. More articles will be appear in future editions.

Address Technical Issues Or Unsubscribe

Some features of the email version of the WIN do not work for readers who have chosen the Plaintext Edition, some AOL users, and readers who access their email using web mail. You may request to change from Plaintext to HTML format here For the best reading experience, the latest web edition can be found here:

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Weekly Intelligence Notes (WINs) are a carefully selected collection of timely open source reports and announcements and other media focused on intelligence and related national security matters that is produced for non-profit educational use by AFIO members and WIN subscribers. WINs are protected by copyright and intellectual property laws. They may not be reproduced or re-sent without specific permission from the Producer. Opinions expressed in the materials contained in the WINs are solely those of the content creators listed with each item. Notices in the WINs about non-AFIO events do not constitute endorsement or recommendation by AFIO.

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