Insider Threat / Espionage

Insider espionage

U.S. think-tank founder charged

An Israeli-American who founded and co-directs the Washington-based Institute for the Analysis of Global Security faces charges of trying to illegally broker sales of weapons and Iranian oil as well as being a Chinese agent. Evidently arrested earlier this year in Cyprus on what he said is “a politically motivated extradition request” by federal prosecutors in New York, Gal Luft fled after being granted bail. [node:read-more:link]

Dozens of Russian spies in Switzerland

Swiss intelligence reported June 26 that Russia maintains dozens of agents disguised as diplomats at its embassy in Bern and its UN mission in Geneva. “Of the roughly 220 people that are accredited as diplomatical or technical-administrative personnel at the diplomatic and consular representations […] at least a third are likely still active,” it said. [node:read-more:link]

Immigration decision called ‘dubious”

Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley has ruled that the Canada Border Services Agency’s assessment in refusing an elderly Chinese man’s applicant for permanent residency was “dubious” and “over-reaching.” The CBSA had said Liping Geng had trained spies and might be one too, but Mosley (Docket No. IMM-1374-22) has ordered another immigration officer to review his case. [node:read-more:link]

Singh calls Johnston “tone deaf”

Former Governor-General David Johnston, the prime minister’s special rapporteur on foreign interference in Canadian politics has “respectfully” dismissed an opposition call May 31 for him to stand aside. NDP Leader Jagmeet said today that “with all due respect to the service of Mr. Johnston and his previous public service, I believe that his response to the vote on our motion is tone-deaf.” [node:read-more:link]

Veil of secrecy over scientists’ firing

Nearly four years after two Chinese researchers were escorted out of Canada’s highest-security laboratory and subsequently fired amidst tight security, it will be up to three retired federal judges to decide how much information will be made public. Former Supreme Court justices Ian Binnie and Marshall Rothstein, and Federal Court of Appeal justice Eleanor Dawson will assist an committee of MPs in reviewing the records. [node:read-more:link]

“Naïvety” at Trudeau Foundation?

Morris Rosenberg, the former president and CEO of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, has acknowledged that he may have been “naïve” in accepting a donation from a businessman with ties to the Chinese government in 2016. “Was that naïve at the time?” he said May 2 during a parliamentary committee hearing. “In hindsight, probably it was," said Rosenberg. [node:read-more:link]

Seven charged with “malign influence”

Four U.S. citizens and three Russians have been charged by the U.S. Justice Department with conducting a “malign influence campaign” which involved recruiting and funding U.S. political groups to act as “unregistered illegal agents of the Russian government.” [node:read-more:link]

Chinese arrests in New York

U.S. prosecutors have unsealed criminal charges against two men accused of helping to operate an unauthorize Chinese “police outpost” in New York. The office is one of more than 100 around the world, including in Canada where they are under investigation by the RCMP, used to intimidate and control Chinese expatriates. [node:read-more:link]

Norway expels 15 Russians

Fifteen Russians accused of “covert intelligence activities” under diplomatic cover have been expelled by Norway, which shares a 197-kilometre Arctic border with Russia. The foreign ministry says the officials had been monitored “over time” before they were ordered out and it says Russia is the “greatest intelligence threat” facing Norway against a backdrop of Europe's “deteriorating security situation.” [node:read-more:link]

Cold War redux

Before its recent arrest of a U.S. journalist on espionage charges, Russia suffered a string of embarrassing setbacks to its foreign intelligence operations as hundreds of suspected agents were expelled or charged abroad. Among other things, Poland recently arrested nine suspected nine Russian rail saboteurs and Britain says roughly half of Russia’s spies working under diplomatic cover in Europe were expelled within six months of the invasion of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. journalist arrested in Russia

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been arrested in Russia and accused espionage. The Kremlin said March 30 that he was caught “red handed” and the state security service said he had been “acting on U.S. instructions” to collect “information classified as a state secret about the activities of a Russian defence enterprise.” [node:read-more:link]

PM’s advisor to testify

Prime Minister Trudeau’s chief of staff, Katie Telford, has agreed to testify next month before a House committee investigating the extent of Chinese meddling in Canada’s electoral processes. However, the PM’s office noted March 21 that Telford, a Trudeau advisor since at least 2015, is under “serious constraints on what can be said in public about sensitive intelligence matters.” [node:read-more:link]

Scientists’ dismissal still a puzzle

Nearly four years after two Chinese scientists were fired from a federal laboratory in Winnipeg on alleged national security grounds, the RCMP investigation continues. “Investigations are often complex, multijurisdictional and resource-intensive,” an RCMP spokeswoman offered without further comment. The two scientists have since returned home. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS security faulted by PM

According to leaked Canadian Security Intelligence Service documents, influential “friendly” Canadians were warned in early 2022 by Chinese diplomats to curb interactions with federal politicians so as to avoid being caught up in CSIS investigations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the leak is “certainly a sign that security within CSIS needs to be reviewed.” [node:read-more:link]


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