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Tag: Spy

Former British-Based Spy Authored Controversial Report on Trump

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The author of report on comprising material Russia allegedly has on President-elect Donald Trump is Christopher Steele, a former officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, people familiar with him told Reuters. 

Steele spent years working for the agency, known as MI-6, in several cities, including Russia.

Steele is known for working on the corruption scandal involving FIFA, the international soccer’s governing body, and supplied the FBI with the information.

Steele investigated Trump on behalf of unidentified Republicans who opposed Trump.

Steele stopped working with the FBI about a month before the election because he believed the bureau wasn’t interested and was acting too slowly.

Reuters wrote:

Steele’s reports circulated for months among major media outlets, including Reuters, but neither the news organizations nor U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been able to corroborate them.

BuzzFeed published some of Steele’s reports about Trump on its website on Tuesday but the President-elect and his aides later said the reports were false. Russian authorities also dismissed them. 

Associates of Steele said on Wednesday he was unavailable for comment. Christopher Burrows, a director and co-founder of Orbis with Steele, told The Wall Street Journal, which first published Steele’s name, that he could not confirm or deny that Steele’s company had produced the reports on Trump.

Engineer Accused of Helping China Produce Nuclear Material Is Cooperating with FBI

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An American engineer accused of helping China develop and produce nuclear material is cooperating with the FBI.

Szuhsiung “Allen” Ho is expected to plead guilty Friday in federal court as part of a plea deal in which he provided vital information about the inner workings of China’s nuclear program, the USA Today reports.

It’s a big victory for the FBI’s first case of nuclear espionage involving China.

Federal authorities indicted Ho, his firm, Energy Technology International and Chinese nuclear power plant China General Nuclear Power in April.

The USA Today wrote:

It is the first such case in the nation brought under a provision of law that regulates the sharing of U.S. nuclear technology with certain countries deemed too untrustworthy to see it. Those countries include China. Although the technology is used for nuclear-power generation, the by-product of that process can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

The investigation began at the behest of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which contacted the FBI with concerns about one of its senior executives, engineer Ching Huey, who later admitted he was paid by Ho and, by extension, the Chinese government, to supply information about nuclear power production and even traveled to China on the Chinese government’s dime. Huey agreed to cooperate in the probe. He has since struck a plea deal.

Book Excerpt: The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell: A Dyslexic Traitor, an Unbreakable Code, and the FBI’s Hunt for America’s Stolen Secrets

Before Edward Snowden’s infamous data breach, the largest theft of government secrets was committed by an ingenious traitor whose intricate espionage scheme and complex system of coded messages were made even more baffling by his dyslexia. His name is Brian Regan, but he came to be known as The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell. The hunt that led to Regan’s arrest began in December 2000 when the FBI was tipped off to an anonymous package mailed to the Libyan consulate in New York. The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the book, “The Spy Who Couldn’t Spell.”  Reprinted by arrangement with NAL, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2016 by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee.  Links to purchase the book are at the end of the excerpt.

 By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

On the morning of the first Monday in December 2000, FBI Special Agent Steven Carr hurried out of his cubicle at the bureau’s Washington, D.C. field office and bounded down two flights of stairs to pick up a package that had just arrived by FedEX from FBI New York. Carr was 38 years old, of medium build, with blue eyes and a handsome face. He was thoughtful and intense, meticulous in his work, driven by a sense of patriotic duty inherited from his father – who served in World War II – and his maternal and paternal grandfathers – who both fought in World War I. Because of his aptitude for deduction and his intellectual doggedness, he’d been assigned to counterintelligence within a year after coming to the FBI in 1995. In his time at the bureau – all of it spent in the nation’s capital – he had played a supporting role in a series of high profile espionage cases, helping to investigate spies such as Jim Nicholson, the flamboyant CIA agent who sold U.S. secrets to the Russians.

spy-who-couldnt-spell-cover-jpg

But like most agents starting out in their careers, Carr was keen to lead a high stakes investigation himself. A devout Catholic, Carr would sometimes bow his head in church and say a silent prayer requesting the divine’s help in landing a good case. That’s why he had responded with such alacrity when his squad supervisor, Lydia Jechorek, had asked him to pick up the package that morning. “Whatever it is, it’s yours,” she had said.

Carr raced back to his desk and laid out the contents of the package in front of him: a sheaf of papers running into a few dozen pages. They were from three envelopes that had been handed to FBI New York by a confidential informant at the Libyan consulate in New York. The envelopes had been individually mailed to the consulate by an unknown sender.

Breathlessly, Carr thumbed through the sheets. Based on directions sent from New York, he was able to sort the papers into three sets corresponding to the three envelopes. All three had an identical cover sheet, at the top of which was a warning in all caps. “THIS LETTER CONTAINS SENSITIVE INFORMATION.” Below, it read, in part:

“This letter is confidential and directed to your President or Intelligence Chief. Please pass this letter via diplomatic pouch and do not discuss the existence of this letter in your offices or homes or via any electronic means. If you do not follow these instructions the existence of this letter and its contents may be detected and collected by U.S. intelligence agencies.”

In the first envelope was a 4-page letter with 149 lines of typed text consisting of alphabets and numbers. The second envelope included instructions on how to decode the letter. The third envelope included two sets of code sheets. One set contained a list of ciphers. The other, running to six pages, listed dozens of words along with their encoded abbreviations: a system commonly known as brevity codes. Together, the two sets were meant to serve as the key for the decryption.

Read more »

Former German Spy Convicted of Providing Classified Info to CIA, Russia

spy graphicBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former German spy who provided classified information to the CIA and the Russians was sentenced to eight years in prison for violating the country’s official secrets law.

Markus R., whose last name has not been made public, was convicted by a Munich state court, the Associated Press reports.

He was accused of selling roughly 20 highly classified documents to the CIA for $91,000. Among the information he shared was a list of German agents working abroad.

The 32-year-old confessed at trial, saying he was bored and frustrated.

He also provided “highly important” documents to Russians before ending the contact.

FBI Spies on Russian Intelligence by Bugging Binders with Listening Devices

spy graphic

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI resorted to Cold War spy tactics to eavesdrop on Russian intelligence agents in New York City, planting listening devices into binders full of “confidential” information, according to court documents revealed this week.

The covert action came to light in court filings in the trial of Evgeny Buryakov, who is accused of posing as a Russian bank employee. Federal prosecutors said Buryakov was really working for the Russian foreign intelligence agency, SVR, CNN reports. 

According to court documents, Buryakov thought he was meeting with an energy company analyst in 2012, but he actually was communicating with an undercover FBI agent.

The agent supplied the bugged binders to Buryakov in 2013, allowing the FBI to eavesdrop on hours of conversations among Russian intelligence.

The recordings “make clear” that the men “were operating as SVR officers by receiving taskings from Moscow, gathering responsive information and sending it back to SVR headquarters,” the court documents say.

FBI Spied on Nobel Prize-Winning Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez for 24 Years

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For 24 years, the FBI spied on Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Washington Post reports. 

The FBI began investigating the Columbian writer in 1961, just after he helped Cuba establish a news service, according to recently obtained records.

He later became “a close friend of (Cuban dictator) Fidel Castro” and was a well-known leftist.

His fame spread with the acclaimed novels, “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” and he be befriended international dignitaries.

The records don’t explain the motive behind the FBI’s spying, but the records indicate that the FBI was interested in his travels and friendships.

Former Top FBI Official Said His Computer Was Penetrated by Chinese Hacker

computer spies2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Chinese hacker is accused of penetrating the computer of a top former FBI lawyer, Newsweek reports. 

Marion “Spike” Bowman, who also leads an organization of retired American spies, said the hacking began with an innocuous-looking email.

“It was an email supposedly from a woman in China, and I exchanged correspondence with her a couple of times,” said Bowman, who was deputy general counsel to three FBI directors between 1995 and 2006. “She sent me a document that a friend of hers had supposedly written, in English, and wanted my opinion on it,” he told Newsweek.

“I never got around to replying, so I never heard from her again,” Bowman said.

After getting another message from China on his e-mail account at George Washington University, Bowman became suspicious and contacted the FBI.

A forensic examination of his computer “found a malware type that’s designed to find out what’s on my computer,” Bowman said.

FBI Informant Said He Was Encouraged to Have Sex with Muslim Women for Information

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A married FBI informant who was spying on Muslims said the bureau instructed him to sleep with women  to get intelligence, The Huffington Post reports. 

Craig Monteilh, who was known as Farouk al-Aziz, was told to get “personal information” such as phone numbers, emails and friends in the Los Angeles area. He aid the FBI taught him to “pretend to be a Muslim.”

“The FBI paid me to infiltrate mosques in Los Angeles and Orange County in Southern California, as a very broad surveillance operation to give them the personal information of Muslims,” he said.

Monteilh said his $11,200 monthly compensation “clouded his judgment” as he had sex with Muslim women.

“I portrayed myself as a unmarried male, although I was married,” he said. “Within the Muslim community, they would help me to get a bride, so they would introduce me to single Muslim women. I would go out on dates and things like that. … [My FBI handlers] instructed me, if I was getting good intel, to allow it to go into sexual relations.”

The plan backfired when the Muslims he had befriended reported him to the FBI and filed a restraining order against him because of the jihadist rhetoric.