Security

Journalists guilty of intelligence breach

A court in Helsinki today found two Finnish journalists from a major daily newspaper guilty of revealing classified defence intelligence information in 2017. The lead writer was fined for divulging what was described as publicly-available 10-year-old information of the approximate location and mission of Finnish defence forces, but his colleague was not sentenced. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Army reservist spied for China

A former U.S. Army reservist has been sentenced by a Chicago court to eight years in prison for spying for China by collecting information on aerospace scientists and engineers. Ji Chaoqun, 31, enlisted through a program to recruit foreigners who have skills considered vital to the national interest; he was convicted of falsifying answers on a government background form. [node:read-more:link]

German defence minister resigns

Christine Lambrecht, 57, resigned today after only 13 months on the job , saying that “media focus on my person” had stood in the way of productive debate about her country’s defence and security policies. She had been widely criticized for her management of military modernization and supplying Ukraine with weapons but Chancellor Olaf Scholz said she had been a “first-class” minister. [node:read-more:link]

Foreign agent registry a priority

Results of a national December 19-22 poll indicate that no less than 88 per cent of Canadians are supportive of a foreign agent registry like those in place in the U.S. and elsewhere. “If you are afraid to report that you have been working for a foreign country or a foreign organization, perhaps that should be a red flag,” pollster Nick Nanos said in releasing the results. If the government delays setting up a registry “and we find out that there are issues or potential risks in Canada,” he warns, “there will be a political price to pay.” [node:read-more:link]

Seven face Russia-related charges

Two Americans and five Russians, four of whom remain at large, are charged with conspiracy related to procurement and money laundering on behalf of Moscow. The U.S. Justice Department also says in a a 16-count indictment unsealed December 13 that they are suspected of trying to obtain military-grade and dual-use technologies as well as sniper ammunition. [node:read-more:link]

New DoD inspector general confirmed

The U.S Senate has confirmed the appointment of Robert Storch as the Department of Defence’s inspector general, a post which has been vacant for nearly seven years. The lawyer and career bureaucrat had previously held the same position at the National Security Agency since 2018. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. unveils “zero trust” strategy

The U.S. Department of Defense disclosed today how it plans to protect sensitive information with a “zero trust” network of more than 100 cybersecurity elements. “If we compare this to our home security, we can say that we traditionally lock our windows and doors, and that only those with a key can gain access,” the program’s director explained. “With zero trust, we have identified the items of value within the house and we’ve placed guards and locks with each one of those items inside the house.” [node:read-more:link]

New guilty pleas in espionage trial

A U.S. Navy nuclear engineer and his wife entered new guilty pleas September 27 to charges of plotting to sell secrets about nuclear-powered warships, a month after initial plea agreements were rejected. A U.S. District Court judge in West Virginia had ruled that the options available to the couple in the agreements were “strikingly deficient”, given the seriousness of the case. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese investment “alarming”

A Chinese chemical manufacturer’s plan to build a US$700-million facility near a U.S. Air Force Base in North Dakota has prompted 51 members of Congress to warn the White House in a letter that the Fufeng Group, which has “close links” to the Chinese Communist Party, would be in an “ideal location to closely monitor and intercept military activity.” [node:read-more:link]

Finnish journalists on trial

Three employees of Finland's largest daily newspaper went on trial today, charged with publishing classified defence intelligence in 2017. They had disclosed details of a military intelligence unit when parliament was debating whether to expand its powers to monitor private data in digital networks. In a country reknowned for its press freedoms, the prosecutor has demanded at least suspended sentences. [node:read-more:link]

Pentagon assesses intel sharing

The U.S. Department of Defence Inspector General’s office plans to look into the extent to which the U.S. military “developed, planned, and executed cross-domain intelligence sharing” with its European partners in support of Ukraine. This is several months after the White House relaxed constraints on how the DoD and intelligence agencies shared information. [node:read-more:link]

Cybersecurity hiring problematic

The Communications Security Establishment says finding recruitment a challenge even though the government has pledged nearly $1 billion to bolster cybersecurity. The CSE receives 10,000-15,000 job applications annually but only one or two applicants are hired. “Recruitment for high-tech organizations remains challenging and highly competitive,” spokesman Evan Koronewski says. [node:read-more:link]

Official secrets proceedings halted

An Ontario judge has stayed criminal proceedings against a man accused of breaching Canada's secrets law, because of an unreasonable delay in bringing Qing Quentin Huang's case to trial. He was arrested eight years ago following an RCMP-led investigation indicated that he had had communications with China about the federal shipbuilding program but he was refused access to details in a redacted affidavit and warrant. [node:read-more:link]

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