Author Topic: Intel Matters  (Read 257214 times)





Crafty_Dog

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Jane Harman: The Spooks are Spooked
« Reply #704 on: February 24, 2020, 01:35:39 PM »
second post

Trivia:  The author of this piece was my Democrat opponent when I ran for Congress in 1992.  At one of the debates an older man came up to me and introduced himself as Dick Harman.

"You must be very proud of your daughter" I said.

"She's my wife."

Both an awkward and a funny moment.

Turns out Dick was the president of Harman Electronics and the money of their June-November marriage enabled Jane to finance her campaign with a loan of $900,000.

After she won, of course she held fundraisers "to pay off her campaign debt" i.e. the money went straight into her pocket.

She served for a three or four terms IIRC.  With all the defense contractors in the district (South Bay, Los Angeles) she became known as "GI Jane" for her support of relevant military spending.  She is now a regular on the Sunday morning talk shows.
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It’s a really bad day at the office when the spooks are spooked. That’s what happened on Wednesday when President Trump announced that Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany, will become the acting director of national intelligence. Though Mr. Grenell is credited with effectively pushing the White House’s agenda on Iran and China, he has virtually no intelligence experience and is viewed as very partisan. This rattled the spy community and stoked fears that a purge may be coming, fears that seemed to be confirmed on Friday when Mr. Grenell ousted his office’s No. 2 official. In fact, our whole country should be spooked.

Mr. Grenell was appointed after the president reportedly became angered by a congressional briefing that said Russia is trying to help him in the 2020 election by meddling in the Democratic primaries. So Mr. Trump removed Joseph Maguire, the highly regarded acting director of national intelligence, and temporarily assigned Mr. Grenell, who is keeping his other roles.

Reports say that Kashyap Patel, a former National Security Council staff member who sought to discredit the Russia inquiry, is a senior adviser to Mr. Grenell. The worry is that this new team is meant to do one thing: undermine the core mission of the intelligence community, which is to speak truth to power.


We’ve seen this movie before, and it didn’t end well. In 2004, the C.I.A.’s director, Porter Goss, forced out career experts over a counterintelligence dispute. A review of that activity by the Silberman-Robb Commission ultimately resulted in Mr. Goss’s resignation. The coming purge could be far worse.



With acting cabinet secretaries everywhere, the Departments of Homeland Security and State hollowed out, and the recent departure of high-profile, nonpolitical appointees on the National Security Council staff (the Vindman brothers and Victoria Coates), the judgment and experience about who wants to attack us and where is basically gone. This creates an enormous risk to our country.

While our intelligence community is the most impressive in the world, we can’t see and know everything. No nation can. So we rely on other intelligence services. And not just the ones of Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand that, along with the United States, make up the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance. We also need allies with eyes and ears in places we just can’t go, like North Korea and China. A purge of our best and brightest intelligence officers will signal to them that new management is coming, and current relationships aren’t useful any longer.

Allied services also won’t trust us if our own officers face constant pressure to politicize intelligence. That means reporting streams will dry up, we won’t get early warning on planned attacks and we will lose critical knowledge about the decisions adversaries are making that may not have consequences today, but could have huge ones in the next decade. It’s impossible to know how many clues we will miss if our intelligence community is isolated from the world and the president’s daily brief only reinforces what the administration wants to hear.

A so-called house clearing could damage our intelligence abilities for at least a generation. Recruitment and retention will of course plummet, and those officers and analysts left won’t have the mentorship or the experience to ensure our assessments are based on truth.

For the sake of our country, I hope Mr. Grenell makes a careful assessment of the intelligence community’s capacities and impressive work force before making further changes. How dangerous it would be if we lose the tip of the spear against those who would destroy us.

Jane Harman, a Democrat, represented California in the House from 1993 to 1999 and from 2001 to 2013.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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Crafty_Dog

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Hezbollah Honey Trap
« Reply #705 on: March 18, 2020, 12:07:34 AM »
Lessons From a Hezbollah Honey Trap
Scott Stewart
Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
7 MINS READ
Mar 17, 2020 | 11:00 GMT

(JARIRIYAWAT/SHUTTERSTOCK)

HIGHLIGHTS

The arrest of a U.S. military translator accused of spying for Hezbollah shows that state intelligence agencies are not the only ones who can conduct human intelligence operations.

Honey traps continue to be an effective tactic that can be used against anyone at any age.

Employees of governments, companies and organizations that could be targeted for recruitment by state or nonstate intelligence officers should be educated about such tactics.

FBI special agents arrested Mariam Taha Thompson, an American contract interpreter, Feb. 27 in Arbil, Iraq. Thompson, who held a top-secret security clearance, has been charged with passing classified information to a man with links to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Following her arrest, the 61-year-old Thompson, who is from Rochester, Minnesota, reportedly waived her Miranda rights and admitted to interviewing agents that she had passed information to a man with whom she was romantically involved, and that the man had a nephew in the Lebanese Interior Ministry. Under further investigation, she admitted that she suspected the nephew was likely linked to Hezbollah. Thompson's Lebanese paramour was reportedly overseas when she passed him the classified information.

Tradecraft

According to the indictment in this case, investigators determined that on Dec. 30, 2019, one day after the U.S. military launched airstrikes against a number of targets associated with a faction of the Iranian-backed popular mobilization units (PMU), Kataib Hezbollah, Thompson's use of classified computer systems changed dramatically. The audit logs allegedly reflected that she repeatedly accessed classified reports she had no legitimate need to access for her job. Incidentally, this was the same day that Kataib Hezbollah militia members stormed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The indictment specified that between Dec. 30 and Feb. 10, Thompson accessed 58 classified files related to eight human intelligence sources who were providing information to the U.S. military in Iraq. These files, reportedly classified at the secret level, included the true names, personal identification data and photographs of the human intelligence sources. She also reportedly viewed operational cables that detailed specific information provided to the U.S. military by those sources.

The Big Picture

Espionage has long been referred to as the world's "second oldest profession." While much attention is being paid to cybersecurity in the present age, people who ignore the persistent threat of human intelligence do so at their own peril.

See Security

According to the indictment, Thompson then memorized the information about the sources and later made detailed notes about the sources that she wrote in Arabic (presumably to help avoid the scrutiny of security). She then showed the notes to her paramour over a video chat she had with him via her cellphone. During a search of Thompson's living quarters, investigators recovered one of these notes that she had hidden under her mattress. The recovered note reportedly provided the names of three of the sources, noted that their phones should be monitored, and warned that an unidentified person the U.S. military was targeting should be warned. According to the indictment, the person Thompson said should be warned is a member of a designated foreign terrorist organization. Presumably, this person was a leader in one of the Iraqi PMUs designated foreign terrorist groups, or perhaps even in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force. IRGC-QF leader Gen. Qassim Soleimani and Kataib Hezbollah leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in a U.S. airstrike Jan. 2, so it is unlikely one of them was the target Thompson sought to warn.

After obtaining a subpoena for the contents of a social media account used by Thompson's handler, the FBI recovered a still image of a second note that listed the details of two other human intelligence sources.
 
It is unclear if the information Thompson passed was later used to target the human intelligence sources she identified. But even if her betrayal did not result in the deaths of the sources or their families, it at the very least severely compromised several human intelligence operations providing the U.S. military with invaluable information about the IRGC and the Iraqi PMUs.

Lessons

We can draw several lessons from this case. The first is that human intelligence operations, including honey traps, are not just the purview of state actors such as Chinese, Cuban or Russian intelligence agencies. Hezbollah clearly demonstrated that it has a sophisticated, transnational intelligence capability.

Crafty_Dog

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Pompeo's advisory board
« Reply #706 on: May 27, 2020, 09:12:51 PM »
https://www.politico.com/news/2020/05/27/mike-pompeos-cia-advisory-board-rankled-agency-veterans-283350

A friend seriously savy in these things comments:

"After Brennan, it’s abundantly clear that the Agency needs a shakeup.  This sort of thing is further evidence of that.  There are plenty of little bureaucrats who hate being challenged, and who hide behind behind classification.  They’re also huge on the idea of “independence,” which is a crock of shit."





Crafty_Dog

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G M

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How we got here
« Reply #712 on: August 13, 2020, 01:22:40 PM »

DougMacG

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Re: How we got here
« Reply #713 on: August 13, 2020, 03:09:58 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1EA2ohrt5Q

He called it exactly. 

"Unlike me, you have nowhere to defect to."

Crafty_Dog

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