The EP-3 Aires is the electronic intelligence-gathering version of the P-3 Orion. It uses electronic snooping devices to ‘fingerprint’ foreign vessels, enabling intelligence staff to keep track of naval and commercial ship movements. While prowling the oceans, the EP-3 can monitor electronic communications over a large area; it is also capable of intercepting radar and radio signals from as far as 740 kilometers away. The US spying activities covered the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
The US has begun surveillance flights over rebel-controlled parts of Syria after presidential authorisation, officials said, a move that could pave the way for air raids against the Islamic State group. A US official told the AP news agency early on Tuesday that the flights had started, while two other US officials said earlier that Barack Obama had approved the flights. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said that the US wanted more clarity on the group in Syria, but declined to comment on the surveillance flights.
Peter Ho, Singapore’s Secretary of Defense, met with former US National Security Advisor John Poindexter and was introduced to the Dept. of Defense’s Total Information Awareness(TIA) aspirations. Singapore’s TIA program soon swelled to include nearly anything the government felt it could get away with gathering. The government used the data to do far more than track potential terrorists. It used the massive amount of data to examine — and plan for — nearly every aspect of Singaporean existence.
The existence of a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) communications installation atop Hong Kong’s tallest mountain – the 957 m-high peak of Tai Mo Shan – recently came to light. The PLA has refused to explain the facility’s purpose, claiming that “military secrecy” means it is “not appropriate for disclosure”, although it is extremely likely that it is an electronic and signals intelligence (ELINT/SIGINT) facility. If so, the facility will be similar in purpose to a British radar station based on Tai Mo Shan.
The Russian government and Cuba have agreed to reopen a massive Soviet-era spy base on the outskirts of Havana, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant. The base, just 150 miles off the coast of the United States, originally opened in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis. Russia shut the spy installation down in 2002 because of lack of funds and as a goodwill gesture toward the American government in what was then a better diplomatic climate. If it reopens, the listening post would be Russia’s only intelligence-gathering center in the Western hemisphere.
But by far the intelligence gathering ship FS Dupuy de Lôme will be the most controversial one. She is fitted with COMINT and ELINT equipment. Her helicopter pad might be used to launch and recover unmanned air vehicles which can carry additional intelligence gathering sensors. The ship is available for 350 days a year and active for 240 days. May be France is better in making strategic communication at a level that can be correctly interpreted by Russians by sending two spy ships to the back yard of the Russians.
GCHQ Has Entire Program For ‘Dirty Tricks’ Including Honeypots, Using Journalists, Deleting Online Accounts
Remember the story from last year about the NSA using dirty tricks, like spying on the porn habits of non-terrorists and then trying to leak them to discredit those (again, non-terrorist) individuals? Apparently, the UK’s version of the NSA is way ahead of the NSA on that. A new report by Glenn Greenwald and others at NBC, based on Snowden documents, shows that the GCHQ has an entire program dedicated to these kinds of attacks. When it comes to companies, they talk about disrupting business deals and ruining relationships
In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, Germany “is negotiating with the EU member states a European anti-espionage agreement,” the Süddeutsche and public broadcaster NDR reported. Such a pact had been discussed confidentially for months in Berlin and would commit the countries of the 28-nation bloc “to refrain from mutual espionage”, both political and economic, the daily said. The envisioned agreement “would allow surveillance only for previously agreed purposes such as combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” said excerpts of the Thursday report.
Sweden has sometimes been called the ‘Sixth Eye’ – referring to the English-speaking Five Eyes SIGINT alliance – suggesting a close working relationship between Sweden’s FRA and the NSA and GCHQ. New documents suggest that it has access to the XKeyscore tool, and has helped in the Quantum hacking program. Firstly, the NSA has granted the Swedish intelligence agency Försvarets Radioanstalt (the National Defense Radio Establishment known as the FRA) access to its XKeyscore program. XKeyscore is the front end that gives NSA agents and contractors the ability to search its huge databases.
This week, the embarrassment lay in the exposure of a real-life spying operation, with the clearest evidence yet that ASIS, apparently under political direction, had bugged the East Timorese cabinet room in 2004 to help Canberra arm-twist Dili over offshore gas fields. ASIO, the domestic spy agency, appeared to confirm the charge with a raid on the home of a former ASIS agent who had allegedly blown the whistle on the bugging operation. It also searched the premises of Canberra lawyer Bernard Collaery, who had been poised to call the former spy in legal action on East Timor’s behalf.
Concerns were raised tonight that Britain operates a top-secret listening post from its Berlin embassy to eavesdrop on the seat of German power. Documents leaked by the US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden show that GCHQ is, together with the US and other key partners, operating a network of electronic spy posts from diplomatic buildings around the world, which intercept data in host nations. An American intercept “nest” on top of its embassy in Berlin – less than 150 metres from Britain’s own diplomatic mission – is believed to have been shut down last week.
A veteran spy watcher claims Australia is playing a role in America’s intelligence networks by monitoring vast swathes of the Asia Pacific region and feeding information to the US. Spy expert Des Ball says Australia has been monitoring the Asia Pacific region for the US. He says Australia has four key facilities that are part of the NSA’s XKeyscore program. Senator Nick Xenophon says the Government must ensure Australians are not under US surveillance. Meanwhile, former NSA executive Thomas Drake has lifted the lid on spy practices.
The United States is tapping telephones and monitoring communications networks from electronic surveillance facilities in US embassies and consulates across east and south-east Asia, according to information disclosed by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden. A top secret map lists 90 surveillance facilities worldwide, including communications intelligence facilities at embassies in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Yangon. Dated August 13, 2010, the map shows no such facilities are located in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Japan and Singapore – the US’s closest allies.
While the revelations of Snowden open new fronts of Datagate for Usa, interesting details emerge on electronic intelligence system of Russia. Different lenses but a common risk, you need to stop now. Thus there are at least 3 versions of the Russian system: Sorm-1 for the interception of fixed and mobile phones; Sorm-2 for the surveillance of the Internet; Sorm-3 that collects information from all forms of communication that are stored for a long period of time. Among the information collected there are both content (recordings of telephone conversations, text messages, email) and metadata (time, duration and location of the call or connection, etc..).
NSA spooks risk alienating yet another US ally after new documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden apparently revealed extensive surveillance of Indian domestic politics as well as the country’s nuclear and space programs.
The top secret document, obtained by The Hindu, suggests American spying activity in the sub-continent has gone far beyond that claimed by US and Indian officials.
According to Agrell, Sweden sits in a geo-strategically important position with respect to the international signals intelligence system by having the ability to access cables that carry data traffic between the east and west. “Sweden sits on a pipeline filled with golden eggs,” he added. Last week, British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell revealed Sweden’s involvement as one of the United States’ most important partners in efforts to monitor internet communications across the globe.
GCHQ facilities in Cyprus are expected to play a key role in collecting intelligence which will inform any military strike against Syria despite Parliament last week voting against the UK joining in with any potential attack. The Cheltenham-based listening post has a presence on the island which is used to intercept messages from across the Middle East. The information gathered by the island facility, which is just 100 miles off the coast of Syria, is likely to be handed over to the US military ahead of any missile strike against President Bashar al-Assad.
The United States’ “black budget” for fiscal 2013 amounts to $52.6 billion (or $167 per American), and it details what The Washington Post calls a “bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny.” According to a new front-page story on Thursday, the Post says that it now has the entire 178-page classified budget summary as supplied by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. This entire budget comprises the annual expenditures for the NSA, the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and other spy and military agencies.
The unseen paths of the world’s information. The nation’s electronic espionage agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, is in a partnership with British, American and Singaporean intelligence agencies to tap undersea fibre optic telecommunications cables that link Asia, the Middle East and Europe and carry much of Australia’s international phone and internet traffic. Australia is connected to SEA-ME-WE-3 by a link from Singapore to Perth, and GCHQ’s bulk interception includes much of Australia’s telecommunications and internet traffic with Europe.
Glimmerglass, a northern California company that sells optical fiber technology, offers government agencies a software product called “CyberSweep” to intercept signals on undersea cables. The company says their technology can analyze Gmail and Yahoo! Mail as well as social media like Facebook and Twitter to discover “actionable intelligence.” Could this be the technology that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is using to tap global communications? The company says it counts several intelligence agencies among its customers but refuses to divulge details.
Teams of analysts at GCHQ now have the authority and the technical capacity to tap directly into the nervous system of the 21st century and peer into the lives of others. Dig deeper into the drily worded, acronym-filled files, and there are other insights about the challenges faced by GCHQ, and its own anxieties about meeting them. GCHQ has been tasked with finding the solutions, mindful that the potential rewards are high; never before has the agency had the opportunity to build such a complete record of someone’s life through their texts, conversations, emails and search records.
On Wednesday Bild published a major scoop, based on a document that was apparently sent by NATO to all the regional commands in Afghanistan back in 2011. This document laid out instructions for cooperation under a program called PRISM, which involved monitoring emails and phone calls, with access regulated by the U.S. Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS). This document naturally made its way to the Germans, who are somewhat controversially deployed in Afghanistan and, as Bild framed it, this meant the German government is lying about its PRISM ignorance.
How much are your private conversations worth to the government? Turns out, it can be a lot, depending on the technology. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 “activation fee” for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Smaller carriers Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. But snoop on a Verizon customer? That costs the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that, according to industry disclosures made last year to Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.).
Few outside the intelligence community had heard of activity-based intelligence until December, when the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency awarded BAE Systems $60 million to develop products based on this newish methodology. But ABI, which focuses not on specific targets but on events, movements and transactions in a given area, is rapidly emerging as a powerful tool for understanding adversary networks and solving quandaries presented by asymmetrical warfare and big data.
In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say. The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny.
Listening devices can help evaluate threats and safety levels of people in many situations. A wireless microphone or wireless listening device broadcasts surveillance conversations to a radio receiver or communications receiver. These are the most common: Concealable transmitters, these can monitor conversations in a room if gaining access is difficult, by using room transmitters, body wires, wireless microphones or similar. These listening devices are self contained, free-standing, and can be placed in a room where discovery would be unlikely yet close to where conversations take place.
Britain’s electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ has been covertly gathering information from leading internet companies through a secret US spy programme, it was reported today.
The Guardian said that it had obtained documents showing that GCHQ had access to the Prism system, set up by America’s National Security Agency (NSA), since at least June 2010. The documents were said to show that the British agency, had generated 197 intelligence reports through the system in the 12 months to May 2012 – a 137 per cent increase on the previous year.
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
A top secret federal court order reveals that the FBI and the National Security Agency are collecting the cell phone data of millions of Americans. Thedocument, obtained by The Guardian, compels Verizon Wireless to send the NSA information about all telephone calls made on the telecom’s network within the United States. Here are six quick things to know about the secret directive and its implications: Though the court order obtained by The Guardian only applies to Verizon, the Bush-era NSA database involved multiple carriers.
A high-tech United States surveillance tool which sweeps up all communications without a warrant was sent to New Zealand for testing on the public, according to an espionage expert.
The tool was called ThinThread and it worked by automatically intercepting phone, email and internet information. ThinThread was highly valued by those who created it because it could handle massive amounts of intercepted information. It then used snippets of data to automatically build a detailed picture of targets, their contacts and their habits for the spy organisation using it.
The FBI is asking for is the ability to fine those companies that don’t comply with a wiretap order, even if they’re technically unable to do so within a time limit set by the FBI.
In other words, if you can’t provide the feds with a back door to your system, the government will keep piling on fines until you go out of business. The idea, of course, is to compel companies that provide secure communications to also build in a means for the feds carry out get their wiretaps.
Should Facebook, Google and similar sites be forced to adapt their infrastructure so that the FBI and other law enforcement agencies can easily tap suspects’ communications in real time? That’s the impetus behind new wiretap guidelines being drawn up by a government panel, according to the Washington Post. The draft guidelines, championed by the FBI, would allow courts to impose escalating fines on any business that didn’t immediately comply with a court-ordered request for real-time communications interception, regardless of whether the Web service provider said such interception was technically feasible.
A group of radio monitoring enthusiasts dutifully log all of the broadcasts on the Air Force’s High Frequency Global Communications System. The HFGCS, stood up in 1992, is a reliable, redundant worldwide communications network that allows deployed aircraft to talk with fixed and flying command and control centers. There are 13 base stations across the world, ensuring virtual global coverage with plenty of overlap. The frequencies are published openly; the broadcasts are analog (although a digital transition is coming) and in the clear because secure telephones and secure HF radio networks don’t work well together yet.
The U.S. government is expanding a cybersecurity program that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country’s private, civilian-run infrastructure.
As a result, more private sector employees than ever before, including those at big banks, utilities and key transportation companies, will have their emails and Web surfing scanned as a precaution against cyber attacks.
During his nearly half-hour talk, CIA CTO Ira Hunt said that the agency is interested in “really big data,” or storage capacity on a scale unlike anything currently existing on the planet, so they can “connect the dots” with what’s happening in real time.“Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have, it drives us into a mode of, we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”“It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information,” he added, explaining that nearly all mobile phones now contain a camera, a microphone, a light sensor, an accelerometer and GPS, among other sensors.
It is a perennial problem in military operations that there is never enough satellite capacity to satisfy commanders’ gargantuan appetite for voice and data communications.
The bandwidth crunch is expected to worsen in coming years as the Pentagon increases deployments of remotely piloted aircraft for around-the-clock surveillance in many parts of the world. Anticipated requirements for satellite communications will far outstrip capacity, officials have predicted.
There are about 79 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide—and India’s government wants to hand its spy agency data on every one of them. In late 2012, back when it was still officially known as Research in Motion, the company behind BlackBerry handsets worked with the Indian government to enable surveillance of Blackberry Messenger and Blackberry Internet Service emails. But now India’s authorities are complaining that they can only spy on communications sent between the estimated 1 million BlackBerry users in India—and they want a list of all BlackBerry handsets across the globe.
Nearly 20 radio-based electronic surveillance centers will begin operating at the service of Russia´s Special Forces during 2013 as part of the priorities for strategic defensive rearmament, as announced by the government.
The official noted the radar are designed to monitor specific zones for antiaircraft missiles and reconnaissance. At the same time, the radar can detect more than 100 different types of objectives including planes, choppers, drones and missiles flying at different altitudes.
The Syrian soldier, whose name has been changed and will be known as Abu-Husayn for his own security and the safety of his relatives in Syria, has disclosed details of his encounter with Chinese intelligence operatives in Damascus. “I saw Chinese operatives visiting the Ministry of Defense. The regime purchased Chinese surveillance equipment and wiretapping devices. These operatives were teaching Syrians how to use these devices and technologies,” he said.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest: All of them could be the source of valuable intelligence that the UK’s intelligence agencies want to know about. And now, government eavesdropping and security agency GCHQ is developing new tools to sift through them for nuggets of useful data.
The Cheltenham-based organisation is recruiting maths, physics and computing experts to devise groundbreaking algorithms that will automatically extract information from huge volumes of speech, text and image content gathered “across the full range of modern communications media”.
Canadian spies’ ‘Camelot’: Defence hoping to attract world-class talent with $880M intelligence complex
Canada’s electronic spy organization says that the state-of-the-art headquarters now being built in an Ottawa suburb will make it a leader among its allies and attract the best and brightest of spies, according to newly released government documents obtained by The Ottawa Citizen.
When finished in 2015-16, Communications Security Establishment Canada’s new $880-million spy campus in Gloucester is expected to be home to more than 1,800 employees.
A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union shows a dramatic increase in the U.S. Department of Justice’s electronic surveillance of Americans under the Obama administration.
Documents obtained by the ACLU through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that under President Obama between 2009 and 2011, warrantless electronic surveillance requests by the Justice Department to spy on phone communications increased 60 percent from 23,535 to 37,616.
CleanIT is duplicating much of the work of the CEO Coalition (child protection), which is also financed by the European Commission. Both create “voluntary” rules for notification and removal of possibly illegal content, explained EDRI.
Within the “best practices” to be discussed described in the leaked document we can find: “removal of any legislation preventing filtering/surveillance of employees’ Internet connections”, “law enforcement authorities should be able to have content removed, without following the more labour-intensive and formal procedures for ‘notice and action” and “Governments should use the helpfulness of ISPs as a criterion for awarding public contracts.”
CitizenLab has exposed spying activity targeting Bahraini anti-government activists using a version of the FinFisher intrusion and remote monitoring capabilities made by Gamma International.
The FinFisher surveillance software attained notoriety during the Arab Spring when protestors in Egypt stormed the Egyptian state security headquarters and found documents showing that state security was in talks with Gamma to purchase the software.
The Federal Security Service (FSB) has put a stop to the illegal activity of a former security services officer and a private detective who were illegally gathering information on the private lives of high-ranking officials by unlafully wiretapping telephone conversations, the service reported on Monday.
“The flats and offices of former security services officer Smirnov and private detective Mikhaylenko, as well as the premises of private security firm Belgan, have been searched as part of the criminal case,” reads the report.
The NSA, the intelligence arm of the United States responsible for eavesdropping and code breaking, weathered criticism and high-profile legal challenges in 2005 for its warrantless wiretapping program, and now we have a decent idea of the sophisticated and controversial methods the NSA employs to penetrate global telecommunications networks. Still in the shadows, however, is a secretive joint program with the Central Intelligence Agency codenamed F6, but better known as the Special Collection Service.
The men and women of the Special Collection Service are responsible for placing super-high-tech bugs in unbelievably hard-to-reach places.
Infecting a computer with spyware in order to secretly siphon data is a tactic most commonly associated with criminals. But explosive new revelations in Germany suggest international law enforcement agencies are adopting similar methods as a form of intrusive suspect surveillance, raising fresh civil liberties concerns.
Information released last month by the German government shows that between 2008-2011, representatives from the FBI; the U.K.’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA); and France’s secret service, the DCRI, were among those to have held meetings with German federal police about deploying “monitoring software” used to covertly infiltrate computers.
The British government is preparing proposals for a nationwide electronic surveillance network that could potentially keep track of every message sent by any Brit to anyone at any time, an industry official briefed on the government’s moves says.
Plans for a massive government database of the country’s phone and email traffic were abandoned in 2008 following a public outcry.
But James Blessing of the Internet Service Providers’ Association says the government appears to be “reintroducing it on a slightly different format”.
Blessing said the move was disclosed to his association by Britain’s Home Office during a meeting in recent weeks.
Trapped In The Grid: How Net-Centric Devices And Appliances Provide Voluminous Information To Intelligence Agencies And Their Business Partners
The Internet has revolutionized our world. It has shaped the way most people live and think. The Internet can be used to bring families together or it can be used to organize riots around the world. At this point in time it is not enough to be able to access websites, music and games at home, we need devices that can do this as well as any desktop computer. Today we have tablets and smart phones and they have been built so that you can connect to the web from wherever you are. The massive appetites of Internet users have created fortunes for those who were quick to act on it.
Spies could now snoop on you through your TV, dispensing with the necessity of planting bugs in your room, according to CIA director David Petraeus.
The CIA says it will be able to ‘read’ these devices via the internet – and perhaps even via radio waves from outside the home, Petraeus added.
Everything from remote controls to clock radios can now be controlled via apps – and chip company ARM recently unveiled low-powered, cheaper chips which will be used in everything from fridges and ovens to doorbells, according to the Daily Mail.
AlterNet has assembled an incomplete list of spy technologies and surveillance programs, military and civilian, that can take to the air on drones. Here are eight things that could potentially be strapped to the UAV that may be flying over your head in the next few years.
1. WiFi and phone hacking: The Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (WASP) can break into WiFi networks and hack cell phones, according to Forbes. Jerry-rigged from an old army drone by two former military network security analysts, the spy plane comes with a Linux system and dictionary to help generate password-cracking words.
Plus, its antennas mimic cell phone towers, allowing the machine, allegedly, to tap into cell phone conversations and access text messages. “Ideally, the target won’t even know he’s being spied on,” one of the designers told Forbes.
India’s government is considering setting up a national agency to monitor Internet traffic as well as assess cybersecurity threats on a real-time basis.
The Times of India reported Monday that the proposal for a National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) was discussed at a “recent” meeting called by the country’s National Security Council Secretariat. Officials from India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), the Home Ministry, and army, were in attendance, it said.
The multi-agency NCCC is intended for “real-time assessment of cybersecurity threat in the country” and to generate “actionable report or alerts for proactive actions” according to minutes taken during the meeting.
The US government was accused of using a controversial spy station in Yorkshire to “subvert and destroy democracy” in a new report funded by the Joseph Rowntree foundation.
The report, based on an investigation led by Dr Steve Schofield into the Menwith Hill base near Harrogate, revealed for the first time the station’s integral role in military offensives – potentially including drone strikes – and corporate snooping.
The investigation found that the cost to the British taxpayer of hosting the base has been grossly downplayed while the alleged benefits to the local and national economies have been hugely exaggerated.
For people who face frequent needle jabs to treat chronic conditions, a new technology is on the horizon that might make treatment a lot less painful.
Researchers report that a new wirelessly controlled microchip, implanted under the skin, can safely and reliably give osteoporosis patients the daily dose of a drug that they need for at least 20 days in a row. The findings were presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Vancouver and published online Thursday in Science Translational Medicine.
According to the officers, S-MAC will be an intelligence ‘fusion’ centre for bringing together information from various agencies like Intelligence Bureau (India’s internal spy agency), the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the special branches of all the state police departments.
Intelligence wings of the enforcement agencies like Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax and the Customs will also coordinate with S-MAC units.
Officials said though the country had intelligence agencies at various levels, there was no coordination among the agencies at the ground level to work jointly on an intelligence input.
“It sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake” could be the theme song for a new spy satellite being developed by DARPA. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s latest proof-of-concept project is called the Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation (MOIRE), and would provide real-time images and video of any place on Earth at any time — a capability that, so far, only exists in the realm of movies and science fiction. The details of this huge eye-in-the-sky look like something right out of science fiction, as well, and it would be interesting to determine if it could have applications for astronomy as well.
Bringing India’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), at par with international spy agencies in terms of arming it with legal snooping powers, the government recently notified it as one of the eight agencies to intercept phone calls, emails and voice and data communications ‘domestically’.
The other agencies in the list are Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Technical Research Organisation and state police.
The third in a series looking at U.S. military operations in the Horn of Africa after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks
Starting in 2003, small teams of U.S. operatives would clamber aboard a civilian turboprop plane at a Nairobi, Kenya, airfield to embark on one of the most dangerous missions conducted by U.S. personnel in Somalia since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The teams combined CIA case officers and “shooters” from a secretive special operations unit sometimes called Task Force Orange, said an intelligence source with long experience in the Horn of Africa. “There were always at least two CIA case officers, and there were always at least two shooters,” the source said. “Everybody was armed.”
As the Police once sang , “Every breath you take and every move you make…I’ll be watching you,” and that seems to sum up the Italian Hacking Team services and what it pimps atIntelligence Support Systems (ISS) conferences . While there are many vendors at such conferences offered worldwide and allegedly for “lawful interception, criminal investigation and intelligence gathering,” some stand out as ethically and legally questionable. We know cyber cops need ways to go after the evil cybercriminal elements hiding in cyberspace, but it’s the “mass surveillance” and “without a warrant” that sets our privacy hackles on edge as that seems to assume anyone may be a bad guy needing monitored.
The mission to keep a closer eye on agents comes at a time when the intelligence community is also trying to open up the flow of information internally. At the intelligence technology magazine Defense Systems, Amber Corrin reports that some agencies are experimenting with using more open-source software and trying to take advantage of mobile apps. “When our content is easily accessible, when it’s usable within an open environment and with a different delivery model–those three [capabilities] are going to help us get to deeper analytics,” Letitia Long, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), said at a GEOINT symposium on Monday. “We free up the time of our analysts to be focused on the ‘so what?’ to be focused on the context, experiment with the new sensor data and the new phenomena, developing new analytic tools and techniques.”
A U.S. intelligence report for the first time links China’s largest telecommunications company to Beijing’s KGB-like intelligence service and says the company recently received nearly a quarter-billion dollars from the Chinese government.
The disclosures are a setback for Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s efforts to break into the U.S. telecommunications market. The company has been blocked from doing so three times by the U.S. government because of concerns about its links to the Chinese government.
This city now has five surveillance cameras watching traffic downtown, but next year’s Republican National Convention could bring hundreds more on the street and in the sky.
Among other things, officials are interested in:
• 164 cameras able to read a number 3 inches high at 300 meters in the day and identify people and vehicles at 100 meters in the dark. Many of these would be mounted on light poles.
• Two “unmanned aerial vehicles” that could hover for 20 minutes, fly in 20-knot winds and carry cameras with zoom lenses or thermal imaging capabilities.
Russia’s spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable “psychological” techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.
The federal security service (FSB’s) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as “home intrusions”. Typically the agents move around personal items – opening windows, or setting alarms – in an attempt to demoralise and intimidate their targets.
The FSB operation includes bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception.
The New York Police Department put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The documents describe in extraordinary detail a secret program intended to catalog life inside Muslim neighborhoods as people immigrated, got jobs, became citizens and started businesses. The documents undercut the NYPD’s claim that its officers only follow leads when investigating terrorism.
Following revelations by Bloomberg Markets Magazine that a spun-off intelligence unit of German electronics giant Siemens, Trovicor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP, a shadowy investment firm headquartered in Guernsey, had sold surveillance gear to Bahrain deployed against the pro-democracy movement, it has since emerged that Microsoft established an IT training program for Ministry of Justice and Interior officials in Tunisia.
A secret State Department cable published by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, 06TUNIS2424, “Microsoft Inks Agreement with GOT,” 22 September 2006, noted that “during the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum in South Africa July 11-12, the GOT and the Microsoft Corporation signed a partnership agreement that provides for Microsoft investment in training, research, and development, but also commits the GOT to using licensed Microsoft software.”
The export of high-tech products, included software suites employed for spying on political dissidents, are said to be closely regulated under U.S. law to prevent abuse by repressive governments.
Hackers sponsored by the Chinese government and other nations are collaborating with profit-driven malware gangs to infiltrate corporate networks storing government secrets and other sensitive data, researchers say.
In many ways, the relationship between state-sponsored actors and organized crime groups that target online bank accounts resembles the kind of mutually benefiting alliances found in nature everyday. Just as human intestines create the ideal environment for certain types of bacteria – and in turn receive crucial nutrients and digestive assistance – crimeware operators often cooperate with government-backed spies perpetrating the kinds of APTs, or advanced persistent threats, that have pillaged Google , RSA Security , and other US companies .
To the potential benefit of state-sponsored hackers, profit-driven malware gangs frequently have control of large numbers of infected machines belonging to government contractors  and Fortune 500 companies. Because most of the machines never conduct business online, they may not represent much of an asset to the criminal gangs, which often allow the infected machines to sit dormant for months or years.
Reports suggesting South Africa’s intelligence agencies are in fresh turmoil are likely to be discussed by Parliament’s joint standing committee on intelligence (JSCI) when it convenes on Wednesday.
The committee is supposed to act as a watchdog over the country’s intelligence services. Its chairman, ANC MP Cecil Burgess, confirmed on Sunday that the matter would be raised.
An official silence reigned on Sunday on allegations suggesting a major stand-off between State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele and the country’s three top intelligence bosses.
Both The Sunday Independent and City Press reported that ministry spokesman Brian Dube had confirmed on Friday that Gibson Njenje, the head of the State Security Agency (SSA) – previously known as the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) – had resigned “with immediate effect”.
Following successful field tests at White Sands Missile Range, the Army placed orders a new force-protection system that combines several technologies into one platform.
Nicknamed Kraken after the mythological sea-creature with untold tentacles, The Combat Outpost Surveillance and Force Protection System (COSFPS) integrates radar, unmanned sensors, surveillance cameras, remote-controlled weapons, and gunshot detection into an interface controlled by a couple of soldiers with a laptop.
Ali Soufan is a long-time FBI agent and interrogator who was at the center of the U.S. government’s counter-terrorism activities from 1997 through 2005, and became an outspoken critic of the government’s torture program. He has written a book exposing the abuses of the CIA’s interrogation program as well as pervasive ineptitude and corruption in the War on Terror. He is, however, encountering a significant problem: the CIA is barring the publication of vast amounts of information in his book including, as Scott Shane details in The New York Times today, many facts that are not remotely secret and others that have been publicly available for years, including ones featured in the 9/11 Report and even in Soufan’s own public Congressional testimony.
Shane notes that the government’s censorship effort “amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath…
The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as “rakers,” into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They’ve monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as “mosque crawlers,” to monitor sermons, even when there’s no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.
Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit.
A veteran CIA officer, while still on the agency’s payroll, was the architect of the NYPD’s intelligence programs.
In the hands of autocrats, the surveillance gear is providing unprecedented power to monitor and crush dissent — a phenomenon that Ben Wagner of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, calls “push-button autocracy.”
The technology has become pervasive. By the end of 2007, the Nokia Siemens Intelligence Solutions unit had more than 90 systems installed in 60 countries, according to company brochures.
Besides Bahrain, several other Middle Eastern nations that cracked down on uprisings this year — including Egypt, Syria and Yemen — also purchased monitoring centers from the chain of businesses now known as Trovicor.
Dominicans are reeling from news that the government of Dominica through the National Joint Intelligence Committee (NJIC) has been discretely spying on the activities and actions of several Dominicans over the last few months.
The NJIC is a secret outfit allegedly set up by the authorities, and comprising of security officers of the Dominica Police Force. It is said to be headquartered at the sixth floor of the Financial Services Building in Roseau.
News of the spying came after Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan inadvertently released a report he received from the NIJC concerning the meetings held by opposition groups at the beginning of the year.