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what if a 40-something secretary was secretly James Bond all along?

Ed Brubaker on Velvet (his new comic book series with Steve Epting): “I loved the idea of flipping the typical male-oriented spy story, and doing one about a woman who was also a mature, middle-aged woman.” [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 15, 2014 - 31 comments

'that's so stupid that one can only cry at the foolishness of it.'

In the past week, Germany has found and fired an American mole in their intelligence agency, investigated another suspect in their defense ministry, and asked the CIA station chief to leave the country. Media reports offer an interesting view of a post Cold War world grappling with the unexpected* - spy vs spy among friends and allies, while traditional intelligence targets Russia and China play the part of bemused bystanders. [more inside]
posted by infini on Jul 11, 2014 - 56 comments

Spy satellite images reveal Middle Eastern archaelogical sites

The Corona Atlas of the Middle East uses spy satellite imagery to reveal as many as 10,000 previously unknown archaeological sites.
posted by MoonOrb on May 3, 2014 - 8 comments

Would you believe...

What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 16, 2013 - 52 comments

“ a natural, obvious connection between the Arctic and outer space"

Declassified Spy Outpost Lurks on the Dark Side of the Earth
Canadian Forces Station Alert is "the most northerly, permanently inhabited location in the world, located only 817 kilometres from the geographic North Pole."
On Assignment At CFS Alert. CFS Alert (Part 1). [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 2, 2013 - 14 comments

Secret Soviet Space Ships

Today marks 25 years since Buran, the enigmatic Soviet Space Shuttle clone, made her single unpiloted 2-orbit flight before an inglorious retirement like her known siblings.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Nov 15, 2013 - 21 comments

We have a very extensive knowledge of what is happening in Syria.

The Spies Inside Damascus: The Mossad's secret war on the Syrian WMD machine.
On Aug. 20, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began shifting around or using his chemical weapons, Obama would consider that "a red line." The implication was that such a move would lead to American intervention in Syria. Some officials from the Israeli Foreign Ministry believed that Obama drew the line because he believed it would never be crossed. If that was his assumption, he made it based, in part, on assessments received from the Israeli intelligence services, which have waged a multidecade clandestine campaign to strip Assad of his deadliest weapons -- and which also have emerged as the United States' primary partners in collecting information on Middle Eastern regimes.
posted by andoatnp on Sep 21, 2013 - 22 comments

Stasi Tech

We've seen the Stasi Fashion, but how about the Stasi camera technology & wireless bugs? High resolution photographs from the Stasi Museum.
posted by thewalrus on Sep 18, 2013 - 6 comments

"the boomers and their institutions look like parasitic aliens"

"Generation Z will arrive brutalized and atomized by three generations of diminished expectations and dog-eat-dog economic liberalism. Most of them will be so deracinated that they identify with their peers and the global Internet culture more than their great-grandparents' post-Westphalian nation-state. The machineries of the security state may well find them unemployable, their values too alien to assimilate into a model still rooted in the early 20th century. But if you turn the Internet into a panopticon prison and put everyone inside it, where else are you going to be able to recruit the jailers? And how do you ensure their loyalty?" Charlie Stross on the future demographic peril faced by spy agencies.
posted by Pope Guilty on Aug 29, 2013 - 86 comments

The Constant Traveler

In the same way that the detective movie is a fantasy about city life, the spy movie is a fantasy about tourism.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jul 22, 2013 - 39 comments

IRS Claims Authority to Read Your E-Mail Without A Warrant

The ACLU reports that the IRS claims in an internal document that it has the authority to access citizens' online communications without a warrant. The IRS claimed in a 2009 document that "the Fourth Amendment does not protect communications held in electronic storage, such as email messages stored on a server, because internet users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications." It still retains that position even after the 2010 case of US v Warshak which determined that citizens have a reasonable expectation of privacy in such communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Apr 11, 2013 - 50 comments

James Bond will return in...

Bond 50 - SFX Magazine has been recapping all 22 "official" Bond films, from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace in the run up to Skyfall (critical reation, trailer).
posted by Artw on Oct 21, 2012 - 84 comments

CIA Burglar

"The six CIA officers were sweating. It was almost noon on a June day in the Middle Eastern capital, already in the 90s outside and even hotter inside the black sedan where the five men and one woman sat jammed in together. Sat and waited. They had flown in two days earlier for this mission: to break into the embassy of a South Asian country, steal that country’s secret codes and get out without leaving a trace. During months of planning, they had been assured by the local CIA station that the building would be empty at this hour except for one person—a member of the embassy’s diplomatic staff working secretly for the agency." [The CIA Burglar Who Went Rogue]
posted by vidur on Oct 9, 2012 - 25 comments

Electronic surveillance skyrockets in the US

The Justice Department, after a legal battle with the ACLU to avoid having to admit it, recently released documents showing that the federal government’s use of warrantless “pen register” and “tap and trace” surveillance has multiplied over the past decade. But the Justice Department is small potatoes. Every day, the NSA intercepts and stores 1.7 billion emails, phone calls, texts, and other electronic communications. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Oct 3, 2012 - 82 comments

And Shopping. Always Shopping.

Propaganda - A film alledged to be from North Korea about the excess of Western decadance and public relations propaganda - hits Youtube (1:35:52)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 10, 2012 - 44 comments

The Business of Bond

Like James Bond movies? And box office grosses? And visualized data? Then today is your lucky day.
posted by Egg Shen on Aug 1, 2012 - 76 comments

“Don’t try to lock him up. He escapes, you know."

Born in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, member of the French resistance and the SOE, multiple escapee from Nazi execution, RIP Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld.
posted by Artw on Jun 30, 2012 - 20 comments

"She hadn’t seen an orange in years"

Our Man in Great Neck: 'In June 1982, my grandparents, Murray and Helene Cohen, traveled to the Soviet Union as part of a secret mission headed by the Great Neck chapter of the long island Committee for Soviet Jewry in order to pass information and contraband goods to Jews attempting to leave Russia.'
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 14, 2012 - 1 comment

The FBI has a "Do Not Contact" List?

The Feynman Files. For the first time, FBI records for Dr Richard Feynman have been released to the public. They document the Bureau's apparent obsession in the 1950's with outing him as a communist sympathizer, and include notations from several background checks as well as interviews with his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
posted by zarq on Jun 6, 2012 - 43 comments

Robot Animals of the United States Government

First there was the doomed cyborg Acoustic Kitty. Then the vaguely ominous man-outrunning robot cheetah. Now we have super stealth Robojelly, a robotic jellyfish.
posted by sunnichka on Mar 22, 2012 - 17 comments

Former CIA agent John Kiriakou Indicted.

In 2007 former CIA Agent John Kiriakou went public with his involvement with waterbording Al-Quaeda Detainees. At the time he felt that it worked. And, he only belived it had happened once with Abu Zubaydah. By 2010 he'd learned that Zubaydah had been waterboared 83 times, and that information was not good. Now, he's being prosecuted under the espionage act, for allegedly helping to identify CIA operatives that Guantánamo defense lawyers who might be able to testify about abusive treatment. [more inside]
posted by delmoi on Feb 1, 2012 - 58 comments

X-37B spaceplane spying on Chinese space station?

In March last year, the unmanned X-37B US military spaceplane launched from Cape Canaveral on mission USA-226, to "demonstrate various experiments", sensors and technology. Its original 270 day mission was extended in November "as circumstances allow" for "additional experimentation opportunities", but a dedicated group of optical tracking specialists in the US and Europe believe that the X-37B is in fact spying on the Chinese space station Tiangong-1. [more inside]
posted by adrianhon on Jan 5, 2012 - 59 comments

The Inconsequential Spy

The Big Russian Life of Anna Chapman
posted by vidur on Jan 4, 2012 - 10 comments

Can you give us a hand with a little research?

Amazon has recently declared that tomorrow is Price Check day. If you go into a brick and mortar retail store with Amazon’s new Price Check App on your smart phone, and scan a barcode with the location settings active, and then report back to Amazon on the price of that product, Amazon will deduct $5 from your online purchase of that product. Amazon claims it’s trying to keep prices low for consumers, but others attribute the move to a less innocuous agenda. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Dec 9, 2011 - 143 comments

How is this malarkey supposed to stop the war effort?

The creators of Italian Spiderman were hired by Australia's multicultural TV network, SBS, to produce Danger 5: "Set in a bizarre, 1960s inspired version of World War II, action comedy series DANGER 5 follows a team of five spies on a mission to kill Adolf Hitler." The six-part TV series will air in February 2012, but the trailer and the first instalment of a promotional web-series are now playing.
posted by robcorr on Nov 24, 2011 - 30 comments

Do you want to know a secret?

If you met Phil Pressel at a party anytime over the past half-century, he couldn't tell you what he did for a living. If you were his wife, you didn't even know where he was staying on those mysterious business trips. Today, after 46 years, the man who made the camera that prevented a war finally got to show off his magnum opus.
posted by Spike on Oct 14, 2011 - 37 comments

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

The secretive NRO celebrated 50 years of spying from space with a one-day surprise public exhibition of a just-declassified KH-9 Hexagon "Big Bird" imaging satellite. Between 1963 and 1986, a constellation of KH-7 Gambit, KH-8 Gambit 3, and KH-9 Hexagon satellites, all revealed after a half-century of secrecy, returned high-resolution film exposures of Cold War targets from orbit by parachute.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Sep 19, 2011 - 49 comments

Awesome times in East Germany

Secret Spy Photos from East Germany Revealed! All kinds of awesome from the time that the Berlin Wall fell. [coral cache]
posted by Eekacat on Aug 19, 2011 - 14 comments

Giving "The Devil" His Due

Emmanuel "Toto" Constant led a paramilitary organization called FRAPH that terrorized Haiti after the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. When FRAPH's fortunes declined, Toto mysteriously appeared in New York City, where he was scorned by the Haitian community. Justice eventually caught up to Toto, who is now imprisoned in New York state. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Apr 27, 2011 - 6 comments

Confidential!

Derailing a train isn't as easy as you might think. [1944] (Declassified WW2 OSS training video.) [more inside]
posted by crunchland on Apr 11, 2011 - 55 comments

Short-fingered vulgarians

Google Books has digitized all issues of SPY, the 80s New York satirical magazine that combined humor with investigative reporting. Half the issues are now available; the other half will be released soon.
posted by catlet on Feb 16, 2011 - 106 comments

The legacy of Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa

This is the Japanese spy who was stationed in Hawaii early in 1941. Here's how scouted the islands in preparation for the attack. These are his memories (Flash interface).
posted by nomadicink on Dec 7, 2010 - 23 comments

From Wong Fu with love

"Agents of Secret Stuff" [more inside]
posted by boo_radley on Dec 2, 2010 - 8 comments

Move along. Nothing to see here.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post exposed the increasing size of the US intelligence community: 1,931 private companies, 10,000 offices, and hundreds of thousands of employees (previously). Today we have a better picture on how much it's costing taxpayers: 80 billion every year. [more inside]
posted by notion on Oct 28, 2010 - 73 comments

"The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You're there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing."

Graham Greene, Arthur Ransome and Somerset Maugham all spied for Britain, admits MI6 "The authors Graham Greene, Arthur Ransome, Somerset Maugham, Compton Mackenzie and Malcolm Muggeridge, and the philosopher AJ "Freddie" Ayer, all worked for MI6, Britain's Secret Intelligence Service admitted for the first time today . They are among the many exotic characters who agreed to spy for Britain, mainly during wartime, who appear in a the first authorised history of MI6."
posted by Fizz on Oct 11, 2010 - 27 comments

The Lady Was a Spy

Eileen Nearne was found dead in her flat in Torquay on September 2, apparently alone and forgotten. But it turns out, she was neither.
posted by CheeseLouise on Sep 15, 2010 - 18 comments

The Spy Who Ran Back to the Cold

On June 6th, Shahram Amiri - an Iranian nuclear scientist -- appeared on a YouTube video claiming he was abducted by US and Saudi authorities in Medina, drugged and flown to the US. On June 7th, a second video on Youtube appeared where he, or someone claiming to be him, said he was fine, studying in the US. (The U.S. government has no official comment but cited him as a source on Iran's nuclear program.) A 3rd video backed the first. Now Pakistan says Amiri is in hiding in its Washington embassy's Iranian interests section under asylum and making arrangements to get back to Iran. How he got there, and why, is a mystery. [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jul 13, 2010 - 25 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

Journey to the Bottom of the (Cold War) Sea and Back

Submarine causalities are tragedies of war that are not always directly associated with combat. Systems failures at sea are often mysterious, with evidence and remains disappearing to all but the deepest diving vehicles. This was no different in the Cold War, with non-combat losses from the US and the Soviet Fleets. In that era of nuclear secrets, both those of nuclear-powered submarines and nuclear weapons, learning about the enemy's technology was paramount. Such an opportunity came to the US with the sinking of K-129, a Golf Class II Soviet submarine that went down with 98 men on board. The recovery took over six year, involved the possible payback of Howard Hughes, a videotaped formal sea burial that was eventually copied and given to then-President Boris Yeltsin, and decades of CIA secrecy. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 27, 2010 - 41 comments

The Letter U, and the Numeral 2

Reconnaissance will outlive the U-2, but there will always be a divot in the hearts of those who have seen the curvature of the earth, the stars seemingly close enough to touch, and known the satisfaction of having completed a mission with the Dragon Lady. Former U-2 pilot and military correspondent Cholene Espinoza writes a lovely adieu to these beautiful, difficult-to-fly aircraft, as well as a requiem for the era of human pilots for surveillance, giving way now to UAVs and other remote-control drones. The U-2 is, amazingly, still in service, but apparently soon to be grounded -- or not -- half-a-century after Francis Gary Powers' little Cold War incident. [Previously]
posted by chavenet on May 12, 2010 - 36 comments

The Lady Vanishes

"No one guessed the truth, which was simpler, and therefore stranger, than their wildest theories: that the scared young woman so hotly pursued by South Carolina police, the Secret Service, federal marshals and even the U.S. Army was actually on a bizarre and misguided journey of self-discovery." Rolling Stone reports on the strange case of Esther Reed: The Girl Who Conned The Ivy League. (via Metachat)
posted by The Whelk on Jan 17, 2010 - 46 comments

Maziar Bahari

118 Days, 12 Hours, 54 Minutes — On June 21, reporter Maziar Bahari was rousted out of bed and taken to Tehran's notorious Evin prison—accused of being a spy for the CIA, MI6, Mossad…and Newsweek magazine. This is the story of his captivity. CBS 60 Minutes feature. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Nov 23, 2009 - 22 comments

The House on Garibaldi Street

The capture of Adolf Eichmann is one of the more daring spy operations in the post WWII era. The story spans 17 years, beginning with Eichmann's clandestine escape from the Allied forces and the Nuremberg trial, and ending with his hanging in Israel. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Nov 4, 2009 - 23 comments

Big Brother's just a beetle on the wall

Cyborg Spy Beetles are no longer a thing of the future. UC Berkeley (funded by DARPA) has created cyborg beetles guided wirelessly via laptop. These spy beetles were created with the intent of bugging actual conversations, literally acting as the "fly on the wall". [more inside]
posted by scrutiny on Oct 27, 2009 - 56 comments

Matt Helm

Matt Helm is a fictional character created by author Donald Hamilton. He is a U.S. government counter-agent—a man whose primary job is to kill or nullify enemy agents—not a spy or secret agent in the ordinary sense of the term as used in spy thrillers. ... The character appeared in 27 books over a 33-year period beginning in 1960... A movie series was made in the mid-to-late 1960s starring Dean Martin... the series bore no resemblance at all to the character, atmosphere, or themes of Hamilton's original books, nor to the hard-edged action of Bond. One reason was the attitude of the filmmakers that the only way to compete with the Bond films was to parody them. - Wikipedia (links may be mildly NSFW) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 14, 2009 - 17 comments

Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes the reason prisoner?

“Josephine had practically every desirable personal characteristic, except wisdom and mercy.” Gee, that sounds like she actually isn’t a nice person at all! Gary Brecher (previously) reviews Banquo’s Ghosts, a political-minded spy thriller from National Review editor Richard Lowry and novelist Keith Korman. Lowry describes it as an "episode of “24″ written by Proust. " [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 1, 2009 - 52 comments

hatchink fiendish plan to catch moose and squirrel

Interested in Soviet era spying by the KGB in the United States? Bummed that you cant get into the KGB archives? Well it turns out that someone copied all the good stuff already, and you can take a peek. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot on Apr 23, 2009 - 6 comments

What Is And What Should Never Be

The Pentagon plans to spend $400 million to develop a giant blimp that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth for 10 years, providing unblinking and intricate radar surveillance of the vehicles, planes and even people below. [more inside]
posted by gman on Mar 13, 2009 - 106 comments

"blue eyes that had seen Franz Josef in his glory at the Court Opera in 1908 close upon a view of rusty bed frames and cracked concrete walls."

"Habsburg! A vile being, heir to an illustrious name, born to a fortune, to honours, to soldiers, to prestige, and who finished as the lowest of Montmartre pimps, living from the money of a poor and unstable girl whom he sent to commit his foul deeds in his place!"
That was after this Polish scion of the most famous family in Europe and commander of a soi disant "Ukrainian Legion" failed to finagle the crown as a Socialist king of The Ukraine, and became instead a patron of the rent boys of Paris who "handled women by necessity and men for pleasure". And all that before he turned successively a Nazi sympathizer, a British spy, and finally came, for the first and last time, to Ukraine's capital Kiev as a victim of Stalin and the Twentieth Century.
posted by orthogonality on Feb 7, 2009 - 24 comments

Who said what now?

Wired: Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case. "The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants."
posted by blue_beetle on Jan 23, 2009 - 86 comments

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