And more. . .
We begin with the first of a series of stories prompted by a major cache of secret cables handed over to the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit:
Mossad contradicted Netanyahu on Iran nuclear programme
Spy Cables reveal Mossad concluded that Iran was not producing nuclear weapons, after PM sounded alarm at UN in 2012
Less than a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 2012 warning to the UN General Assembly that Iran was 70 per cent of the way to completing its “plans to build a nuclear weapon”, Israel’s intelligence service believed that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons”.
A secret cable obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit reveals that Mossad sent a top-secret cable to South Africa on October 22, 2012 that laid out a “bottom line” assessment of Iran’s nuclear work.
It appears to contradict the picture painted by Netanyahu of Tehran racing towards acquisition of a nuclear bomb.
Another Al Jazeera story:
Israeli cable reveals S Africa missile theft cover-up
- Leaked Mossad cable shows Israel obtained stolen missile plans, and South Africa asked for their return
Next, the first of two headlines about the cables from the Guardian:
Spy cables: MI6 intervened to halt South African firm’s deal with Iranian client
- Furnace maker was ‘advised most strongly’ to end contract with company suspected of being involved in weapons manufacturing
The next Guardian headline:
CIA attempted to contact Hamas despite official US ban, spy cables reveal
- Leaked files show US ‘desperate to make inroads’ into Gaza as well as Barack Obama’s alleged threat to Palestinians over statehood
While the Daily Dot points out a non-deletion:
Al Jazeera error puts North Korean spy’s life on the line
Newly leaked documents show the British government attempting to recruit a North Korean spy—but journalists have failed to properly redact the cables, potentially putting the life of the North Korean and his family in grave jeopardy.
Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news organization, published on Monday a leaked cable from the British Secret Intelligence Service outlining in great detail its attempt to bring a North Korean asset into a “long term clandestine relationship in return for payment.”
The four-page document was published with dozens of redactions, including the exact name of the North Korean individual in question.
However, the journalists left in key information. Dates and specific locations relating to where the North Korean individual met with British spies remains readable, vastly narrowing down the suspects North Korean authorities will no doubt be looking for.
Finally, a video summary for Al Jazeera America’s AJ+:
The Spy Cables – 4 Things We Learned From Leaked Documents
The Spy Cables are the largest release of intelligence documents since Edward Snowden’s and have been obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera’s investigative unit. They show us how spies spy on one another and also occasionally help each other spy on mutual enemies. South Africa’s spy agency and MI6 have worked together to shift a North Korean spy’s allegiance. Also, find out who South Korea considers a dangerous individual – the answer might surprise you.
Here’s the masterpage for the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit leak cache stories.
From the New York Times, playing politics to the heights of absurdity:
Concerns Mount as Homeland Security Shutdown Looks Likely
The notion that Congress might actually shut down the Department of Homeland Security as part of a broader fight over President Obama’s immigration policies seemed laughable just a few weeks ago.
A top Republican staff member laughed when asked if Republicans, who are usually security-minded, were prepared to shut down the agency in a political battle over Mr. Obama’s recent executive actions.
But now, with just days remaining until funding for the Homeland Security agency runs out on Friday, a shutdown of the department is looking increasingly likely.
And from CNN, the usually unmentioned:
DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat
- They’re carrying out sporadic terror attacks on police, have threatened attacks on government buildings and reject government authority.
A new intelligence assessment, circulated by the Department of Homeland Security this month and reviewed by CNN, focuses on the domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists and comes as the Obama administration holds a White House conference to focus efforts to fight violent extremism.
Some federal and local law enforcement groups view the domestic terror threat from sovereign citizen groups as equal to — and in some cases greater than — the threat from foreign Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS, that garner more public attention.?
The Homeland Security report, produced in coordination with the FBI, counts 24 violent sovereign citizen-related attacks across the U.S. since 2010.
Network World covers a demand:
NSA director wants gov’t access to encrypted communications
It probably comes as no surprise that the director of the U.S. National Security Agency wants access to encrypted data on computers and other devices.
The U.S. should be able to craft a policy that allows the NSA and law enforcement agencies to read encrypted data when they need to, NSA director Michael Rogers said during an appearance at a cybersecurity policy event Monday.
Asked if the U.S. government should have backdoors to encrypted devices, Rogers said the U.S. government needs to develop a “framework.”
From Nextgov, a prognostication desideratum:
Spy Research Agency Is Building Psychic Machines to Predict Hacks
Imagine if IBM’s Watson — the “Jeopardy!” champion supercomputer — could answer not only trivia questions and forecast the weather, but also predict data breaches days before they occur.
That is the ambitious, long-term goal of a contest being held by the U.S. intelligence community.
Academics and industry scientists are teaming up to build software that can analyze publicly available data and a specific organization’s network activity to find patterns suggesting the likelihood of an imminent hack.
The dream of the future: A White House supercomputer spitting out forecasts on the probability that, say, China will try to intercept situation room video that day, or that Russia will eavesdrop on Secretary of State John Kerry’s phone conversations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
From the New York Times, documenting:
Document Reveals Growth of Cyberwarfare Between the U.S. and Iran
The document, which was written in April 2013 for Gen. Keith B. Alexander, then the director of the National Security Agency, described how Iranian officials had discovered new evidence the year before that the United States was preparing computer surveillance or cyberattacks on their networks.
It detailed how the United States and Britain had worked together to contain the damage from “Iran’s discovery of computer network exploitation tools” — the building blocks of cyberweapons. That was more than two years after the Stuxnet worm attack by the United States and Israel severely damaged the computer networks at Tehran’s nuclear enrichment plant.
And from the Washington Post, they want in on the action:
CIA looks to expand its cyber espionage capabilities
CIA Director John O. Brennan is planning a major expansion of the agency’s cyber espionage capabilities as part of a broad restructuring of an intelligence service long defined by its human spy work, current and former U.S. officials said.
The proposed shift reflects a determination that the CIA’s approach to conventional espionage is increasingly outmoded amid the exploding use of smartphones, social media and other technologies.
U.S. officials said Brennan’s plans call for increased use of cyber capabilities in almost every category of operations — whether identifying foreign officials to recruit as CIA informants, confirming the identities of targets of drone strikes or penetrating Internet-savvy adversaries such as the Islamic State.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, what else to expect?:
Rejection of NSA whistleblower’s retaliation claim draws criticism
Thomas Drake became a symbol of the dangers whistleblowers face when they help journalists and Congress investigate wrongdoing at intelligence agencies. He claims he was subjected to a decade of retaliation by the National Security Agency that culminated in his being charged with espionage.
But when the Pentagon Inspector General’s Office opened an inquiry into the former senior NSA official’s allegations of retaliation in 2012, it looked at only two of the 10 years detailed in his account, according to a recently released Pentagon summary of the probe, before finding no evidence of retaliation. That finding ended Drake’s four-year effort to return to government service.
Whistleblower advocates say Drake’s experience, spelled out in a document McClatchy obtained this month through the Freedom of Information Act, underscores the problem that intelligence and defense workers face in bringing malfeasance to the surface. The agencies that are supposed to crack down on retaliation are not up to the task, especially when the alleged wrongdoing involves classified information, they charge.
From the Independent, debunking the justification for the new state security regime Down Under:
Tony Abbott admits there were 18 warning calls before Sydney attack
A national security hotline received 18 calls about “self-styled” cleric Man Haron Monis just days before he took 18 people hostage at a café in Sydney, a report into the siege has revealed.
The calls between 9 and 12 December last year all concerned material on his Facebook page.
Just three days later he was shot dead by police after a 17-hour siege which left two hostages dead along with Monis himself.
It was later revealed that the Iranian-born attacker, who had long been known to security services, was out on bail at the time of the attack.
And from VICE News, a failure to communicate North of the Border:
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service Refused to Tell Us How Much It Spent on an Unconstitutional Snooping Campaign
“We neither confirm nor deny that the records you requested exist. We are, however, advising you, as required by paragraph 10(1)(b) of the Act, that such records, if they existed, could reasonably be expected to be exempted.”
Translation: We’re not telling.
In January, VICE filed an Access to Information (ATI) request, asking for a slew of financial reports from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. The specific documents we’re after are invoices for thousands, if not millions of payments made from various law enforcement bodies to Canada’s telecommunications companies.
For a decade, up until a surprise 2014 Supreme Court ruling, Canada’s investigators made informal requests to the country’s cellphone and internet providers for their customers’ personal information. They never had to go to a judge to make those requests. As an incentive, police paid nominal amounts of money per request—$1.50 here, $10 there—that they wouldn’t normally pay for requests authorized by a warrant.
After the jump, when your cell phone battery gives you away, more adware snooping enablement malfunctions, a bankster’s secrecy apologia, corporate espionage in the Indian oil biz, Obama’s promised Border Patrol reforms unfulfilled, Russian accusations of Western dominance aspirations, the Hitler-posing Pegida xenophobe reclaims his role, on to the Mideastern battlefield and a French carrier dispatched, signs that ISIS has deep roots, and the movement’s new English language schools, the emerging narrative on Libya, an embargo-busting Russian missile offering to Iran, the ISIS threat to Pakistan, a school assassination plotter nabbed, Myanmar captures rebel army bases, Japan’s Shnzo Abe makes a provocative insular move and South Korea responds, Japan plans more military attache deployments abroad, and a crown prince issue historical advice. . . Continue reading