Category Archive 'Espionage'
14 Jul 2013
Gordon Chang notes the numerous details pointing to Snowden operating in collaboration with China.
By that time, there was no point for China to give Snowden a Beijing palace where he could pet phoenixes.
“Ask yourself: if I were a Chinese spy, why wouldn’t I have flown directly into Beijing? I could be living in a palace petting a phoenix by now.” So wrote Edward Snowden in the middle of last month, in a live chat with readers of London’s Guardian.
Today, the famous 30-year-old cuts a pathetic figure, presumably still marooned in the transit zone in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. He has, we are told, remained there since June 23, when he arrived, without passport or Russian visa, on an Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong. Snowden, through the assistance of the WikiLeaks organization, has filed a reported 27 requests for asylum. Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, offered him refuge on Friday, and Bolivian leader Evo Morales followed suit on Saturday, but China has yet to welcome him.
Beijing’s refusal to accept Snowden suggests he is not a Chinese agent, at least if we accept the premise of his argument outlined for the readers of the Guardian. Nonetheless, there are aspects of his relationship with the People’s Republic of China that are, at the very least, unsettling.
As an initial matter, China may have helped him gather information from the National Security Agency. Sources in the American intelligence community suspect the famous “leaker” was really a “drop box,” receiving information from others in NSA who were working for China. It was his job to act as the courier.
This theory explains how Snowden could possess information to which he did not have access. It is possible he figured out how to bypass barriers in NSA’s systems, but it is more likely he had help. Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reports that the FBI is investigating whether Snowden obtained documents “from a leak inside the secret FISA court.” Similarly, Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, has suggested Snowden probably had an accomplice in the NSA who gave him information.
Beijing may also have encouraged Mr. Snowden to leave Hawaii. One of my sources indicates that Chinese intelligence, either directly or through FBI personnel working for China, tipped Snowden off that NSA investigators were closing in on him.
There still is no proof of this allegation, but it is telling that Snowden chose to run to Hong Kong. At first glance, that city is a curious choice for someone trying to avoid American justice. It has the equivalent of an extradition agreement with the U.S. — as a non-sovereign it technically “surrenders” suspects, not extradites them — and a well-known history of close cooperation with American law enforcement. The Guardian, referring to Snowden, stated that “he believed that it was one of the few places in the world that both could and would resist the dictates of the U.S. government.” In view of Hong Kong’s record of regularly turning over suspects to America, this had to mean Snowden thought Beijing would step in to protect him.
Why would he ever think that? It seems clear that Snowden, if he did not actually work for the Chinese, at least did their bidding. He insisted, for instance, that the Washington Post time its initial disclosures so that they would occur on the eve of last month’s “shirtsleeves” summit between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. When the Post refused to give a guarantee — we learned this from Wolf Blitzer’s June 10 interview with the paper’s Barton Gellman — Snowden dealt mostly with the Guardian, which evidently proved to be more pliable. The timing of the Guardian’s disclosures benefited the Chinese enormously, changing the global narrative from Chinese hacking to American surveillance. …
The Chinese then did their best to make sure that American officials did not get the opportunity to interrogate Snowden. The last thing they wanted was for the U.S. to have the opportunity to learn the extent of China’s penetration of the NSA and the FBI in Hawaii. Therefore, they ensured he left Hong Kong before the city could “surrender” him. Albert Ho, one of Snowden’s attorneys, has publicly stated that Beijing approached him through intermediaries who said his client should leave Hong Kong. And as we know by now, this is exactly what Snowden did.
By that time, there was no point for China to give him a Beijing palace where he could pet phoenixes. Ministry of State Security agents had been in contact with Snowden while he was in Hong Kong and probably obtained all they wanted from his four laptops and one thumb drive. Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reports that U.S. officials say Russian and Chinese intelligence operatives obtained access to, in the words of Gertz, “highly classified U.S. intelligence and military information contained on electronic media” held by Snowden.
At this moment, we do not know whether Snowden, during his time in Hong Kong, actually traveled to China, as some believe, and we do not know the extent of his dealings with the Chinese. Yet the information we do possess — and the suppositions we can reasonably make — point to troubling conclusions.
Read the whole thing.
07 Jun 2009
The Washington Post‘s story makes it clear that Walter Kendall Myers is going to plead insanity and beat the rap for spying for the Communist Cuban regime on the basis on Bush Derangement Syndrome, a disorder afflicting numerous Ivy League graduates, and one particularly epidemic within the State Department.
You can picture the scene now.
Walt (or it is “Ken?”) flings down his London Review of Books indignantly, livid with rage after reading the latest Monbiot editorial describing the misery of oppressed Americans who were denied entry to Mercersburg and Brown. Gwendolyn sympathetically brings him a glass of Chardonnay, and sighs, “Oh dear, if only there were something we could do!”
“There must be.” returns Walt (or Ken) with determination.
He was a courtly State Department intelligence analyst from a prominent family who loved to sail and peruse the London Review of Books. Occasionally, he would voice frustration with U.S. policies, but to his liberal neighbors in Northwest D.C. it was nothing out of the ordinary. “We were all appalled by the Bush years,” one said.
What Walter Kendall Myers kept hidden, according to documents unsealed in court Friday, was a deep and long-standing anger toward his country, an anger that allegedly made him willing to spy for Cuba for three decades.
“I have become so bitter these past few months. Watching the evening news is a radicalizing experience,” he wrote in his diary in 1978, referring to what he described as greedy U.S. oil companies, inadequate health care and “the utter complacency of the oppressed” in America. On a trip to Cuba, federal law enforcement officials said in legal filings, Myers found a new inspiration: the communist revolution.
Read the whole thing.
01 Jan 2009
Bloomberg reports that, while other businesses find sales plummeting, cybersecurity is booming.
Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., the worldâ€™s biggest defense companies, are deploying forces and resources to a new battlefield: cyberspace.
The military contractors, eager to capture a share of a market that may reach $11 billion in 2013, have formed new business units to tap increased spending to protect U.S. government computers from attack.
Chicago-based Boeing set up its Cyber Solutions division in August â€œbecause of a realization by the company that itâ€™s a very serious threat,â€ Barbara Fast, vice president of the unit, said in an interview. â€œItâ€™s not a question of if weâ€™ll be attacked but when and so how will we be prepared.â€ Lockheed launched its cyber-defense operation in October.
President George W. Bush announced a national cybersecurity plan in January to be supervised by the Department of Homeland Security, after an increasing number of attacks on U.S. government and private sector networks by groups linked to foreign governments, organized crime gangs and hackers. In a Dec. 8 report, a panel of experts said President-elect Barack Obama should create a White House office to oversee the effort.
â€œThe whole area of cyber is probably one of the faster-growing areasâ€ of the U.S. budget, Linda Gooden, executive vice president of Lockheedâ€™s Information Systems & Global Services unit, said in an interview. â€œItâ€™s something that weâ€™re very focused on. I expect there will be a significant focusâ€ under Obama.
The number of security breaches of U.S. and private-computer networks reported to the Computer Emergency Readiness Team of the Homeland Security Department almost doubled to 72,000 in the fiscal year ended in October from about 37,000 the previous year, agency spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said in an interview.
U.S. government spending to secure military, intelligence and other agency computer networks is forecast to rise 44 percent to $10.7 billion in 2013 from $7.4 billion this year, according to a report by market forecaster Input.
Security-system spending will grow 7 percent to 8 percent annually, â€œsignificantly fasterâ€ than information-technology, which has increased about 4 percent a year in the past five years, said John Slye, an analyst at the Reston, Virginia, company.
24 Oct 2006
A drug raid on a Los Alamos scientist’s home in New Mexico turned up what appeared to be classified documents taken from the nuclear weapons lab, the FBI said Tuesday.
Police discovered the documents at the scientist’s home while making an arrest in a methamphetamine investigation, according to an FBI official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the case.
27 Sep 2006
The Telegraph today contains an item featuring European Union Pecksniffery at its worst.
A band of seven well-grown judicial imbeciles, sitting in Strasbourg, has ruled that “the law’s delay” in attending to the efforts of Mr. (excuse me, former KGB, now SVR Colonel of Foreign Intelligence) George Blake, convicted traitor, prison escapee, and resident (since 1966) of Moscow, to reclaim frozen royalties to his autobiography on Britain’s part had breached the EU’s Human Rights Convention. The EU judges concluded that Blake suffered distress and frustration thereby, and ordered Britain to pay him Ã¢u201aÂ¬5,000 in damages and Ã¢u201aÂ¬2,000 in costs.
The dozens? of MI6 agents betrayed by Blake (he was rumored to have received an unprecedentedly severe 42 years sentence, representing one year for every agent killed as the result of his treachery) were not compensated.