In some ways, it is hard to imagine two paths more different than being a writer and being a spy. It is certainly hard to imagine two careers with more wildly disparate stakes. And yet there are parallels in the underlying qualities of their practitioners: an interest in psychology, a facility with narrative, a tendency to position oneself as an observer, and a willingness to lie and call it something else.--writer Jennifer DuBois explains what it was like to be hired by the CIA.
In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
The French government today said it was the victim of an "economic war" after Renault, the partially state-owned car maker, suspended three top executives over suspected leaks of secret electric car technology. The French industry minister, Eric Besson, told French radio: "The expression 'economic war', while often outrageous, is for once appropriate here." He said the case illustrated "the risks our companies face in terms of industrial espionage, and economic intelligence".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
"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).
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."
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".
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.
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?
An official Q&A with the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, alludes to some extremely scary/interesting tidbits-- the Office of Strategic Influence is still alive, John Poindexter can do anything he pleases with DARPA, we just might renew nuclear weapons testing. Don't worry, though. Rummy sez: "Anyone who is concerned ought not be. Anyone with any concern ought to be able to sleep well tonight. Nothing terrible is going to happen."
Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans And this is justified because of National Security. We will lose much that is personal, private, but in turn we will be protefted against the bad guys. Or will we? When NASA and CIA claim they need to spy domestically, and computers gather all data on Americans, what is left that is not what Orwell had suggested might our future be like?Or, as Morth Sahl once labelled a comic record: TheFuture Lies Ahead."
Terrorism's first win? Bye-Bye crypto. The rubble is still burning and the Republicans are ready to strip of our right to use crypto products. Opportunists feeding off fear. That's how you win at the terrorist game.
An article on espionage and security lapses? FBI says No Thanks The FBI has seized a computer hard drive used by former Energy Department intelligence chief Notra Trulock, concerned that he may have included classified data in a proposed article. Or maybe they just wanted to spell check it for him.