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Tag: Spies

Russian Spies Penetrated FBI Communications in Brazen Counterintelligence Operation

Russian leader Vladimir Putin

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Russia’s unprecedented campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election appeared to be the primary reason why the Obama administration forced out three dozen Russian diplomats from the U.S. at the end of his term.

But something more sinister was going on.

Russian spies were using two rural East Coast estates to carry out a brazen counterintelligence operation that targeted FBI communications, Yahoo News reports, citing former U.S. officials.

Russians managed to decrypt what was believed to be secure types of communications, enabling spies to tap into surveillance used by elite FBI teams. The FBI’s ability to track spies on U.S. soil was hampered, and the bureau and CIA even stopped contacting some of their Russian assets.

The counterintelligence operation was so successful that some U.S. officials feared a Russian mole had penetrated U.S. intelligence agencies.

“It was a very broad effort to try and penetrate our most sensitive operations,” a former senior CIA official said.

Despite the discovery, President Trump continues to brag about his good relationship with Russia and has never divulged the severity of the country’s counterintelligence just before he took office.

‘More Than 10,000 spies’ Roam Washington D.C. for Secrets, And They’re Hard to Identify

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Among the civil servants, business people, diplomats, tourists and law enforcement officials in Washington D.C. are “more than 10,000 spies,” according to the International Spy Museum.

Although the actual numbers are in debate, the FBI agrees the city is flush with spies.

“It’s unprecedented — the threat from our foreign adversaries, specifically China on the economic espionage and the espionage front,” Brian Dugan, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told WTOP for a three-part series on espionage.

The spies come from all over, and they’re increasingly using technology in an attempt to steal secrets. After all, Washington D.C. is home to more than 175 foreign embassies, chanceries, residences and diplomatic missions. Then there are tens of thousands of international students, and an “untold number of business people with links to foreign intelligence services,” WTOP reported.

“A spy is nondescript. A spy is going to be someone that’s going to be a student in school, a visiting professor, your neighbor. It could be a colleague or someone that shares the soccer field with you,” Dugan said.

Highly skilled spies are trained to become virtually invisible to unsuspecting people, and they’re elusive to even the most trained spy hunters.

Among the most troublesome spies are Russians.

“The Russians are hyper focused on the United States,” John Sipher, a retired CIA official. “They see us as their main adversary, the main enemy. All the elements of state power — whether it be their diplomatic service or intelligence services or police services — are focused on the United States.”
Robert Baer, who was a covert operative for the CIA for decades, said it’s not easy identifying a spy.

“Everybody in the espionage business is working undercover,” Baer said. “So if they’re in Washington, they’re either in an embassy or they’re a businessman and you can’t tell them apart because they never acknowledge what they’re doing. And they’re good, so they leave no trace of their communications.”

One reason spies are becoming so common is they have a lot of people from which to recruit, Dugan said.

“There’s a large population in retirement or getting close to retirement,” Dugan said. “The baby boomers are all leaving and that population is looking for post-government jobs”

He added, “Of course there’s always going to be moments that we’re going to have people decide to cooperate with the enemy.”

FBI Warned Trump That Russian Spies, Hackers Would Target Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just weeks after Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in July 2016, top FBI officials warned him that Russia and other foreign adversaries likely would spy on and even infiltrate his campaign.

Trump and Hillary Clinton were issued the warning during a high-level counterintelligence briefing by senior FBI officials, NBC News reports. They were urged to notify the FBI if they encountered any suspicions.

Less than a month earlier, Trump urged Russia to hack Clinton’s emails during a news conference in Florida. The FBI warned that foreign hackers could endanger  national security because the candidates were about to receive classified information. 

During the campaign, Trump never divulged to to the FBI that his inner circle had met with Russian officials.

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Informed Trump of Salacious Allegations in Dossier

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The nation’s intelligence services revealed to President-elect Donald Trump that they and Russia had salacious allegations about him in a 35-page dossier that included comprising personal information.

U.S. officials provided Trump, President Obama and congressional leaders with a two-page summary of the dossier after it became exceedingly clear that many news organizations had the information, the The Washington Post  reports. The FBI, CIA, Director of National Intelligence and the NSA agreed it was a good idea to inform Trump of the allegations. 

Trump denied the claims in the dossier, calling the information fake news and accusing intelligence agencies of Nazi-like tactics.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. said he told Trump that a “private security company” made the allegations and that U.S. spy agencies had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”

“However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security,” Clapper said.

Weekend Series on Crime: Nixon Talks About Blacks and Jews As Spies Including the Rosenbergs

FBI Tries to Determine Whether Foreign Spies Had Access to Hillary Clinton’s Private E-Mail Server

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private e-mail has included a search to determine whether foreign intelligence services were able to access her server, Bloomberg reports. 

Agents are looking for digital traces of cyber-spying.

Despite the concerns, Clinton has downplayed the possibility that her e-mails were hacked, saying the private system had “numerous safeguards.”

But the FBI is not so quick to reach that conclusion and has given the case to cyber security experts.

Weekend Series on Crime: The FBI Investigation and Nazi Spies

Mexican Officials Spying for America

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Despite fiery rhetoric from congressional Republicans, it appears that botched gun-walking programs have not completely soured relations between Mexican and US federal law enforcement.

Fox News Latino cites a Spanish-language news report that at least 80 former employees of the Mexican government are currently working for US agencies as spies.

The La Jornada newspaper reported over the weekend that Mexicans have worked as agents for the DEA, ATF and ICE.

To read more click here.

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