Security

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]

Navy missing top secret data

Data storage devices containing classified operational data have been reported missing from a Royal Canadian Navy frigate despite tightened security. They include thumb drives, a hard drive and a DVD that holds information about threat emitters. [node:read-more:link]

Suspicious package delays Remembrance Day

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa was delayed briefly while police investigated a suspicious package found minutes before the service was to begin. RCMP said its Explosive Disposal Union “cleared” the package a few minutes later. [node:read-more:link]

Maryland couple charged with espionage

An alleged plot to sell U.S. submarine details to a foreign government has landed a Maryland couple behind bars. Jonathan Toebbe, a naval nuclear engineer, and his wife were arrested in neighbouring West Virginia last weekend after he contacted an FBI undercover agent. [node:read-more:link]

Classified U.K. documents found

British classified military documents, including details of a current Royal Navy deployment in the Black Sea and plans for a renewed presence in Iraq, have been found at a bus stop in Kent. The Ministry of Defence is investigating “an incident in which sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public.” [node:read-more:link]

Procurement policy overhaul recommended

An all-party House of Commons committee says the government should give more weight to national security than costs of information technology and security hardware procurements. In its report to Parliament, the committee expressed concerns about Chinese state-owned enterprises and recommended more rigorous screening of contractors who install and maintain equipment in sensitive facilities such as embassies. [node:read-more:link]

Crazy CAF base invasions

Despite repeated warnings, hundreds of civilians entered Canadian Armed Forces bases, including some restricted areas, during the 2016 Pokémon GO craze. A U.S. report, stating that “attempts at humor” or “any resemblance to news may be purely coincidental,” takes a look at a CAF report finally received by the CBC. [node:read-more:link]

Changes in U.S. intel community

Essye Miller, principal deputy chief information officer at the Department of Defense, retiring at the end of June, is to be succeeded John Sherman, CIO of the Intelligence Community. Miller, who previously held senior Army and Air Force positions, played a key role in preparing the DoD for COVID-19. Sherman, who has been at the IC since September 2017 and is responsible for ongoing IT modernization, previously was with the CIA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. [node:read-more:link]

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