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Tag: Spy

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.

Records: FBI Spied on Numerous African American Authors, Scholars for Decades

J. Edgar Hoover

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and its notoriously paranoid director J. Edgar Hoover spied on prominent African American writers for decades, monitoring their activities and critiquing their work.

The Guardian reports that newly declassified documents from the FBI show extensive surveillance of black writers and scholars, including Langston Hughes, James Baldwin and Claude McKay.

The records were obtained by William Maxwell, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who was shocked when the FBI turned over 1,884 pages of documents on 51 well-known black writers. His request included 106 black writers, which means nearly half were monitored by the feds.

“I suspected there would be more than a few,” said Maxwell. “I knew Hoover was especially impressed and worried by the busy crossroads of black protest, leftwing politics, and literary potential. But I was surprised to learn that the FBI had read, monitored, and ‘filed’ nearly half of the nationally prominent African American authors working from 1919 (Hoover’s first year at the Bureau, and the first year of the Harlem Renaissance) to 1972 (the year of Hoover’s death and the peak of the nationalist Black Arts movement). In this, I realised, the FBI had outdone most every other major institution of US literary study, only fitfully concerned with black writing.”

Maxwell is revealing the findings in a book entitled, “FB Eyes: How J Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature.” The book hits the shelves on Feb. 18.

The book says the surveillance was prompted by Hoover’s “personal fascination with black culture.”

What was Hoover afraid of?

“Hoover was exercised by what he saw as an emerging alliance between black literacy and black radicalism,” Maxwell said.

“Then there’s the fact that many later African American writers were allied, at one time or another, with socialist and communist politics in the U.S.”

 

Minneapolis FBI Refused to Use Somali Outreach Program to Spy on Groups

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI office deserves kudos for doing the right thing.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the FBI directed agents in Minneapolis and five other U.S. cities in 2009 to use community outreach with Somali groups as cover to gather intelligence on terrorist recruiting efforts and on individuals who would likely be vulnerable to being radicalized.

But the paper reports that the Minneapolis field office refused from the start to follow the spying directive, which had been approved by then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

“We never followed it because at the time we believed our brand of community outreach would engender the trust we’d built up here,” said Kyle Loven, the FBI’s spokesman in Minneapolis, according to the paper. “We took great care to make sure our outreach specialists were not involved in any investigations.”

To read more click here.

In December 2010, the Obama administration halted the spy operation against Somalis be stopped immediately, the paper reported.

Politico: Eric Holder Plugs His Legacy on Leak Cases

Reporter James Risen

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — A federal jury’s decision Monday to convict a former CIA officer for leaking top-secret information to a New York Times reporter was a big win for prosecutors — and for Attorney General Eric Holder’s new approach to handling sensitive cases involving journalists.

Holder decided to spare the reporter in the case, New York Times correspondent James Risen, from testifying against his sources. The move could become an important part of the soon-to-depart attorney general’s legacy and a guidepost for future government leak cases given that the government won the case without much testimony from the reporter who received the information.

Holder and his allies are arguing that they have helped secure journalists’ First Amendment rights with the maneuver, but whistleblower advocates worry that the prison time ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is facing in the wake of the trial will wind up silencing federal employees seeking to expose government malfeasance or ineptitude.

To read the full story click here. 

 

FBI Seeks New Authority to Hack into Computers, Spy on Users Anywhere

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is seeking new authority to hack into computers and spy on their users, the Guardian reports.

The Justice Department is requesting that an obscure regulatory advisory board change the rules of searches and seizures. The two will meet Nov. 5.

Civil liberties groups claim the new rules would violate the first and fourth amendments and are questioning why the Justice Department is seeking the permission without public debate or congressional oversight.

“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move,” said Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at University of California, Hastings college of the law, who will be addressing next week’s hearing.

The proposed changes involve court-approved warrants, which currently require surveillance to occur in the same district as the judge who approves the warrant.

The proposed changes would eliminate that requirement and allow the FBI to hack into any computer.

The FBI has been having troubles tracking some hackers because their locations are hidden by tools such as Tor.