Sunday, March 13, 2016

Intelligence News

LGBT - It's Okay Now. In times gone by a member of the intelligence community having an 'alternative lifestyle' could be a career ender. Times have changed and the U.S. spy agencies are very welcoming (at least the official stance is) to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees. The only hiccup is the modification of the current work environment so that six types of bathrooms are located on every floor of federal buildings. No big deal though, as the intelligence community has lots of money - it can afford the redesign and structural modification of its many buildings in DC and around the world. Read more in "U.S. spy agencies to celebrate LGBT employees"Thomson Reuters Foundation News, March 11, 2016.

Former CIA Agent Shares His Stories. Gary Schroen linked up with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 after the terrorists attacks on the United States in September 2001. He provides us with stories of his career exploits on Afghanistan and around the world in "Ex-CIA operative shares tales of espionage", Lincoln Journal Star, March 11, 2016.

Intel -  The Afghan Way. One wouldn't think that Viagra pills would provide you with lots of intelligence but . . . it did for SF teams in 2002 and it appears that it is still working! Read more in "U.S. hands over Viagra pills to Afghan warlords in return for vital Taliban intelligence", Daily Mail, December 31, 2008. (dated article but still interesting!).

"The CIA Agent Who Wasn't". Read the intriguing story of a man who claimed to work for 27 years as an operator in the agencies paramilitary branch, went on to be a Fox News guest commentator, and deployed twice to Afghanistan on DoD contracts. For years Wayne Simmons played this game but then one ex-spook got suspicious. Read "The Plot to Take Down a Fox News Analyst", The New York Times Magazine, March 1, 2016.

OPM Hack - Serious Stuff. The Office of Personnel Management managed to screw up badly when its poor computer security measures allowed the Chinese to hack into its files and download millions of security clearance documents (mine included). Read why this is one of the worst intelligence failures ever in "Why the OPM Hack Is Far Worse Than You Imagine", Lawfare Blog, March 11, 2016.

Spying on Spies. "To prevent whistleblowing, U.S. intelligence agencies are instructing staff to spy on their colleagues." Read "Watch Thy Neighbor", Foreign Policy, March 11, 2016.

Palantir and NGOs. The software firm linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is gaining ground in the non-governmental organization aid world. It has potential to revolutionize disaster coordination, management, and response.  This has some humanitarians worried. A month-long investigation reveals that a software application used by the CIA and U.S. special operations forces is tackling a range of humanitarian problems. Read more in "Spies Sans Frontieres?", IRIN News, March 6, 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.