Tag Archives: intelligence

Mueller report reveals how Donald Trump leaned on his intelligence chiefs over Russia probe

Mueller report reveals how Donald Trump leaned on his intelligence chiefs over Russia probeDonald Trump had a rocky relationship with intelligence officials after he took office questioning their conclusions on Russian election interference.



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Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squad

Ukraine says it captured Russian military intelligence hit squadUkraine’s security service SBU said on Wednesday it had captured a Russian military intelligence hit squad responsible for the attempted murder of a Ukrainian military spy in the run-up to a presidential election on Sunday. The issue of how to deal with Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and backs pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, is prominent ahead of the vote, with incumbent Petro Poroshenko casting himself as the commander-in-chief Ukraine needs to defend the country.



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Presidential candidate Andrew Yang thinks way outside the box on climate change, artificial intelligence and more

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang thinks way outside the box on climate change, artificial intelligence and moreAndrew Yang, the entrepreneur turned 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, has thought through issues big and small, and because he has crossed the 65,000 individual donor threshold to participate in the Democratic debates, we’ll likely be hearing more about his ideas in the next year.



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Republicans call for Rep. Adam Schiff to resign, step down from intelligence committee

Republicans call for Rep. Adam Schiff to resign, step down from intelligence committeeRepublicans including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr. are calling for Rep. Adam Schiff's resignation.



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Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido says senior aide was kidnapped by intelligence agents

Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaido says senior aide was kidnapped by intelligence agentsThe Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has said intelligence agents arrested his chief of staff after a pre-dawn raid, signalling that president Nicolas Maduro may be cracking down on the opposition’s challenge to his rule. Mr Guaido invoked the constitution in January to assume the interim presidency after declaring Maduro’s 2018 re-election a fraud, and has been recognised by dozens of Western nations as the country’s legitimate leader. Mr Maduro, who has overseen a dramatic collapse of the country’s economy, has called Mr Guaido a puppet of the United States and said he should “face justice”, but has not explicitly ordered his arrest.



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Venezuela: prominent journalist taken by intelligence service

Venezuela: prominent journalist taken by intelligence serviceLuis Carlos Díaz, who was charged with inciting violence and ordered not to leave the country, was released late on TuesdayVenezuela’s National Press Workers Union said agents raided Luis Carlos Díaz’s home shortly before dawn, seizing computers as the handcuffed journalist looked on. Photograph: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty ImagesA prominent Venezuelan journalist who had been reporting on the country’s escalating political crisis and electricity blackout out has been seized by secret police, sparking international condemnation.Luis Carlos Díaz went missing at about 5.30pm on Monday after leaving the radio station where he worked in the capital, Caracas.A social media hunt ensued with Twitter users demanding ~~~~ DóndeEstáLuisCarlos or ~~~~ WhereIsLuisCarlos.Fellow journalists confirmed Díaz had been taken by members of Venezuela’s intelligence service, Sebin.He was charged with inciting violence and released late on Tuesday. A judge ordered him not to leave the country and prohibited him from making public statements.Venezuela’s National Press Workers Union said agents raided Díaz’s home shortly before dawn, seizing computers and pen drives as the handcuffed journalist looked on.Díaz was reportedly held in the notorious El Helicoide political prison.Luz Mely Reyes, an internationally acclaimed Venezuelan journalist, told the Guardian her colleague’s detention was part of an escalating war on the press being waged by the country’s embattled leader, Nicolás Maduro.Maduro is fighting for his political life after an audacious challenge from a young opposition leader called Juan Guaidó, who most western governments now recognize as Venezuela’s rightful interim president.“I think one of the things [Maduro] is trying to achieve is to intimidate [journalists] and ensure the stories about what is going on in Venezuela are not told,” Reyes said. “Repression against the press has been growing.”Last week, one day before much of Venezuela was paralyzed by a massive power cut, an American freelance journalist who had worked for the Daily Telegraph was deported after being seized at his home in Caracas. A rightwing German journalist, Billy Six, has reportedly been held in El Helicoide since being detained on suspicion of espionage last year.“It is just a joke,” his father, Edward Six, told the Guardian in a recent interview. “Journalism is not a crime.”Díaz’s detention – which authorities have yet to explain – triggered condemnation in and outside of Venezuela, with Guaidó denouncing Maduro’s “persecution” of journalists.The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet tweeted that she was “deeply worried” by the detention of Díaz, adding that UN officials in Caracas had urgently requested access to him.During a brief conversation in the early hours of Tuesday, Díaz reportedly told Naky Soto, his journalist wife, he had been detained near the Korean embassy in Caracas while riding his bicycle home. Agents said he was suspected of “IT offenses”.Last Friday, Maduro’s second-in-command, Diosdado Cabello, published a conspiratorial video on Twitter insinuating Díaz was part of a “rancid” rightwing US-backed plot to destroy Venezuela’s electricity network.Reyes said she feared Díaz’s detention would not be the last, as the political situation in Venezuela deteriorated. “This is not a game – this is a very serious situation that puts us on alert.”



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Ex-Army intelligence analyst Manning jailed for defying grand jury subpoena

Ex-Army intelligence analyst Manning jailed for defying grand jury subpoenaManning had appeared before the grand jury on Wednesday but declined to answer questions in connection with what is widely believed to be the government’s long-running investigation into Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, citing her First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights under the Constitution.



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Former Air Force intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran and revealing defense secrets

Former Air Force intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran and revealing defense secretsFormer Air Force intel officer charged with espionage for Iran govt



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Former US intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran after defection

Former US intelligence officer charged with spying for Iran after defectionA former US Air Force intelligence officer has been charged with helping Iran target ex-colleagues with cyberattacks after defecting to the country in what was dubbed a “betrayal” of America.  Monica Witt, 39, was accused of switching sides after more than a decade of US military service and identifying American intelligence officers and their personal Facebook accounts for the Iranian regime.  Messages quoted in an indictment unsealed yesterday showed Witt saying that she wanted to “put the training I received to good use instead of evil” around the time of her defection.  Four Iranians said to have been involved in the cyber-attacks were also charged along with two Iran-based businesses, New Horizon Organization and Net Peygard Samavat Company.  The five individuals charged are all at large, meaning the chances of a successful prosecution remain unclear. The investigation to uncover the alleged crimes was being run for years.  John Demers, the US assistant attorney general, said: “This case underscores the dangers to our intelligence professionals and the lengths our adversaries will go to identify them, expose them, target them, and, in a few rare cases, ultimately turn them against the nation they swore to protect." Image released on February 13, 2019 showing the missing person page of the FBI website for Monica Witt Credit: HO/AFP/Getty Images Witt, a US citizen, worked for the US Air Force as an intelligence specialist and special agent between 1997 and 2008. She worked with the Defence Department as a contractor until 2010.  During her service she was given access to secret and top secret information relating to counterintelligence, including material that contained the true names of secret agents and sources.  Early in her career she was taught the Farsi language and was deployed in a number of overseas locations, carrying out missions to counter America’s enemies.  Witt repeatedly promised to act in America’s interests and not share classified information she accessed, according to US prosecutors – pledges which she is accused of flagrantly breaking.  The first signs of Witt’s alleged defection came when she attended the Iranian New Horizon Organization’s “Hollywoodism” conference in February 2012.  The gathering was sponsored by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s armed forces which was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration for its “malign” activities.  The conference was partly aimed at “condemning American moral standards and promoting anti-US propaganda”, US prosecutors said. By August 2013, just 18 months later, Witt had fled to Iran.  Messages between Witt and an unnamed Iranian-American who helped arrange the trip which were published in the indictment give an insight into her thinking before the defection. “Should i thank the sec of defense . . u were well trained,” the unnamed individual allegedly wrote to Witt in one message before her trip, appearing to reference the US defence secretary, her old boss.  Witt responded: “LOL thank the sec of defense? For me? Well, I loved the work, and I am endeavoring to put the training I received to good use instead of evil.” She added a smiling emoji and the words: “Thanks for giving me the opportunity.” In another message Witt wrote “If all else fails, I just may go public with a program and do like Snowden :) ”. The apparent reference is Edward Snowden, the former CIA employee who leaked classified material in 2013 and then fled to Russia.  Once Witt was in Iran she was given housing and computer equipment by Iranian government officials, according to US prosecutors.  She is then accused of disclosing classified information about secret US projects and combing Facebook under an alias to identify former colleagues, putting together “target packages” that would help the Iranians find, track and “neutralize” the threat posed.  The four Iranians charged in the indictment then began a “malicious” campaign of targeting Witt’s former colleagues, according to US prosecutors.  The allegations included using fictitious or imposter Facebook accounts to send messages with links that would compromise their computers once clicked.  The Iranian nationals charged with computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft are Mojtaba Masoumpour, Behzad Mesri, Hossein Parvar and Mohamad Paryar.  Terry Phillips, a US special agent with the Air Force, said: “The alleged actions of Monica Witt in assisting a hostile nation are a betrayal of our nation’s security, our military, and the American people.   “While violations like this are extremely rare, her actions as alleged are an affront to all who have served our great nation.”  It is not known how those charged will plead if the case came to court. The five individuals charged had not commented publicly in the hours immediately after the indictment was unsealed.



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Pope discusses ethics of artificial intelligence with Microsoft chief

Pope discusses ethics of artificial intelligence with Microsoft chiefMicrosoft President Brad Smith met Pope Francis on Wednesday to discuss the ethical use of artificial intelligence and ways to bridge the digital divide between rich and poor nations, the Vatican said. The head of the global tech giant and the 81-year-old Roman Catholic leader, who once said he is a “disaster” when it comes to technology, spoke for about 30 minutes in the pontiff’s residence. The pair discussed “artificial intelligence at the service of the common good and activities aimed at bridging the digital divide that still persists at the global level”, according to a statement.



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