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Tag: CIA

FBI Director Mueller Says Cyber-Crimes Making it Easier to Steal Intelligence and Cash

FBI Dir. Mueller testifies Thursday

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III emphasized Thursday that the cyberworld has dramatically changed the landscape when it comes to theft of intelligence and money.

“You have probes and capabilities of intruding into networks..that previously you had to recruit somebody inside to obtain, which makes it much easier for those who are trying to steal our secrets, to steal our secrets, ” Mueller testified before the House Select Intelligence Committee.

And he said there’s the problem of “robbing banks of millions of dollars over night by intruding and upping the limits on say, ATMs.”

He testified that sometimes it’s difficult to tell initially who is behind some cybercrimes.

“At the outset you do not know whether it may be a state actor, a group of individuals operating at the behest of a state actor or a high school kid across the street.”

Mueller appeared on the Hill along with some other notables including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter and CIA Director Leon Panetta.

The juicy stuff was supposed to come later during a closed-door session.

Mueller Also Testifies that FBI Scrutinizing Iraqis Who Settled in U.S. and May Have Ties to al Qaeda (AP)

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Mark Hulkower Who Convicted CIA Agent Aldrich Ames Dies at age 53

Mark Hulkower/steptoe-johnson photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former Washington area federal prosecutor who helped put away some key spies including CIA double-agent Aldrich Ames, died this past weekend of colon cancer, the Washington Post reported. He was 53.

Mark J. Hulkower, 53, worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va.,from 1989 to 1995 and went into private practice where he defended clients from companies like Enron and Blackwater, the Post reported. He was a partner at the D.C. firm of Steptoe and Johnson at the time of his death.

During his reign as a federal prosecutor, the Post reported, that he got convictions in spy cases that included defendants Frank Nesbitt, a one-time Marine who passed secrets to the Russians; Frederick C. Hamilton, a Defense Intelligence Agency researcher who gave secrets to the Ecuador and Steven J. Lalas, a State Department staffer who spied for Greece.

“No matter how overwhelming the evidence can be, prosecuting espionage cases is never easy,” John L. Martin, the retired chief of internal security at the Justice Department told the Post. “Mark was prepared to the teeth.”

To read full story click here.

Column: al Qaeda “Adaptive, Agile and Resilient”

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer,  is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. His most recent book is “Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad.”

Bruce Riedel/broookings inst. photo

By Bruce Riedel
Los Angeles Times Op-Ed Page

Al Qaeda has just released the latest in its series of how-to guides for jihadists in the West who want to murder without the bother of flying to Pakistan to be trained.

This time, the offering is an English-language manual explaining in detail how to build a bomb, and it demonstrates how nimbly Al Qaeda has adapted to become the world’s first truly global terrorist organization, able to recruit and train fanatics on the Internet as well as on the ground.

Almost 10 years after the most devastating attack on the American homeland by a foreign power since the British army burned Washington in 1814, Al Qaeda remains alive and deadly.

President Obama has placed considerable pressure on Osama bin Laden and his gang with drone strikes in Pakistan, but the group is remarkably adaptive, agile and resilient.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Indicts Ex-CIA Officer on Charges of Leaking Info to N.Y. Times Reporter

Reporter James Risen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An ex-CIA officer involved in a classified clandestine operation involving Iran was arrested Thursday in St. Louis on charges of leaking classified information to a reporter, the Justice Department announced.

Jeffrey A. Sterling, 43, of O’Fallon, Mo., was charged with six counts of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information, and one count each of unlawful retention of national defense information, mail fraud, unauthorized conveyance of government property and obstruction of justice, authorities said. The indictment was unsealed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va.

The indictment does not mention the reporter’s name, but the Washington Post, citing former U.S. intelligence officials and attorneys familiar with the case, said it was award winning New York Times reporter James Risen,  author of a 2006 book “Star of War.”

Sterling’s attorney denied the allegations, according to the Washington Post.

“He has always maintained his innocence throughout the course of this entire investigation,” said Edward B. MacMahon Jr. “We’ll seek to prove that in court.”

To read the Justice Department press release click here.

U.S. Cable to FBI and CIA Warns Terrorists in Yemen Could Have Easy Access to Radioactive Material

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As if we need to hear more scary stuff on the terrorism front, here’s the latest.

The Guardian newspaper in London reports that a senior Yemen government official warned US diplomats shortly after the “underwear” bomber incident last Christmas in Detroit that the country’s main store of radioactive products was poorly guarded and could result in materials falling into the hands of terrorist.

News of the warning, which surfaced publicly from a WikiLeaks  U.S. embassy cable, said that a lone guard at Yemen’s atomic energy commission had been removed, the Guardian reported. The paper also reported that the lone closed circuit TV security camera had broken down and was never repaired.

The Jan. 9 cable sent to the CIA , FBI and Department of Homeland Security stated: “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material.”

Yemen has become a hotbed of al Qaeda activity.

To read more click here.

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Son of Imprisoned CIA Agent Dodges Prison

Harold James Nicholson/cia photo

By Allan Lengel and Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

Like father, like son? Not any more.

Nathan Nicholson, the son of a high-ranking imprisoned CIA officer, avoided prison Tuesday as a result of his guilty plea in which he had agreed to cooperate against his father, the Oregonian newspaper reported. He was sentenced in federal court in Portland, Ore. to 5 years probation and 100 hour of community service.

His father, Harold James Nicholson, who was already in prison for espionage after pleading guilty in 1997, pleaded guilty once again in November to espionage in a case involving his son Nathan Nicholson and the Russians. The father was already serving a 23-year sentence.

Authorities alleged that the son had helped his imprisoned father collect some back payments from the Russians while passing on information.

The 26-year-old told The Associated Press and The Oregonian newspaper that he had idolized his father, but “after this, I want to be my own man now. I don’t want to live in someone’s shadow.”

Read more »

Justice Dept. Reports Says U.S. Was “Safe Haven” For Nazis and Their Collaborators

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A 600-page, never-released Justice Department report concludes that the American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the U.S. for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, the New York Times reports.

“It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible,” the New York Times reported.

It also discusses the successes and failures of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, created in 1979 to deport Nazis, the Times reported.

The Times reporter Eric Lichtblau writes:

“Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.”

To read more click here.

To read full report click here.

Justice Won’t File Charges in Burning of CIA Videotapes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it won’t file criminal charges over the destruction by CIA workers of 92 videotapes showing harsh interrogation techniques of terrorism suspects.

“In January 2008, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed Assistant United States Attorney John Durham to investigate the destruction by CIA personnel of videotapes of detainee interrogations,” Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“Since that time, a team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Mr. Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter. As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes.”

The tapes were burned in November 2005 at the direction of a CIA official.

The Washington Post reported that authorities had not ruled out the possibility of filing criminal charges against officials who may have misled investigators during the probe.