issue Fifty seven
Published 28 August 2008
Editor's Brief Notes:
We live in a time when security and protecting intelligence from an adversary is vital. What with Chinese hackers utilising the Internet to good effect, the Russians once again snooping all over London, and Chinese spies "lifting" whole boxes of new technologies from America, you would have thought that one of the world's most important defence organisations had procedures in place to ensure the safety of its own information? Perhaps not.
In the last four years an astonishing 659 Ministry of Defence laptop computers have been lost, stolen or mislaid. On top of that, 121 USB memory sticks have also disappeared. Some of the information is classified top secret. And while officials say most of the machines are encrypted, others are not. Several intelligence agencies are also guilty of losing such pieces of equipment. We have seen secret files laying in the road showing the best places to blow-up airliners flying into Heathrow; laptop computers (unencrypted) stolen from Royal Navy officials that have the name, address, birth date, National Insurance numbers and passport details of over half-a-million men and women who have expressed an interest in joining the services. And then in June, blundering senior officials from the important Joint Intelligence Committee decide to take secret files out of secure locations and them leave them on two trains incoming and outgoing from Waterloo Station. It just so happens that the material in one file related to the UK's plans to tackle al-Qaida in Iraq and elsewhere. Both files were handed to the media ensuring the errors could not be concealed. "The Chinese and Russians don't need to spy, just catch a train," said one politician.
Seriously though, the loss figure is alarming and reflects some pretty shoddy security procedures. The figures relate to one computer or accessory vanishing about every two days. It is inconceivable not to believe some of these machines have fallen into the hands of the Chinese, Russians or other countries. And despite the fact that ministers say the encrypted computers are secure, if a major spy agency wants to break into them, they can.
With computers in mind, Eye Spy's Kevin Coleman, one of the world's leading experts on advanced cyber warfare and computer security, has written a thought-provoking article on the "evolving architecture of advanced cyber weapons". Coleman warns that cyber weapons can now be likened to a missile. How so? Cyber weapons have a delivery system, can be navigated and all carry a deadly payload. Henceforth if one of these gets through to a government mainframe, it could make the MOD losses look like a lost golf ball.
There are other exceptional features in this edition of Eye Spy. Ever wondered what goes through the mind of a hostage? Simon Atkinson, a former military intelligence officer begins his new series 'Intelligence Insight'. In the first feature he provides a unique insight into hostage taking, plus the procedures and methodology that have been constructed by the world's leading hostage experts. These could improve your survival rates... if ever you find yourself in such a predicament. Similarly, he explains who the hostage takers are and why they perform such activities. Brilliant stuff.
Our tradecraft section focuses on the foundations of tactical driving. It is the first of a three part series explaining the driving secrets used in the intelligence and security world.
We also have a very special Spy London article that follows the journeymen of MI6. This fascinating story reveals the occupancy of MI6 in some of the great and not-so-great buildings of London. Spectacular photography culminating with a very special offer to Eye Spy readers - our limited edition giant A1 size poster - 'The Buildings of British Intelligence'.
Enjoy this brief review....
A brief overview of Eye Spy 57 follows...
THE JOURNEYMEN OF MI6
OCCUPYING THE BUILDINGS OF BRITISH INTELLIGENCE
Like any developing and expanding company, it is not unusual for intelligence services to move to new premises. But eventually they find a suitable home and stay put. That's what happened in America with the CIA and now the name Langley has become synonymous with the CIA. The NSA's journey from Arlington Station to its present home at Fort Meade is another example. In London we find MI6 and Vauxhall Cross...
This is the compelling story of MI6's journey across London, from its early occupancy of premises in Whitehall when it was known as the Foreign Service, to its present location in the impressive building dubbed 'legoland'.
Throughout almost 100 years of operations, the Service has tried to remain secret. Masquerading as a telephone company and covering windows, it was a bit of a surprise when one Chief looked at the pavement in front of his headquarters. A taxi driver had painted a big red arrow pointing to the building with the words 'Secret Intelligence Service Headquarters this way'! There was also an occasion when an author used a term in his book which allegedly exposed the headquarters - forcing another move.
This fantastic feature contains some of the buildings used by MI6 and also looks at what has sadly replaced others. Along the way a few relatively unknown intelligence gems.
Eye Spy has also produced a limited edition A1 size (twice as large as our intelligence crests poster) featuring the Buildings of British Intelligence - see pdf for details which appear fully in issue 57!
REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CREATES FRONT COMPANIES
News that the IAF (Israeli Air Force) conducted a major exercise over the Mediterranean Sea in June came as no surprise to intelligence watchers. It is the third such operation initiated to test its capability to attack Iran's nuclear sites. However, amidst escalating tension over Tehran's nuclear programme, it was far the biggest and involved more than 100 warplanes, including F-15 and F-16 fighters, refuelling tankers, special forces helicopters, and communications aeroplanes. The war games took place amid new intelligence that Iran's Revolutionary Guard, responsible for the success of the Iranian nuclear programme, has created a number of 'front companies' to fast-track uranium enrichment.
The IAF exercise provided valuable intelligence to senior war planners who have been busy preparing for what would be an incredibly risky operation, both militarily and politically. More on this and a bizarre missile test conducted in Iran that puzzled the CIA.
STRANGE BUT TRUE
MI5's ROOM SERVICE
Our immensely popular 'Strange But True' series takes us into the heart of London and through the doors of a particular classy hotel. MI5 was intent on eavesdropping on some very important guests so decided to bug a few rooms - but just how many did Britain's Security Service target, and what technique did they use?
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
ONE OF WORLD'S MOST WANTED CAUGHT IN BELGRADE
One of the world's most wanted men was captured "hiding in plain sight". Radovan Karadzic was arrested in Belgrade wearing a large white beard, thick white hair, and glasses. The 63-year-old fugitive trained as a psychiatrist and posed as an alternative medicine doctor. Karadzic assumed the name Dragan Dabicc, and lived openly in a suburb of Belgrade.
42 DAYS LATER
FORMER MI5 DIRECTOR-GENERAL STARTS WAR OF WORDS
Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, says government plans to hold suspected terrorists for 42 days without charge is wrong. Making her first speech in the House of Lords, Ms Buller's words were rejected by senior counterterrorist officers. Scotland Yard also note terror plots often have an international dimension with some suspects carrying multiple identities or none at all.
FOUNDATIONS OF TACTICAL DRIVING
EXPLORING THE SECRETS OF PROFESSIONAL DRIVING
Specialist security driver and instructor Mark S. Kendrick begins a three-part series on
professional driving and provides a deep insight into the skills that are necessary to survive in all climates and environments...
First and foremost, it is essential to focus and concentrate all of the time. Most operators recognise this as common sense. However, in my experience common sense is actually not that common! Whenever an operator gets behind the wheel of a car they should avoid distractions, focusing on the driving environment and, of course, their mission. Commentary driving - the process of thinking out loud (or sub-vocalising) about what is seen, what is not seen but which is anticipated, and what is planned to avoid or reduce perceived hazards or threats - is an effective tool for focusing concentration and, over time, conditioning higher level powers of concentration. For a surveillance operator carrying out mobile surveillance, their commentary becomes focused on communicating the target's intentions and actions to other members of their team who will often not be in a position to see the target. Any surveillance training course worth its price should develop this essential skill. For a single-crewed police driver engaged in a pursuit, their commentary serves numerous purposes, including providing a picture of happenings on the ground to all those involved in the containment and apprehension of a fleeing suspect. Other safe driving essentials are dependent on a focused state of mind, which is promoted by such commentaries.
THE UMBRELLA ASSASSIN - LAST CHANCE SALOON
SO15 Counter Terrorism Command officers have twice visited Belgrade as time runs out to solve one of the greatest assassination mysteries of the Cold War. Bulgarian Georgi Markov, a dissident and outspoken critic of communism was poked with a poisoned umbrella as he waited for a bus to take him to his place of work at the BBC. With a 30-year statute on keeping crimes open in Bulgaria, British police are interviewing some 40 people in a last ditch attempt to conclude all the
circumstances of this strange affair. Eye Spy looks at what they could expect to find...
AL-QAIDA'S PROFESSIONAL MEDIA UNIT
Hiding somewhere on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Osama bin-Laden decides it's time for another video or tape-recorded message to be made. For a number of years his messages were secreted out of Afghanistan through various hands and ultimately ended up with the satellite channel
Al-Jazeera. However, increasingly the television company has started to just play snippets, whereas in the past, bin-Laden could be guaranteed his speeches would be played in full. His supporters simply tuned-in to
Al-Jazeera to hear the latest news. Now with clips edited, a furious bin-Laden and his followers said his words were being taken out of context. So he went to 'plan-B' - he would create his own media outfit that he could control - even though he is so isolated.
Today, his lieutenants make contact with a most trusted courier, one who is also well-versed in the art of film production. The courier works for a shadowy outfit known as as-Sahab - the propaganda wing of al-Qaida. Together with other media arms, the unit has produced over 100 films.
In a revealing expose, Eye Spy identifies the man behind the mission to "professionalise" bin-Laden's ideology and rants.
FEUDAL INTELLIGENCE GATHERING Pt.3
Many of the feudal spying organisations such as the Ninja of Japan, Hawarang of Korea, and Feudal Assassins of Syria, used subtle mind conditioning to effect some of their information gathering roles. In issue 56 Mike Finn spoke of the disguises used by the Ninja, their methods of obtaining information, and ways in which information was passed on. This was only part of the picture...
In today's world many of our more intuitive attributes atrophy, because we rely too much on intellectual rationalisation. However, the ninja could differentiate between people while standing outside a room, and know their location in the room. Each person's breathing pattern is slightly different, the rustle of clothing is dissimilar, each individual's step has a distinct sound, these and many other attributes build a clear picture of events within the room.
SECRET PAPERS LOST AND JIC HEAD IN COMA MYSTERY
A senior intelligence official was quickly
suspended after two sets of important intelligence documents, prepared by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), the UK's main advisory body on intelligence matters, were found by members of the public. They were left on trains in-coming and out-going from Waterloo Station in London. Three weeks later, in what appears to be an unrelated incident, the chairman on the JIC, Alex Allan, was found unconscious and in a pool of blood in his home. Though police stress there is no sign of "foul play, officials have still to say what caused Allen to fall into a coma.
INTELLIGENCE DATA DISASTERS
MINISTRY OF DEFENCE LOSES LAPTOP EVERY 54 HOURS
And that figure covers the period 2004 - 2008!
Eye Spy takes a fascinating look at the data disasters which have befallen British intelligence and the Ministry of Defence for the past ten years... and some of the strange tactics employed by MI6 to recover an officer's laptop... including placing adverts in the media.
CIA ASSASSINATION BY X-RAY?
SPOOKS ALLEGEDLY TARGET IRAN'S PRESIDENT
Not withstanding the CIA's on-going battle with Tehran to glean intelligence on its burgeoning nuclear programme, some intelligence watchers believe the Agency has unfinished business with its president - Mahmoud Ahmadidejad. This stems back to Iran's storming of the US Embassy decades ago, and the certain involvement of a Mr Ahmadidejad. But would the CIA really "power-up" his personal x-ray machine in a bizarre attempt to kill him?
FROM BAGHDAD TO LONDON
HIJACKING AMBULANCES AND TAXIS
MI6 has intercepted communiques from Iraq to
contacts in Britain that concern the use of emergency services' vehicle to breach security. Eye Spy reveals how Iraqi insurgents are passing-on "tricks-of-the-trade" and specialist knowledge that poses an imminent threat to the UK. Plus a fascinating look at how the important buildings in Whitehall are being protected by using sympathetic security balustrades to stop potential suicide trucks...
A MOST AUDACIOUS OPERATION
CIA SPECIAL FORCES INFILTRATE FARC
Three US surveillance contractors were amongst 14 people rescued on 2 June by Colombian military intelligence and US intelligence. The men had been held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for five years after their drug surveillance aircraft went down in the jungles of southern Colombia in February 2003. Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell, all employees of the Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp used their special training to survive the ordeal...
MARITIME SLEEPER CELLS
CRUISE LINERS TARGETED BY JL-TRAINED OPERATIVES
'Chatter' regarding a maritime plot involving a passenger cruise liner in the Caribbean has been intercepted. It is thought to involve a group of terrorists posing as passengers and the crew of a small replenishment vessel. Terrorist supporters discussed how to infiltrate the vessel and then use the incident as a chilling publicity stunt - played out in full glare of the media and a watching audience of billions. The plan appears centred on terrorists using travel bureaus to officially book cabins. At a given point they would over-power the crew and speed boats, easily rented in the Caribbean, would carry colleagues to the vessel. Some operatives have been trained by South East Asian terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JL) to target stationary vessels in port.
MI6 and the CIA have long monitored Jemaah Islamiyah (JL) and discovered many of its operatives have been specially trained by diving instructors to reach vessels and overpower crews. These skills are being simultaneously passed on. Similarly, JL has experienced operators who have considerable knowledge of attaching underwater explosives to ships. Intelligence watchers acknowledge its close association with al-Qaida and believe its maritime training has been shared in carefully concealed camps in Indonesia and elsewhere in the far east.
At the same time, senior UK intelligence officials are warning that light aircraft could be used as projectiles to attack prominent buildings.
ASSASSINATION STATE SPONSORED
WHITEHALL OFFICIAL CAUSES MORE UK-RUSSIA PROBLEMS
Just days after a Whitehall official told the BBC's Newsnight programme that MI5 believe the assassination of Alexsander Litvinenko was "state sponsored", Russia hit back by "outing" an alleged MI6 officer who once worked for the television company as a journalist. The facts behind both stories....
THE LANGUAGE OF SPIES - REVISITED
Our recent A-Z of the 'language of spies' proved very popular with readers (see issue 55). The meaning of many phrases used by intelligence operatives and field officers is self-explanatory, but it's not always clear from which service or country they originated. Eye Spy takes another 'dip' into the 'dictionary of espionage' and highlights a few more select 'gems' - including some used by spooks of old...
BIRDWATCHER: Surveillance in the modern-era is high-tech and performed by specially trained operatives - especially at a government level. But the terminology used by surveillance teams can be very different. For example, in the US the "target" (UK term) is the "rabbit", while the CIA call an individual officer who guides the team - "The Eye". However, some US intelligence teams refer to the target as the "pigeon". In the 1950s, an MI5 officer, or "watcher" who operationally surveilled foreign spies or subversives was called a "Birdwatcher", and this in itself spawned its own language. The birdwatcher soon became known as the "poacher"; his line-manager the "gamekeeper", and the target - a "bag". On arrest, the target had been "bagged". Interestingly, the poacher's assistants - fellow surveillance operatives, were called "beaters".
NO LAW SUITS FOR US TELECOM COMPANIES
USA lawmakers have voted in favour of blocking any attempts by the left-wing outfit ACLU and other bodies to sue telecommunications' companies who were used by the intelligence services to tap telephones without warrants.
CHINESE AGENT GRABS DOWNING STREET BLACKBERRY
An ill-prepared Downing Street official was lured by a Chinese agent back to a hotel where he was quickly relieved of his government issued BlackBerry.
ADVANCED CYBER WEAPONS
THE EVOLVING ARCHITECTURE
In this highly important feature, US intelligence analyst Kevin Coleman reveals why an advanced cyber weapon is as destructive as a primed missile... perhaps even more so
There are numerous methods of delivering cyber weapons to their targets. E-mails with malicious code embedded or attached is one mechanism of delivery. Another are web sites that conceal malicious links and downloads. Hacking is a manual delivery vehicle that allows a 'cyber soldier' to place the malicious payload on a target computer, system or network. Counterfeit hardware, software and electronic components can also be used as delivery vehicles for cyber weapons.
Just as a navigation system guides a missile, it allows the malicious payload to reach a specific point inside a computer, system or network. System vulnerabilities are the primary navigation systems used in cyber weapons. Vulnerabilities in software and computer system configurations provide entry points for the payload of a cyber weapon. These security "holes" in operating systems or other software or applications allow for exploitation and compromise. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow unauthorised remote access and control over the system. It is important to note that in 2007, on average a new vulnerability was reported every 57 minutes....
Former British Military Intelligence Officer Simon Atkinson provides Eye Spy with a unique insight into hostage taking, plus, the procedures and methodology that have been constructed by the world's leading experts that could help you survive... if ever you find yourself in such a predicament
It is rare that a hostage will be killed. It is often senseless to do so because a hostage taker loses any or all leverage once the hostage is dead. Incidents where a hostage has been killed have often resulted from poorly handled deadlines.
In Iraq, some, but certainly not all Western hostages have been killed for political leverage. However, even in these cases there has been time between arrest and execution. Time that can, and should be, well used. This time can often be extended by careful handling of the situation by both the hostage and any external authorities.
Hostage takers broadly fall into one of seven categories each with their own peculiarities, demands and mental states. The hostage and negotiators must understand who they are dealing with in order to begin the delicate game of rapport that will maximise the chance of a successful outcome.
Religious Fanatics. These are a particularly dangerous form of hostage taker. Throughout centuries, fanaticism has created a catalogue of death and injury to opposing factions. Fanaticism has been likened to a kind of 'collective madness' inspired by revelations or interpretations of apparently divine happenings. In many cases it is the group perception that the hostage represents some form of Satanic force to be eradicated. As a hostage in this scenario, you should never disagree with the hostage taker - you will be sacrificed early - with the hostage taker feeling fully justified. You must maximise the time you remain alive through developing rapport.
Chronically Disturbed. Possibly a long term inmate of a psychiatric institution. Often unaware he is a hostage taker and often very frightened. Try to find what he wants and gently guide him towards seeing that he will achieve this by letting the hostage free unharmed.
WATCHING THE CIA
NETHERLANDS SPIES VIDEO CIA TEAM
A CIA team has been rumbled by officers from the Netherlands AIVD intelligence service as they attempted to gather information on a suspected nuclear arms trafficker. A full report on a fascinating incident and a strange twist to the story.
KEY ATOMIC SPY WITNESS DEAD
DEATH PROVIDES HISTORIANS WITH RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY
Recently released government documents have revealed Ruth Greenglass died aged 84 on 7 April. Greenglass was a key witness in the trial of atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in the 1950s. However, it has always been suspected she played some part in the Russian espionage operation which focused on the Manhattan Atomic Bomb Project. Now historians have a unique opportunity to discover just how involved she was...
EYE SPY 57 BEST OF THE REST
BRIDGE OF FAITH
Decoding the Sistine Chapel
Researchers believe they have decoded Michaelangelo's magnificent fresco in the Sistine Chapel...
LAX BOMB PLOTTER
Millennium plot suspect set for release
One of the suspected planners behind the operation to blow up Los Angeles Airport on the eve of the millennium is set for release because jailed terrorist - Ahmed Ressam (pictured) - refuses to testify against the man held in a British jail known only as 'U'
STILL SEARCHING FOR FBI MAN
Iran the key to missing US man
The FBI is continuing to search for former Special Agent Bob Levinson who went missing on an Iranian island in March 2007
THE MOSQUE BOMBER
Neo Nazi jailed for bomb plot
Martyn Gilleard has been jailed by a British court for planning a terror campaign against Islamic targets in the UK
CHINA'S SPIES IN THE PENTAGON
End game for American traitors
The latest in a spate of spy trials relating to China's massive espionage operations in the USA.
AL-QAIDA TARGETS DENMARK
Intel agency warns of attack
Denmark's spy agency - PET - says a group of al-Qaida supporters is ready to strike at the country in revenge for several newspapers publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
A CIA internal report says the terror leader has just months to live.
Iran's Revolutionary Court has sentenced to death an Iranian found guilty of allegedly spying for Israel's Mossad. "Ali Ashtari had links with the spy agencies of Israeli," according to Tehran.
UNDERCOVER BOOK RELEASES
The latest intelligence and tradecraft books
NEW RELEASE - ENIGMA COMINT
Eye Spy releases its first-ever working Enigma Spy Cell Phone at a remarkable low price. New design!
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