Tag - CIA

CIA looks to expand its cyber espionage capabilities

Washington Post, By Greg Miller, February 23

CIA Director John 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.

Several officials said Brennan’s team has even considered creating a new cyber-directorate — a step that would put the agency’s technology experts on equal footing with the operations and analysis branches, which have been pillars of the CIA’s organizational structure for decades.

Via emptywheel: After Failing at the White House, Then Illegally Hacking SSCI, Brennan Wants Cyber

Editor of major newspaper says he planted stories for CIA

Digital Journal, By Ralph Lopez, January 26

Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

How the CIA made Google

Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet—

Medium, By Nafeez Ahmed, January 22

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’
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The Inside Information That Could Have Stopped 9/11

Newsweek, By Jeff Stein, January 14

Just before Christmas, former FBI special agent Mark Rossini greeted me with his usual good cheer when we met for drinks in a midtown Manhattan restaurant. He told me his life had finally taken a turn for the better. He’s spending most of his time in Switzerland, where he works for a private global corporate-security firm. “Life’s good,” he said.

Good, but with a few major changes. Rossini was drinking club soda instead of the expensive cabernets he quaffed when I first knew him as a high-flying FBI official in Washington a decade ago, when he was a special assistant to the bureau’s chief spokesman, John Miller (now with the New York City Police Department). “I’ve cut back,” he said. “Feeling good.”
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CIA board clears staff of snooping Senate computers

A CIA internal watchdog has cleared agency officers of improperly accessing the computers of members of the US Senate intelligence committee.

BBC, January 15

It said CIA officers acted reasonably in searching computers after concerns they contained classified material.

The finding contradicts allegations from lawmakers and an admission from the agency’s own inspector general.

The allegations came during the intelligence committee’s investigation into claims of torture by the CIA.

Reaching Outside C.I.A., Obama Picks Treasury Official to Become Agency’s No. 2

New York Times, By Mark Mazzetti, January 9

Washington — President Obama has chosen the Treasury Department official who has directed the effort to cut off funding of the Islamic State and impose economic sanctions on Syria, Russia and Iran to become the C.I.A.’s deputy director, the agency announced on Friday.

The official, David S. Cohen, who as under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence has spent more than three years in charge of the Obama administration’s attempts to punish foreign governments and cripple terrorist groups, will help lead an agency that remains at the center of armed drone campaigns and covert efforts to arm and train Syrian rebels.

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, said in a statement that Mr. Cohen brings a “wealth of experience on many of the issues that we focus on as an agency” — such as money laundering, financial support for terrorism and narcotics trafficking.

In the past, the C.I.A.’s No. 2 job, which does not require Senate confirmation, has often been filled by agency veterans or senior military officers. Mr. Cohen, a lawyer who has no previous C.I.A. experience, will replace Avril D. Haines, who left the C.I.A. to become Mr. Obama’s deputy national security adviser.

Mark Udall to consider all options to reveal CIA torture report

The Denver Post, By Mark K. Matthews, November 13

Washington — U.S. Sen. Mark Udall has seven weeks left in office, but the Colorado Democrat isn’t prepared to go quietly — especially when it comes to the twin issues of CIA torture and government snooping.

In his first interview since Election Day, Udall told The Denver Post that he would “keep all options on the table” — including a rarely used right given to federal lawmakers — to publicize a secret report about the harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA agents in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He also vowed to make one final push to curb the National Security Agency and its power to gather information on ordinary Americans.

“Trying to run out the clock … is not an option,” Udall said Thursday of the long-hidden CIA report. “The truth will come out.”

Senate’s inquiry into CIA torture sidesteps blaming Bush, aides

McClatchy, By Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor, October 16

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.

“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,” said a person familiar with the document, who asked not to be further identified because the executive summary – the only part to that will be made public – still is in the final stages of declassification.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report also didn’t examine the responsibility of top Bush administration lawyers in crafting the legal framework that permitted the CIA to use simulated drowning called waterboarding and other interrogation methods widely described as torture, McClatchy has learned.

“It does not look at the Bush administration’s lawyers to see if they were trying to literally do an end run around justice and the law,” the person said.

The Great Expectancy

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Pax Americana continues to crumble before our eyes. The belief that the United States has a divinely-inspired obligation to police the entire world has always been most strongly held among Americans themselves; some of the beneficiaries of this largesse, such as the Vietnamese and most recently the Iraqis, never quite showed the gratitude America felt it had earned by bringing them liberty, freedom, justice, and a Starbucks Grandé Mocha every morning on their way to work. Of course, it takes a lot of effort to keep Americans invested in the Pax Americana dream, especially since to make the dream mean anything the U.S. has to have “boots on the ground” in strange places that seem to have little to do with American security. Read More

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