121 posts tagged with espionage.
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The Pond: an early US spy agency you've never heard of

Before the CIA, there was the Pond -- a highly secret, unacknowledged, and semi-autonomous intelligence agency created by the US military in 1942 as an alternative to the OSS. According the Associated Press, "The organization counted among its exploits an attempt to negotiate the surrender of Germany with Hermann Goering, one of Adolf Hitler's top military leaders, more than six months before the war ended; an effort to enlist mobster Charles 'Lucky' Luciano in a plot to assassinate Italian dictator Benito Mussolini; identifying the location of the German heavy water plants doing atomic research in Norway; and providing advance information on Russia's first atomic bomb explosion." But the CIA says that its record was "largely one of failure and impermanence."
posted by twirlip on Aug 3, 2010 - 6 comments

Someone forgot to tell 'em the Cold War ended....

The US Department of Justice has announced arrests in four states of ten alleged members of a “deep-cover” Russian spy ring whose ultimate goal was apparently to infiltrate U.S. policy-making circles. So much for burger diplomacy? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 28, 2010 - 70 comments

Freedom of the Press vs. Israel's Military Secrets

An Israeli journalist, Anat Kam (23), has been under secret house arrest since December on charges that she leaked up to 1,000 highly sensitive, classified military documents suggesting the IDF breached a court order against assassinations in the occupied West Bank, to Ha'aretz reporter Uri Blau. A court-imposed gag order first proposed by the Israeli government and now apparently supported by Kam's lawyers is preventing media investigation and coverage of both her arrest and the charges of espionage and treason against her in Israel. Blau is reportedly now self-exiled in London, and negotiating his return with Israeli authorities. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 5, 2010 - 38 comments

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you

From a 2008 document titled "Wikileaks.org—An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?" (PDF) produced by the Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch of the Army Counterintelligence Center:
(S//NF) Wikileaks.org uses trust as a center of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to Wikileaks.org personnel or who post information to the Web site that they will remain anonymous. The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others from using Wikileaks.org to make such information public.
posted by scalefree on Mar 15, 2010 - 31 comments

The MagiCIAn

When the CIA tried its hand at magic A top-secret 1950s training manual for CIA field agents, based on the knowledge of famous magician John Mulholland, has been made available to the public. Via
posted by Abiezer on Dec 10, 2009 - 31 comments

Background to Danger

For Graham Greene he was "unquestionably our best thriller writer". John le Carré once called him "the source on which we all draw". With the six novels he wrote in the years leading up to the second world war - five of which have just been reissued by Penguin Modern Classics - Eric Ambler revitalised the British thriller, rescuing the genre from the jingoistic clutches of third-rate imitators of John Buchan, and recasting it in a more realist, nuanced and leftishly intelligent - not to mention exciting - mould. - The writing of Eric Ambler
posted by Artw on Jun 6, 2009 - 14 comments


Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network. "A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, including those of the Dalai Lama, Canadian researchers have concluded. In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Mar 28, 2009 - 31 comments

Sixth generation warfare: boner pills.

The little blue pill goes to war.
posted by mek on Dec 26, 2008 - 74 comments

Spy Pigeons

Iran says it caught two pigeons spying on it's nuclear reactor. It sounds crazy, but it's not as farfetched as you might think. The lowly pigeon has been used in military operations since the 12th century. Commando the Pigeon flew 90 missions in German-occupied France during WWII. Pigeons like Commando, Winkie, and Paddy had a lock on the Dickin Medal for animal bravery during WWII. Then again, maybe it's just crazy. Last year Iran said it had arrested 14 squirrels for espionage.
posted by up in the old hotel on Oct 20, 2008 - 40 comments

Aleksander Wolszczan

In 1992, Aleksander Wolszczan discovered the first planets outside our solar system. Now, the Penn State professor been accused of spying for SB, the Polish Secret Police. He calls it a "smear campaign."
posted by up in the old hotel on Sep 25, 2008 - 6 comments

The Umbrella Killer

Scotland Yard thinks it knows who killed Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov with a ricin-tipped umbrella on the streets of London 30 years ago this month. Police are hoping to press charges against the man known as Agent Picadilly, who received a secret medal for his services. Interest in the case was sparked by "Kill the Wanderer", a book by journalist Hristo Hristov, who gained access to the archives of the former Bulgarian security service. Bulgaria has extended its own investigation, just as the statute of limitations on the Markov murder was set to expire.
posted by up in the old hotel on Sep 22, 2008 - 13 comments

Who Watches the Watchmen?

In February President Bush issued an Executive Order changing the role & reporting structure of the PFIAB, the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. At the time the order was criticized & analyzed as a move to consolidate power within an organization that was already full of Bush cronies. But it now looks like all the pundits were wrong. The real reason? There was a spy in the PFIAB.
posted by scalefree on Aug 21, 2008 - 33 comments

A Tale of Two Airplanes

"Once Upon A Time... there were two very special airplanes that lived.... far.... far.... away on a tiny island in the Bering Sea. One was named Rivet Ball and the other was named Rivet Amber. Very few people knew anything about these two planes or the men that flew them. Even family members knew very little. That's because their mission was... TOP SECRET." (some photos and language within are NSFW) [more inside]
posted by kurmbox on Aug 7, 2008 - 18 comments

Church Committee 2.0: TSP, Main Core & PROMIS?

Is Congress gearing up to hold a new American Truth Commission? What new horrors would they find if they did? The last time we tried this we uncovered MK/ULTRA, plots to kill Castro & Project SHAMROCK. One of the most significant outcomes was a little thing called FISA. After 30 years it may finally be time to wash out our national dirty laundry again.
posted by scalefree on Jul 23, 2008 - 45 comments

¡Atención!", "1234567890"

Find a short wave radio and before long you should be able to tune into The Lincolnshire Poacher - the station plays an introduction comprising part of the eponymous folk tune followed by a robotic female voice reading strings of numbers: listen! So called Numbers Stations have been a mysterious constant of short wave radio for several decades. The Conet Project [previously 1, 2, 3] has made a collection of the recordings available allowing you to listen to "Ready! Ready! 15728", "The Buzzer" (especially mysterious), "Gong Station Chimes", "Magnetic Fields" and many others.... [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on Jun 30, 2008 - 71 comments

Super-targeted spear phishing attacks

The recent cyber attacks on pro-Tibet groups in the U.S. (attack details, technical data) and on the Save Darfur Coalition, among others, have managed to catch the attention of some in the mainstream media. Such super-targeted spear phishing attacks have been on the rise for several years, and have become an important tool for corporate espionage and military infiltration attempts. Teaching users to recognize such attack emails is probably the most effective deterrence, as technology solutions have shown to not be particularly effective. Some companies and government agencies even conduct sting operations to ferret out which internal users fail the test, targeting them for additional training. [more inside]
posted by gemmy on Mar 27, 2008 - 21 comments

Stop Spyin'

Stop the Spying! Don't just tell Congress to stop the spying -- show them.
posted by telstar on Jan 25, 2008 - 37 comments

Amazing discoveries in plain-text Tor exit traffic.

This is an ironic tale of the consequences of inept application of cryptographic tools. Or is it? Dan Egerstad, a Swedish hacker, gained access to hundreds of computer network accounts around the world, belonging to various embassies, corporations and other organizations. How did he do it? Very easily: by sniffing exit traffic on his Tor nodes. [more inside]
posted by Anything on Dec 4, 2007 - 27 comments

If at first (or second) you don't succeed...

Operation PLIERS. An internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a plan to destabilize Venezuela during the upcoming constitutional referendum. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. The full text of the memo will be released soon for verification purposes. Many previously.
posted by scalefree on Nov 28, 2007 - 42 comments

Why He Went Nuclear.

Why He Went Nuclear. Before he was the infamous father of the "Islamic bomb," A.Q. Khan was just another midlevel scientist working at a research job in Amsterdam. Here, the story of how he betrayed his employer and set out to create a worldwide bazaar in lethal weapons.
posted by chunking express on Nov 20, 2007 - 19 comments

a suburban counterterrorist

Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist "In fact, it's distinctly possible that Rossmiller, alone at her computer, has a better track record than the Justice Department. "
posted by dhruva on Oct 23, 2007 - 39 comments

John Young of Cryptome: The man behind the world's most dangerous website

When journalists from Radar Magazine interview John Young of Cryptome.org, Young suspects he is actually being double-crossed by MI6 agents.
posted by deern the headlice on Sep 3, 2007 - 23 comments

Putins spy war on the West

Putins spy war on the West White House intelligence advisers believe no other country is as aggressive as Russia in trying to obtain US secrets, with the possible exception of China. In particular the SVR, as the former KGB’s foreign intelligence arm is now known, is using a network of undercover agents in America to gather classified information about sensitive technologies, including military projects under development and high-tech research.
posted by jouke on May 20, 2007 - 30 comments

Cold, hard spy devices. Or not.

Updatefilter: Apparently a poppy was the cause of espionage accusations. As reported here on the blue, some US contractors were apparently freaked out by a novel Canadian coin which featured a red poppy. The coin was issued by the Royal Canadian Mint, an organization that makes Canadian cash as well as currencies for other countries. The Mint, which is definitely worth a tour if you're in Ottawa, won an award for the coin. The coin was issued to honour Canadian war dead; the poppy is the symbol of the Royal Canadian Legion.
posted by Zinger on May 7, 2007 - 46 comments

Agent ZigZag

James Bond eat your heart out - the name's Chapman, Eddie Chapman. A German spy who was awarded the Iron Cross and a yacht. A British spy who probably saved vast chunks of London from bombs. But above all, a conman with a penchant for "prostitutes, cognac, gambling, Savile Row tailoring and fast cars" according to his spymasters (warning - PDF). Read the book. Or the other book. Or see the biopic he reportedly didn't like. He died aged 83, in case you're wondering.
posted by MuffinMan on Feb 15, 2007 - 12 comments

Canadian Espionage?

Canadian spy monies?! The Defense Department has issued a warning to its American contractor employees. Apparently, Canadian coins have been outfitted with embedded RFID transmitters. Not the first instance of RFIDs in monies either. Explosive consequences. Elsewhere, whats the point? RFID previously on Metafilter.
posted by beta male on Jan 11, 2007 - 32 comments

You can read this but then I'll have to kill you

The NSA Bibliographies The NSA internally publishes thousands of papers every year, on every topic from spycraft to cryptography to physics & aliens (no, really!). Each year the titles of these papers gets indexed & those indexes are also published internally. The Memory Hole has made a successful FOIA request for a large number of these, spanning almost 50 years. We don't get to see the actual papers, but just the titles are fascinating - including such page turners as "Computer Virus Infections: Is NSA Vulnerable?", "KAL 007 Shootdown: A View from [redacted]", "NSA in the Cyberpunk Future", "Telephone Codes and Safe Combinations: A Deadly Duo", "Coupon Collecting and Cryptology", "Cranks, Nuts, and Screwballs" & my personal favorite, "Key to the Extraterrestrial Messages". When you're done browsing the titles, there's a sample form you can use to request some of the documents yourself!
posted by scalefree on Oct 2, 2006 - 10 comments

"Watch what you say, what you do..."

Recipients of "Leaks" May Be Prosecuted, Court Rules In a momentous expansion of the government's authority to regulate public disclosure of national security information, a federal court ruled that even private citizens who do not hold security clearances can be prosecuted for unauthorized receipt and disclosure of classified information. The ruling by Judge T.S. Ellis, III, denied a motion to dismiss the case of two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who were charged under the Espionage Act with illegally receiving and transmitting classified information. The decision is a major interpretation of the Espionage Act with implications that extend far beyond this particular case. The Judge ruled that any First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of speech involving national defense information can be superseded by national security considerations.
posted by Unregistered User on Aug 10, 2006 - 28 comments

Police infiltrates..or maybe more then just that ?

Newsfilter: Police officer infiltrates anti-war group obtains leadership position. Still no pacifist have infiltrated terror cell to discredit their activity by reducing terror.
posted by elpapacito on Jul 28, 2006 - 40 comments

A priest, a rabbi and a Hamas leader walk into a bar. .

"If Hamas fails to agree to a permanent ceasefire, we will have to create another leadership, just as we did before with Sheikh Yassin." Former head of the double ISO (Mossad), Efraim Halevy Spoke at the Middle East Forum in Boston last week (yes, he's selling a book) and had some interesting things to say. Earlier post here. (More inside).
posted by Smedleyman on Apr 3, 2006 - 19 comments

Above Ground Covert-Ops

Global Options, Inc. Have you been unfairly attacked by: the media? trial lawyers? disgruntled workers? terrorists? overzealous federal regulators? competitors? hackers? industrial spies? one-issue activists? extortionists? intellectual property thieves? or even the Russian mafia? Global Options has your back. [warning: radar beeps.]
posted by panoptican on Dec 4, 2005 - 19 comments

NOC, NOC, Who's There

Why outing Plame mattered. If you wonder what's really at stake behind all the media buzz around the Fitzgerald indictments, read this lengthy and cogent analysis by Stratfor's no-nonsense George Friedman. "Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a 'bodyguard of lies' -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities... The minimal story -- that they talked about Plame with a reporter -- is the end of the matter."
posted by digaman on Oct 18, 2005 - 89 comments

Mystery! Intrigue!

[newsfilter]Espionage in the White House. First known W.H. spy in modern history.[/newsfilter]
posted by brittney on Oct 5, 2005 - 39 comments

Where there's smoke there's fire.

Where there's smoke there's fire. The AIPAC spy scandal, new developments with foreign lobbies compromising our nation's security, major government officials involving themselves in drug money laundering, military weapons procurement for dangerous nations, penetration of our intelligence agencies and the pentagon by foreign spy agencies. When will the smoke turn to fire?
posted by mk1gti on Aug 10, 2005 - 15 comments

"Mincemeat Swallowed Whole"

Operation Mincemeat Sometimes in war, you don't need kilotonnage; you need a good plan instead. And what a plan it was. A dead body, a submarine commander, and a future spy novelist. The amazing thing is, it worked.
posted by John of Michigan on Aug 8, 2005 - 11 comments

A Spreading Treason

A Spreading Treason The vagaries of U.S. involvement in the Middle East were surely brought home to First Lady Laura Bush on her recent trip to Israel, on a tour of Jerusalem's holiest sites. At the Wailing Wall, where she placed a note in the Western Wall – as is the custom – she faced surly throngs of protesters shouting "Free Pollard Now!" The Pollardites also showed up earlier that morning, as Mrs. Bush paid a visit to the home of Israeli President Moshe Katsav: "Pollard, the people are with you!" they chanted.
posted by mk1gti on May 25, 2005 - 23 comments

Q & A with former Israeli Mossad chief Efraim Halevy.

Q & A with former Israeli Mossad chief Efraim Halevy. Halevy fields questions from readers around the world. See also his article "The coming Pax Americana".
posted by ori on May 16, 2005 - 19 comments

"The Hazards of Private Spy Operations"

The Pond is the history of a secret, independent US intelligence-gathering group which preceded (and outlasted) the OSS. Shuffled from Cabinet to Cabinet to the CIA, it eventually ran aground against the infighting of McCarthy's Red Scare hearings and was no more by 1955.
posted by trondant on Feb 2, 2005 - 8 comments

Espionage and the Orange Revolution

Espionage and the Orange Revolution -or- How Ukranian spies prevented a crackdown on protestors in Kiev. (NY Times)
posted by Tullius on Jan 17, 2005 - 12 comments


"FBI espionage probe goes beyond Israeli allegations, sources say ... The linkage, if any, between the two leak investigations, remains unclear. But they both center on the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's No. 3 official."

Juan Cole pulls back the curtains on the neo-cons and Franklin here ... if you have friends or family in the US military is this the guy(s) you want calling the shots??
posted by specialk420 on Aug 29, 2004 - 61 comments

FBI Probes Pentagon Spy Case

FBI Probes Pentagon Spy Case - Interesting how bad news about the Bush Administration seems to always come out on Fridays - "the FBI has a full-fledged espionage investigation under way and is about to -- in FBI terminology -- "roll up" someone agents believe has been spying not for an enemy, but for Israel from within the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon."
posted by jackspace on Aug 27, 2004 - 37 comments

fifteen minutes

What do you do if it's 1979 and you are a sixteen year old in East Germany? Your Mom and her boyfriend, an officer in the intelligence service, have decided to defect. If you are Thomas Wagner, you wait twenty-odd years, and then you post the whole experience to your blog.
posted by mwhybark on Jul 25, 2004 - 14 comments

"Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

"Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?" The US army has quashed convictions against a Muslim chaplain initially accused of spying at the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. It means Captain James Yee - who spent 76 days in custody when the spying allegations were first made - now has a clean military record.
posted by turbanhead on Apr 15, 2004 - 9 comments

Spook Words

Need more hits? Try adding some of these 'spook words' to your meta tags if you'd like more traffic from your friends at the NSA. first link via Reality Carnival
posted by moonbird on Sep 25, 2003 - 22 comments

What do you know about CALEA?

Bob Cringely thinks the government's information gathering capability is a disaster waiting to happen. Does our government have too much faith in computers as a solution to our problems? Just as electronic voting is looked at skeptically by the computer-savvy among us, so should the use of computers to gather information.
posted by TedW on Jul 16, 2003 - 13 comments

The Secret Service Test

Are You Spy Enough? Put your skills to the test. [Via Bifurcated Rivets. Flash required.]
posted by Carlos Quevedo on Jun 7, 2003 - 11 comments

The Avengers

Emma Peel could eat Buffy Summers for breakfast. An online encyclopedia dedicated to one of the best shows to come out of Britain, The Avengers. It's also the best TV fansite I've ever seen, I think--comprehensive, well-designed, smart without being "inside" or academic, and free of fanboy attitude. Even if you've never watched the show, take some time to look around. [more inside]
posted by Prospero on May 23, 2003 - 24 comments

Liberal Media, huh?

As you may have heard, long term FBI Agent and Chinese double-agent Katrina Leung was charged yesterday. What you might not have heard, if, say, you only read the CNN story, was that Leung was a prominent Republican, who probably did a good bit to subvert the campaign finance reform effort. However, this isn't being covered by ABC, CNN, Newsweek, the New York Times, or pretty much anyone with any name recognition, as TalkingPointsMemo reports. Funny how potential sabotage isn't worth mentioning in these fast times full of SARS and terror, no?
posted by kaibutsu on May 10, 2003 - 32 comments

Bug Bug Buggy

Bug Bug Buggy - Electronic bugging devices have been found at offices used by French and German delegations at European Union headquarters in Brussels. I think I can guess where fingers will get pointed....
posted by tomcosgrave on Mar 19, 2003 - 11 comments

FBI updates reading list for spy catchers

Despite the FBI's best efforts, the spy only passed public domain information to North Korea In Graham Greene's hilarious "Our Man in Havana", a salesman-unlikely-turned-spy passes vacuum-cleaner blueprints as plans of a nuclear plant to his superiors at MI6. Turns an American of Korean origin has been doing pretty much the same with North Korea and thus cannot be charged with espionage. One can only hope that the current bullish attitude of North Korea is all based on the info passed by this guy (who, BTW, sold it for cash).
posted by magullo on Feb 6, 2003 - 8 comments

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