Intelligence Agency News StoriesExcerpts of Key Intelligence Agency News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of intelligence agency news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in last month’s presidential election. Officials ... were told that intelligence agencies had found that individuals linked to the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of confidential emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others. The emails were steadily leaked via WikiLeaks ... revealing that DNC figures had colluded to harm the chances of [Clinton’s] nomination rival Bernie Sanders, and later giving examples of collusion between her campaign and figures in the media to blindside Trump in debates. The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has previously said the DNC leaks were not linked to Russia. A ... senior official cited by the Washington Post conceded that intelligence agencies did not have specific proof that the Kremlin was “directing” the hackers. Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, who is a close associate of Assange, [said of] the CIA claims: “They are absolutely making it up ... I know who leaked them. “They are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack; the two are different things. “If ... the CIA’s statement refers to people who are known to be linked to the Russian state, they would have arrested someone. America has not been shy about arresting whistleblowers and it’s not been shy about extraditing hackers. They plainly have no knowledge whatsoever.”
Note: The Guardian newspaper's website removed all front page links to the above article just three hours after it was published. In its place, the Guardian ran a new article that was entirely supportive of what Wikileaks affiliate Craig Murray calls "the CIA’s blatant lie" about the leaked DNC emails. A short essay by WantToKnow.info team member Mark Bailey explores this apparent media manipulation.
Vladimir K. Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers banged on the front door of his home ... and informed him that they had “received information about forbidden images” in his possession. He faced five charges of making indecent images of children, five charges of possession of indecent images of children and one charge of possession of a prohibited image. After Mr. Bukovsky, 73, entered a not-guilty plea, [the case] was delayed [following] a prosecution request for more time to review an independent forensic report on what had been found on Mr. Bukovsky’s computers and how an unidentified third party had probably put it there. Mr. Bukovsky ... insisted that he was the victim of a new and particularly noxious form of an old K.G.B. dirty trick known as kompromat, the fabrication and planting of compromising or illegal material. Old-style kompromat featured ... a wide range of other primitive entrapment techniques. Today, however, kompromat has become allied with the more sophisticated tricks of cybermischief-making. Hacking is not only a good way to get real information ... but a relatively easy and usually untraceable way to plant fake information. This blurring of all boundaries between truth and falsehood in the service of operational needs has created a climate in Russia in which even the most serious and grotesque accusations ... are simply a currency for settling scores.
Note: Hackers from any country's intelligence services could plant child porn on anyone's computer so that they would then be arrested and convicted. What a wild world we live in! For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In your Monday editorial, “Russia’s roulette,” you mentioned the “alarming evidence” of my government’s alleged involvement in the U.S. presidential elections. I do believe that it’s just nonsense, but if you insist that it’s true, then it would be interesting and necessary to see the evidence. I am sure that your respected newspaper meticulously worked through all the proofs before publishing the above-mentioned editorial. Unfortunately, nobody, including my government, despite numerous official requests, has never been presented with the onus probandi. The latter will not come from just repeating the unsubstantiated accusations over and over again or referring to unknown “independent researchers.” As far as I know, (National Security Agency Director) Adm. Michael Rogers in his recent interview with Wall Street Journal has never mentioned RUSSIA, while the official statement of Oct. 7 that has been repeatedly referred to, has never INDICTED Russia (“believing” and even being “confident” is something very different). Without evidence, in every state of law, with the United States being one of them, the principle of the presumption of innocence prevails. And accusations remain pure speculation. In this case, ill-intentioned.
Note: The above was written by Maxim Goncharov, a press attaché with the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
The heads of the Pentagon and the nation’s intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed. The recommendation, delivered to the White House last month, was made by Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.. The news comes as Rogers is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to be his nominee for director of national intelligence to replace Clapper as the official who oversees all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies. In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower. That caused consternation at senior levels of the administration, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Carter has concerns with Rogers’s performance, officials said. The driving force for Clapper ... was the separation of leadership roles at the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command, and his stance that the NSA should be headed by a civilian. The expectation had been that Rogers would be replaced before the Nov. 8 election. Meanwhile, in February, Rogers ... merged the agency’s spying and hacking arms with its computer-security division into one Directorate of Operations. That reorganization has only intensified the discontent that has marked Rogers’s tenure at the agency. “The morale is horrible,” one former senior official said.
Note: Edward Snowden tweeted this article stating, "The real story you're not hearing about is a revolt within the US Intelligence Community." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the military and in intelligence agencies.
I do my best to resist the thought that prison is a reflection of our society, but the comparisons are unavoidable. From the moment I crossed the threshold from freedom to incarceration because I was charged with, and a jury convicted me of, leaking classified information to a New York Times reporter, I needed no reminder that I was no longer an individual. Prison, with its “one size fits all” structure, is not set up to recognize a person’s worth; the emphasis is removal and categorization. Inmates are not people; we are our offenses. Considering the charges and conviction that brought me here, I’m not exactly sure to which category I belong. No matter. There is an overriding category to which I do belong, and it is this prison reality that I sadly “compare unto the world”: I’m not just an inmate, I’m a black inmate. Here, I am my skin color. Whenever, in my stubborn idealism, I refuse to acknowledge being racially categorized and question the submission to it, the other prisoners invariably respond, “Man, this is prison.” What I see in prison is sad, but what I’m seeing from prison is worse. During my time in the CIA it became clear, in the organization’s words and actions toward me, that they saw me not as an American who wanted to serve his country but as “a big black guy.” There is a black America, there is a white America, there are many Americas. The greatness and promise of this country lies in equality reinforced by our differences. When I am free, I don’t want to feel that I’m merely going from one prison to another.
Note: The above was written by Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent targeted for prosecution as part of the Obama Administration's "crack down on the press and whistle-blowers." Author James Risen tried to help Sterling expose CIA racism, and later wrote an unrelated book exposing some questionable government practices. Sterling was then sent to prison for what Risen wrote. Risen's latest book exposes major government corruption related to the war on terror.
[Daniel] Jones, a counter-terrorism staffer, had become the chief investigator for the Senate intelligence committee, the CIA’s congressional overseer, on its biggest inquiry. For five years, he had been methodically sifting through internal CIA accounts of its infamous torture program. Having read millions of internal emails, cables and accounts of agency torture, Jones had come to believe everything the CIA had told Congress, the Bush and Obama White Houses and the public was a lie. Inside the small room in Virginia the CIA had set up for the Senate investigators, Jones ... slipped crucial printed-out passages of what he called the Panetta Review into [his] bag and secured its lock. Sometime after 1am, Jones walked out, carrying his bag as he always did. The Panetta Review saga would spur a furious CIA to take an extraordinary step: it would spy on its own legislative overseers – especially Jones. The episode would spill out publicly the following March, when top committee Democrat Dianne Feinstein ... accused the CIA on the Senate floor of triggering what she called a constitutional crisis. Both sides requested the justice department pursue a criminal investigation on the other. The bitterness would nearly overshadow a landmark report, a fraction of which was released to the public in December 2014, that documented in chilling detail the depravations CIA inflicted on terrorism suspects after 9/11. The CIA has gone beyond successfully suppressing the report. The agency’s inspector general ... destroyed its copy – allegedly an accident.
Do the committees that oversee the vast U.S. spying apparatus take intelligence community whistleblowers seriously? For the last 20 years, the answer has been a resounding “no.” My own experience in 1995-96 is illustrative. Over a two-year period working with my wife, Robin (who was a CIA detailee to a Senate committee at the time), we discovered that, contrary to the public statements by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and other senior George H. W. Bush administration officials ... American troops had in fact been exposed to chemical agents during and after the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein. Officials at the Pentagon and CIA were working to bury it. The agency didn’t care about helping to find out why hundreds of thousands of American Desert Storm veterans were ill. Seeing the writing on the wall, I began working on what would become a book about our experience: “Gassed in the Gulf.” The agency tried to block publication of the book and attempted to reclassify hundreds of previously declassified Department of Defense and CIA intelligence reports that helped us make our case. Our story [became] a front-page sensation just days before the 1996 presidential election. Within six months, the CIA was forced to admit that it had indeed been withholding data on such chemical exposures, which were a possible cause of the post-war illnesses that would ultimately affect about one-third of the nearly 700,000 U.S. troops who served in Kuwait and Iraq. None of the CIA or Pentagon officials who perpetrated the cover-up were fired or prosecuted.
Note: The above article was written by whistleblower and former CIA analyst Patrick Eddington. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
An ongoing review shows the U.S. intelligence community has been debunking long-held myths about some of the “worst of the worst” at Guantánamo, some of them still held today. The retreat emerges in a series of unclassified prisoner profiles released by the Pentagon in recent years, snapshots of much larger dossiers the public cannot see, prepared for the Periodic Review Board examining the Pentagon’s “forever prisoner” population. “It was clear early on that the intelligence was grossly wrong,” said Mark Fallon, a retired 30-year federal officer who between 2002 and 2004 was Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense’s Criminal Investigation Task Force. Most “weren’t battlefield captives,” he said, calling many “bounty babies” - men captured by Afghan warlords or Pakistani security forces and sent to Guantánamo “on the sketchiest bit of intelligence with nothing to corroborate.” They ended up with “a lot of false information based on some pretty poor interrogations being done partly by military interrogators in that time frame.” Fallon ... is in the final stages of publishing a book of his criticisms and said in a recent interview that it’s no surprise that early prisoner profiles are imploding under Periodic Review Board scrutiny. In the early years, according to one analyst who worked there, Guantánamo’s Joint Intelligence Group was “looking for anything you can pin on these guys.” The intelligence unit was “picking up on one or two things and holding on to it tightly like it was gospel.”
Note: US officials have been aware for years that many Guantánamo detainees were innocent or only low-level operatives. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
An alleged accomplice in the Sept. 11 terror attacks is to undergo surgery this week for decade-old damage from his “sodomy” in CIA custody, his attorney says. Defense attorney Walter Ruiz, a Navy Reserve officer, disclosed the upcoming surgery for his client, Mustafa al Hawsawi, 48, on the eve of pretrial hearings Tuesday in the case that accuses the Saudi Arabian Hawsawi and four other men of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Ruiz said a case prosecutor informed him of the procedure over the weekend. Defense lawyers have been litigating over conditions at the remote prison and, in the case of their client, have specifically sought medical intervention to treat a rectal prolapse that has caused Hawsawi to bleed for more than a decade. The disclosure comes days after The New York Times published a detailed account of former CIA and Guantánamo captives grappling with the aftereffects of torture. Hawsawi was denied a request to have a member of his legal team on standby near the surgery. He has sat gingerly on a pillow at the war court since his first appearance in 2008. But the reason was not publicly known until release of a portion of the so-called Senate Torture Report on the CIA program ... which described agents using quasi-medical techniques called “rectal rehydration” and “rectal re-feeding.” Former CIA captives like Hawsawi are segregated in a clandestine lockup called Camp 7 that has been described ... as having its own medical facility, the capabilities of which are not known.
Note: For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
The poster child of the American torture program sits in a Guantanamo Bay prison cell, where many U.S. officials hope he will simply be forgotten. Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, known to the world as Abu Zubaydah ... was the “guinea pig” of the CIA torture program. He was the first prisoner sent to a secret CIA “black site,” the first to have his interrogation “enhanced ” and the only prisoner subjected to all of the CIA’s approved techniques, as well as many that were not authorized. He is the man for whom the George W. Bush administration wrote the infamous torture memo in the summer of 2002. Senior officials thought he had been personally involved in every major al-Qaeda operation, including 9/11. Today, the United States acknowledges that assessment was, to put it graciously, overblown. His extended torture provided no actionable intelligence about al-Qaeda’s plans. He has never been charged with a violation of U.S. law, military or civilian, and apparently never will be formally charged. Instead, he languishes at Guantanamo. After years in secret prisons around the world, he remains incommunicado, with no prospect of trial. Who is Zubaydah, really? Public understanding about Zubaydah remains remarkably controlled and superficial. In connection with Zubaydah’s stalled case seeking federal court review of his detention, the government has recently agreed to clear for public release a few of the letters he has written to us. These brief letters [are] published here for the first time.
Note: The use of humans as guinea pigs in government, military, and medical experiments has a long history. For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
The Pentagon gave a controversial U.K. PR firm over half a billion dollars to run a top secret propaganda program in Iraq, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism can reveal. Bell Pottinger’s output included short TV segments made in the style of Arabic news networks and fake insurgent videos which could be used to track the people who watched them, according to a former employee. The agency’s staff worked alongside high-ranking U.S. military officers in their Baghdad Camp Victory headquarters. Bell Pottinger reported to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the National Security Council on its work in Iraq. In the first media interview any Bell Pottinger employee has given about the work for the U.S. military in Iraq, video editor Martin Wells told the Bureau his time in Camp Victory was “shocking, eye-opening, life-changing.” The firm’s output was signed off by former General David Petraeus - then commander of the coalition forces in Iraq - and on occasion by the White House, he said. Bell Pottinger’s work in Iraq was a huge media operation which cost over a hundred million dollars a year on average. The ... most sensitive program described by Wells was the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. U.S. marines would take the CDs on patrol and drop them in the chaos when they raided targets. Wells explained how the team embedded a code into the CDs which linked to a Google Analytics account, giving a list of IP addresses where the CDs had been played.
Note: So the Pentagon made propaganda films to recruit for Al Qaeda, bombed a place upsetting the people there, then seeded these films to try to capture anyone who was interested in the propaganda they spread. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about war corruption and the manipulation of public perception.
Yahoo has been accused of secretly building a customised software programme to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by US intelligence officials. The company complied with a classified US government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI. Reuters said that a number of surveillance experts said this represented the first case to surface of a US Internet company agreeing to a spy agency’s demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time. The agency also said it was unable to determine what data the company had handed over, and if the intelligence officials had approached other email providers besides Yahoo. US phone and Internet companies are known to have handed over bulk customer data to intelligence agencies. But some former government officials and private surveillance experts said they had not previously seen either such a broad directive for real-time Web collection or one that required the creation of a new computer program. “I’ve never seen that, a wiretap in real time on a ‘selector’,” said Albert Gidari, a lawyer who represented phone and Internet companies on surveillance. A selector refers to a type of search term used to zero in on specific information. He added: “It would be really difficult for a provider to do that.”
Over his two terms, Obama has created the most powerful surveillance state the world has ever seen. From 22,300 miles in space, where seven Advanced Orion [spy satellites] now orbit; to a 1-million-square-foot building in the Utah desert that stores data intercepted from personal phones, emails, and social media accounts; to taps along the millions of miles of undersea cables that encircle the Earth like yarn, U.S. surveillance has expanded exponentially since Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009. The effort to wire the world ... has cost American taxpayers more than $100 billion. Yet has the president’s blueprint for spying succeeded on its own terms? An examination of the unprecedented architecture reveals that the Obama administration may only have drowned itself in data. Privacy hasn’t been traded for security, but for the government hoarding more data than it knows how to handle. A panel set up by Obama [in 2013] to review the NSA’s operations concluded that the agency had stopped no terrorist attacks. Beyond failures to create security, there is the matter of misuse or abuse of U.S. spying, the effects of which extend well beyond violations of Americans’ constitutional liberties. Obama, meanwhile, has taken virtually no steps to fix what ails his spying apparatus, [but] has gone after people blowing the whistle on intelligence abuses. The Justice Department has charged eight leakers — more than double the number under all previous presidents combined.
Note: The above was written by James Bamford, whistleblower and author of "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America." Former US Senator Frank Church warned of the dangers of creating a surveillance state in 1975. By 2013, it had become evident that the US did not heed his warning. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
“The United States does not torture,” said George W Bush on 6 September 2006. Bush was, for the first time, acknowledging the existence of the program that Senate intelligence committee staff investigator Daniel Jones would later expose as taking power drills to the heads of captured men; making them stand with their arms stretched above their heads for days at a time; leaving at least one of them naked until he froze to death; waterboarding them to the point of catatonia as bubbles rose from their open mouths; and inserting pureed food into their rectums while claiming it was necessary for delivering nutrients. Details of those procedures were outlined in the 525 pages which CIA director John Brennan, Barack Obama and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough allowed to become public. The CIA’s response to Jones’s report was split into two corps, one official and one not. The agency itself would no longer defend torture outright. The second corps consisted of retired CIA directors, a group known colloquially as the “Formers”. They laid into the Senate committee, [and] savaged it as a Democratic witchhunt. Jones has regrets about the way the declassified report turned out. Most prominently, Jones wishes he had gotten declassified the nearly 100-page table of contents for the full 6,700-page torture report, so readers could understand from the headings and subheadings just what the full contours of the torture was. In May 2016, the CIA inspector general’s office destroyed its only copy of the classified torture report.
Note: For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Oliver Stone has taken aim at the US government for deceiving people about the levels of surveillance that exist in the country. His new film Snowden, about the controversial NSA informant Edward Snowden, received its world premiere. The drama ... tells of the former CIA employee’s discovery that the agency had constructed a system to spy on the public. “Americans don’t know anything about it because the government lies about it all the time,” Stone said at a press conference. “What’s going on now is pretty shocking. This story not only deals with eavesdropping but mass eavesdropping, drones and cyberwarfare. As Snowden said himself the other day, ‘It’s out of control, the world is out of control.’” The film also features a cameo from Snowden himself, who still resides at an undisclosed location in Russia while he searches for asylum elsewhere. Stone hopes that he may return to US ground but is doubtful. “Obama could pardon him and we hope so,” he said. “But he has vigorously prosecuted eight whistleblowers under the espionage act, which is an all-time record for an American president, and he’s been one of the most efficient managers of this surveillance world. It is the most extensive and invasive surveillance state that has ever existed and he’s built it up.” The film-maker ... likens [the current situation] to a George Orwell novel. “I never thought this could happen,” he said. “But from 2001 on, it’s very clear that something radical has changed. There’s more to it that meets the eye and whatever they tell you, you’ve got to look beyond.”
The days leading up to last Friday’s release of director Oliver Stone’s Snowden looked like one long movie trailer. The American Civil Liberties Union ... announced a campaign to win a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of its highly classified documents. The next day, the House Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan letter to the president that advised him against any pardon. The week before, Stone had invited me to a private screening of his movie, [along with] a small group of former government employees who were whistleblowers before Snowden – and paid a high price for it. The reason they had been persecuted is that U.S. law makes no distinction between revealing illegal government activity to the press about eavesdropping on Americans or engaging in torture, and betraying the country by passing secrets for money or ideology to foreign governments. The Espionage Act was enacted nearly a century ago following World War One, and has already been amended several times. One key issue confronting the next president ... is whether the law needs to be amended again – this time to separate the whistleblowers from the spies. Today ... the battle lines have been drawn between those in government – both the executive branch and Congress – who view the theft of government secrets as espionage, regardless of the motive, and those in civil-liberties groups and the media who see motive as a critical distinction.
Note: The above was written by James Bamford, whistleblower and author of "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The United States paid over a million euros to the family of Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker killed in a U.S. drone strike in January of last year, according to newly released documents. The 37-year-old Lo Porto died when CIA drones struck an al Qaeda compound where he was being held hostage along with Warren Weinstein, an American humanitarian worker. In a rare admission of responsibility, President Barack Obama acknowledged the strike and promised compensation for the families. The Intercept first reported that the family had reached a settlement with the U.S. government in July. The document also states that the agreement does not imply “a waiver of sovereign or personal immunity.” Lawyers for the Lo Porto family had pressed the Italian state prosecutor to consider a criminal case against the United States, while acknowledging that the chances of such a case going forward were slim. They also asked for more information from U.S. agencies about the strike and its aftermath. The U.S. has, in a few instances, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the families of civilians killed in attacks in Yemen, but has not publicly acknowledged doing so. Many human rights advocacy groups see a double standard in the silence of the U.S. government on the cases of non-Westerners who have died.
Note: The families of thousands of innocent citizens killed by US drones in the Middle East have received zero compensation. Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
For two years after the accident, Yei Yang refused to leave his home. "I couldn't farm, I couldn't go to see friends, as they might be afraid of me," Yang tells CNN. "I didn't want to live." Yang was just 22 and burning rubbish near his village in the province of Xieng Khoung in north-eastern Laos, when a bomb blast tore off one of his eyelids, his top lip and an ear, mutilated one of his arms, and left him with severe scarring from the waist up. His wounds were not caused by a modern day conflict, but by the remnants of a war that was waged more than 40 years ago, and is still destroying lives in this small Southeast Asian nation. Some 80 million unexploded bombs are scattered across the country - the deadly legacy of what became known as America's "secret war" in Laos - a CIA-led mission during the Vietnam War. In total, between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped more than two million tons of bombs - one of the heaviest aerial bombardments in history. Most of the munitions dropped were cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed, according to US-based NGO Legacies of War, which is spearheading the campaign to clear them. More than 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance (UXOs) since the war ended, and currently, 50 people are maimed or killed every year. Around 40% of those are children.
A specialist unit created by the British domestic counterintelligence and security agency MI5 to “get inside the heads” of terrorists has helped foil seven attacks in the past year. The Behavioural Science Unit at Thames House, the headquarters of MI5 [establishes] whether people flagged as potential threats are "talkers" or "walkers" - those who simply boast or those who are preparing to act. Research by MI5 shows that more than 60 per cent of so-called lone wolves unwittingly provide clues that they are preparing to strike. The BSU’s work involves picking up signs of such changing behaviour. Neil, an Arabic and Norwegian speaker who has worked for the unit for six years, said ... his team is passed intelligence by officers that is gleaned from a network of informants and the public. The BSU then looks for signs of unusual activity. The BSU team pays close attention to “lone-actor” terrorists. The number of experts working in the BSU, which was created in 2004, has more than doubled since ... 2013. “We deal with probabilities and that is the nature of our work,” said Neil, [adding that] some of those they profiled lied to themselves about their intention and the ultimate aim was to persuade them to abandon their radical ideology. He said the assumption that many extremists had mental health problems was wrong. “Only 2 per cent of members of terrorist organisations suffer from mental health problems, compared with an average of up to 30 per cent of members of the public,” Neil said.
Some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agency’s elite group of hackers have been revealed in recent days. A cache of hacking tools with code names such as Epicbanana, Buzzdirection and Egregiousblunder appeared mysteriously online over the weekend, setting the security world abuzz with speculation over whether the material was legitimate. The file appeared to be real, according to former NSA personnel who worked in the agency’s hacking division, known as Tailored Access Operations (TAO). The exploits are not run-of-the-mill tools to target everyday individuals. They are expensive software used to take over firewalls, such as Cisco and Fortinet, that are used “in the largest and most critical commercial, educational and government agencies around the world,” said [former TAO operator] Blake Darche. Some former agency employees suspect that the leak was the result of a mistake by an NSA operator, rather than a successful hack by a foreign government of the agency’s infrastructure. It is not unprecedented for a TAO operator to accidentally upload a large file of tools ... one of the former employees said. “What’s unprecedented is to not realize you made a mistake,” he said. “You would recognize, ‘Oops, I uploaded that set’ and delete it.” Critics of the NSA have suspected that the agency, when it discovers a software vulnerability, frequently does not disclose it, thereby putting at risk the cybersecurity of anyone using that product.
Note: Former US Senator Frank Church warned of the dangers of creating a surveillance state in 1975. By 2013, it had become evident that the US did not heed his warning. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.