Tag Archives: Spying

How technology shapes espionage

“So, we’re constantly looking and trying to figure out who are the intelligence officers and who are they meeting with? So, covert communications is the way that a spy passes information secretly to the handler, or the handler passes requests and other information back to the spy.  …

The way information is stored now makes it not only easier to use, but makes it far more vulnerable. If we can penetrate a network, we have everything. We own the kingdom.

So now, where throughout history spies stole the information and technology was used to convey it, it’s now just flipped around. The spy is now often the person that is simply the conveyor of the gadget that penetrates the network, because we now select spies, not by access to the secrets that they personally can get, but the access to the networks. So the person that maintains the network or the person that hypothetically buys the office equipment, such as the printers, could embed a chip into the printer and the printer, when they plug it into the network, now infects the entire network and now you’ve got a virus in the entire network. Now the human is the carrier of technology, as opposed to the technology being the carrier of small bits of information. How information is stores determines how vulnerable it is.”“The digital world has changed everything we know about espionage.”

From: http://m.technobuffalo.com/2012/11/26/interview-spy-historian-h-k-melton-explains-how-tech-changed-spying-forever/

SpyWriter Jack King “A new King of thrillers on the horizon” http://www.SpyWriter.com

Spying, it’s a women’s world

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“On a moonlit night in June 1943, Noor, fresh from spy school at Beaulieu, was the first female radio operator ever to be dropped into Nazi-occupied France. As part of a network of agents responsible for sending intelligence back to England, “Madeleine” was equipped with a transmitter/receiver device, weighing about 30 pounds and fitting into an ordinary suitcase. With German wireless direction-finding vehicles — typically disguised as laundry and baker’s vans — regularly circling round, she had to be constantly vigilant, always finding surreptitious new locations and never staying on air for long. It was also crucial that she gave the unwavering impression of being completely French, never uttering a word or displaying a gesture that might give her away. For emergencies, she had four pills: Benzedrine, in case she needed to stay awake for a long spell; a sleeping pill, to drop in an enemy’s drink in a tight spot; a drug to induce stomach disturbance; and of course cyanide, to be bitten if she chose to die rather than endure torture or interrogation.”

More: http://www.salon.com/2012/11/08/the_spy_game_no_men_need_apply/?mobile.html

Jack King “A new King of thrillers”: http://www.SpyWriter.com

The end of espionage thriller?

Can’t find a decent espionage thriller these days? Don’t blame it on Perestroika. Blame it on not reading SpyWriter Jack King:

“The end of the Cold War created a problem  for espionage thriller writers and moviemakers. They faced loss of a built-in backstory needing no explanation, a whole set of strong but realistic motivations for extreme behavior, a pre-fab cast of bad guys, and weighty, global stakes underlying all the action. Perestroika left a generation of writers searching for new conflicts and settings and plot devices.

Today I think the growth of surveillance technology will increasingly create a similar problem for fiction writers. It’s a staple of thrillers and science fiction to have the hero on the run—hounded by the government, evading the police—either because the hero is mistaken as someone bad or because the government is evil. And the government baddies use every technology at their disposal to locate and track their target, while the hero uses tricks and hacks to escape detection.

But the whole cat and mouse game is starting to look kind of problematic, because it’s getting harder to sustain a plausible “man on the run” scenario in the face of surveillance technology.

I like a good airport thriller or science fiction read, and for several years I’ve noticed this problem cropping up: it’s the near future (or later), the hero or heroine is on the run, and I find myself thinking, oh please, if they really had all the advanced technologies featured in this story, they’d certainly have more impressive surveillance capability! We may have more than that ourselves in couple years the way things are going.”

From: http://www.aclu.org/blog/technology-and-liberty-national-security/will-increasing-surveillance-change-fiction

Presidents are chosen, but not elected. The Black Vault. www.SPYWRITER.com

The subtle difference between a “spy” and an “intelligence agent”

Q: “What exactly were you doing in the U.S.? What is it called? Spying?”

A: “It’s the same thing the American special services are doing in Russia. The English word “spy” may refer to what the Russians call “spy” or “intelligence agent.” It depends on how you look at it. It’s no accident that, in the Soviet Union, the good guys were called “intelligence agents” and the enemies were called “spies.” …

“intelligence does not work against specific people. It’s not permanent and assignments can change. As a secret agent, you work for the good of your country. Crimes may be committed against specific people, but intelligence is a patriotic business.”

More: http://indrus.in/articles/2012/10/19/russian_spy_reveals_his_secrets_18485.html

Miniature spying insects

A miniature spying insect:

“Next time a pesky insect lands on you take a close look at it before you swat it away because you could be in for a nasty surprise.

What might appear to be a mosquito or something similar could, in fact, be a miniature spy drone which is snooping on you and being controlled by someone thousands of kilometres away.”

More: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/beware-intelligent-insects-they-are-spying-you-weekend-review-rv-131241

How to hide from Big Brother’s Online Eyes

We’re all online, and everything we do there leaves a trail. Big Brother left a blueprint for the type of information you need to protect if you want to hide your tracks:

“Further proof has emerged of the United States secret Grand Jury investigation into Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.”

The secret Grand Jury demanded the following information from WikiLeaks’ DNS host:

1. Subscriber names, user names, screen names, or other identities;
2. mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, e-mail addresses, and other contact information;
3. connection records, or record of session times and durations;
4. length of service (including start date) and typos of service utilized;
5. telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity; including any temporarily assigned network address; and
6. means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number) and billing records.

Also:

1. records of user activity for any connections made to or from the Account
2. non-content information associated with the contents of any communication or file stored by or for the account(s), such as the source and destination email addresses and IP addresses.
3. Correspondence and notes of records related to the account.”

From: http://rabble.ca/news/2011/08/us-espionage-investigation-against-wikileaks-patriot-act-order-unsealed

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The Bridge of Spies

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The bridge od spies

On June 12, 1985, Marian Zacharski, a Polish spy, was exchanged for 25 American agents.

“Polish-born, Marian Zacharski adopted the guise of a legitimate businessman in the United States in the late 1970s. The reportedly handsome and resourceful agent befriended William Holden Bell, an engineer at Hughes Aircraft. Over the course of three years, Zacharski persuaded Bell to pass along plans for secret radar systems and some of the technology behind early stealth aircraft. Zacharski’s tactics in recruiting Bell were so impressive that they are still studied by the FBI decades later.”

More spy exchanges: http://www.history.com/news/2012/02/10/prisoner-exchanges-across-the-bridge-of-spies-from-powers-to-shcharansky/

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The absurd world of espionage

“From propaganda catapults to exploding seashells, why do “intelligence” services come up with so many bad, and often absurd, ideas?

Well, maybe they aren’t coming up with all that many stupid ideas: maybe they come up with exactly as many stupid ideas as, say, the U.S. House of Representatives, but we pay more attention to the CIA’s nonsense because we’re more surprised by it. After all, these people, at least, are supposed to have some idea of what they’re doing.

But reading through some of these stories, you start to wonder if there might be another explanation. The CIA’s looniest notions, after all, bear remarkable resemblance to the loony ideas that seem to constantly pour out of totalitarian dictatorships, including current ones such as that of North Korea. Maybe it’s the very fact of brainstorming behind closed doors — six guys in a room trying to figure out a way to do whatever currently seems impossible — that encourages it. Desperation plus not having anyone to laugh at you (whether because of secrecy or, in the case of North Korea, because you’ve got the entire country in a headlock) must be a pretty potent combination.”

More: http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/spy-agencies-have-had-some-very-dumb-ideas-new-documents-reveal/253238/

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History of MI6 written with blood and sex

“An MI6 agent became a serial killer as he used pretty young women to lure Russians to their deaths with the promise of sex [...]

A Cossack colonel called Mohammed Bek Hadji Lashet, and his gang used the women to attract communists to a lakeside villa where they were tortured and then killed, according to a new history of the intelligence service.

After moving to Stockholm he offered himself as an agent to the Americans but they were so worried by what he offered to do for them that they thought he was an “agent provocateur” and turned him down.

Lashet and 15 of his compatriots appear to have lured four Bolsheviks to their deaths, two of them Soviet embassy officials in Stockholm, which had become a hotbed of Western spies.

They used women who included a blonde and a dark-haired “exotic” woman from central Asia, to attract their targets.”

More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8010063/Communists-lured-to-their-deaths-by-MI6-with-promise-of-sex.html

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The double agent spy who came back from the dead

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Juan Pujol “Garcia, code-named “Garbo” by his MI5 handlers because he was “the world’s best actor,” was the man who more than anyone else convinced Hitler that the Normandy landings were a mere diversionary attack, a feint to distract the Wehrmacht from the real assault that was about to take place 150 miles to the north in the Pas de Calais. So successful was Garbo that the Germans were continuing to reinforce the Pas de Calais even after D-Day, and not committing their full resources to countering the Normandy landings. Although the story of the success of the Operation Overlord deception plans are well known, and Garbo’s vital role well established in history, what is not much known about is what Garbo did after the war”.

[...] the story of Garcia’s life of deception did not end with VE Day. After visiting his Abwehr case officer in Spain—who apologized that the Nazis had lost the war and gave him a huge golden handshake in cash, the Iron Cross, and the thanks of the now-defunct Reich—MI5 unsuccessfully tried to recruit Garcia for service against the Russians in the Cold War. The next that anyone ever heard of him was that he had tragically died of a snake bite in Angola in 1949.”

Or, did he?

Read More: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/11/27/garbo-the-spy-documentary-on-the-double-agent-who-helped-defeat-hitler.html

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