Former spooks agree to financial penalties

Three former U.S. intelligence and military personnel have agreed to pay more than $1.68 million to settle conspiracy charges arising from their work as civilian hackers for the United Arab Emirates. Documents filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia show they were accused of “knowingly and willfully” engaging in illegal activities. The trio must relinquish their security clearances, and they have three years to pay up. [node:read-more:link]

Former U.S. spooks admit to crimes

Three former U.S. intelligence officers employed by the United Arab Emirates have admitted to hacking crimes and violating U.S. laws governing the transfer of military technology to foreign governments. Documents filed in a Washington court Sept. 13 set out a conspiracy to furnish the UAE with advanced technology and to assist Emirati operatives in countering perceived enemies of the U.S. ally. [node:read-more:link]

Canadians and others left behind

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau confirmed today that an estimated 1,250 Canadian citizens, permanent residents and families remain in Afghanistan. “The main thing that we needed to figure out was how many . . . were able to get out on some of our allies’ flights,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

Taliban say “everything is safe”

The Taliban pledged anew today to bring peace and security to Afghanistan but it’s wait-and-see for ordinary Afghans, notably the many who worked with allied forces during the 20-year war. “Afghanistan is finally free,” a senior Taliban official said, urging people to return to work and reiterating a promise of amnesty. “Everything is peaceful. Everything is safe.” [node:read-more:link]

Taliban financing scrutinized

Despite the deaths of thousands of its members since the Taliban was ousted from Afghanistan two decades ago, its territorial control and military strength has clearly rebounded with the U.S. estimating that the group had as many as 100,000 fighters by mid-2021. This evidently has been made possible by its in-country financial activities as well as sundry foreign sources, to the point where the BBC says it could amount to the equivalent of nearly $2 billion a year. [node:read-more:link]

RCMP intelligence culture seriously flawed

The arrest 23 months ago of Cameron Ortis, head of the RCMP’s National Intelligence Coordination Centre, prompted the force to hire a retired Assistant Commissioner Alphonse MacNeil to assess the NICC’s internal security culture. He found, among other things, that a leadership failure “at many levels” underscored a need to reconsider how senior officials are chosen. Otis’ trial on several offences is scheduled to begin in September 2022. [node:read-more:link]

Military and police targeted by extremists

A declassified intelligence report says far-right extremists are “actively recruiting” past and present members of the Canadian military and police. Six of 17 situations reviewed in several countries involved Canadians cases in which “xenophobic and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremist groups openly recruit current and former military and law enforcement personnel.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Justice Department emails hacked

The office email accounts of 27 senior U.S. Justice Department prosecutors were hacked last year through SolarWinds software. In disclosing the attack, the department blamed Russian interests for what it considers the worst cyber-espionage attack on the federal government. [node:read-more:link]

Lawsuit involves diplomacy and security

The U.S. government is trying to keep secret the employment details of a State Department agent who killed a teenager in a 2019 head-on collision in Britain. Anne Sacoolas, who has not disputed that she was driving on the wrong side of the road, returned to the U.S. under diplomatic immunity and her government has been trying to suppress her professional details on “national security” grounds. The teenager’s parents have filed a civil wrongful death suit in Virginia. [node:read-more:link]

Israel investigating spyware complaints

Allegations that software developed by an Israeli company has been used in a series of international cyber attacks are being investigated by an interdepartmental government team led by the National Security Council. Investigation was prompted by complaints from several countries that the Pegagus software had been used for illegal activities. [node:read-more:link]

Voters beware of cyber interference!

The Communications Security Establishment says that Canadians are “very likely to encounter some form of foreign cyber interference” before and during the next federal election. “We assess that an increasing number of threat actors have the cyber tools, the organizational capacity, and a sufficiently advanced understanding of Canada's political landscape to direct cyber activity against future Canadian federal elections,” it says in a new threat assessment. [node:read-more:link]

Venezuelan opposition figure arrested

Freddy Guevara, a close ally of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, has been charged with terrorism and treason by President Nicolás Maduro’s left-wing administration, which also accuses him of having ties to “extremist groups” and foreign governments. Guaidó is seen by most western governments as the legitimate leader but Maduro has Russian and Chinese support. [node:read-more:link]

Expanded defence sci-tech co-op proposed

The pace of science and technology breakthroughs are so dramatically redesigning the global security outlook that an Australian think-tank is urging the country’s military, defence industry and universities to pool their resources. It envisages the equivalent of the U.S., Defence Applied Research Projects Agency, calling it “a significant opportunity” to cooperation within the Five Eyes nations. [node:read-more:link]

Security crackdown on intellectual property

University researchers seeking federal government grants are now required to complete a security risk assessment and work with national security agencies and the federal government in a bid to prevent foreign interests from acquiring Canadian intellectual property. The decision, initially applicable to the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council but expected to be broadened, was announced today by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne. [node:read-more:link]


Subscribe to RSS - Intelligence