US to build regional CIA hub in Lebanon, report says

The US is working on building a new regional hub for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Lebanon, within a huge embassy complex with an area of 93,000 square meters on a 27-hectares (about 64 acres) site in the capital, Beirut, intelligence sources reported yesterday.

The complex, which is estimated to cost $1 billion, will also include an arts centre, a hospital, a swimming pool, residential towers and a data collection centre, according to the French Intelligence Online website.

The sources added that the US intelligence sees Lebanon as a safe and strategic location for the deployment of intelligence agents.

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Alleged Russian ‘Spy’ Whale Reappears Off Sweden’s Coast

A harness-wearing Beluga whale discovered in Norway’s far northern region of Finnmark in 2019 has reappeared off Sweden’s coast. It’s believed the Russian military trained the whale. 

Sebastian Strand, a marine biologist with the OneWhale organization, a group that tracks the beluga whale named “Hvaldimir,” said he was recently spotted in Hunnebostrand, off Sweden’s southwestern coast. 

“We don’t know why he has sped up so fast right now,” especially since he is moving “very quickly away from his natural environment,” Strand told AFP News. 

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CIA Releases Highly-Produced Video To Recruit Russian Spies

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has utilized social media platforms to release a video aimed at providing Russians with a secure means of communication. The video assures individuals that their safety will be safeguarded if they choose to share information about the Ukraine war and other relevant details with American intelligence operatives.

A CIA representative stated, “Our objective is to reach out to courageous Russians who are compelled by their government’s unjust war and encourage them to engage with the CIA, ensuring their security throughout the process.”

The CIA shared the video on Telegram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

The narrator of the Russian-language video emphasizes, “Those around you may be unwilling to hear the truth, but we are here to listen. You possess the power to make a difference. Connect with us securely.”

In response to the video, Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, commented, “I am confident that our intelligence services are closely monitoring this platform.” A spokesperson from the Russian Foreign Ministry added it’s “a conveniently traceable resource for applicants.”

The meticulously crafted two-minute video, accompanied by dramatic music, portrays Russians deep in thought as they gaze out of windows or sit on park benches, seemingly contemplating a significant decision. One individual, carrying a briefcase, enters a government building and discreetly displays an identification card. The fictional characters in the video appear lost in contemplation as they examine family portraits, reflecting on the future of their children. Towards the conclusion of the video, the Russians make contact with the CIA via their phones.

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Spy Games: Why Private Companies Now Dominate Domestic Espionage

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” That rhetorical gem, credited to various scientists and political leaders, shows up on mouse pads and posters and wherever else suitable inspiration is found wanting. It is also a remarkably accurate mission statement for two professions: financial investors and spies. In both occupations, a person is rewarded for either (1) collecting and processing enough available information to predict future events or (2) creating a set of preconditions that will make future events all but certain.

Any financial analyst who foresaw the likelihood of a global pandemic before the outbreak of COVID-19 could have made a fortune investing in the right pharmaceutical companies. Likewise, regardless of Pfizer’s motivations for doing so, its funding of numerous nonprofit organizations that actively pushed for COVID-19 vaccine mandates also benefited its bottom line. You could say that both market mavens and intelligence operatives invest heavily in creating a desired reality that will yield dividends. By successfully creating the future, prophets can turn profits.

It should be no surprise, then, that intelligence gathering and information warfare are just as prevalent in the corporate sphere as in the covert one. Nothing benefits investors more lucratively than the acquisition and use of market knowledge before anyone else, as can reportedly be seen from the investments of the family of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, as well as others in government (herehere and here).

In the worlds of financing and espionage, the game is the same: stay ahead of competitors. What this means in practice is netting as much information about adversaries and allies as possible. In order to decide whether to double-down on an investment or run for cover, an analyst is interested in the likelihood of a company’s technological success, the risk of other investors swooping in and staking a claim, the potential for competing companies to introduce similar products, and the probability that regulatory authorities might act in ways that affect the company’s future profitability. You have to keep an eye on your company, its competitors, your rivals, and any number of government agencies. The complexity of such an arrangement is why private intelligence services are regularly used to monitor all these variables, collect information, analyze risks, and propose solutions.

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Israeli actor Chaim Topol lived a double life as a Mossad agent using his VIP status to gain entry to sensitive sites on daring missions around the world, his family reveals after his death aged 87

Fiddler on the Roof star Chaim Topol was actually a Mossad agent who went on daring missions around the world, his family have revealed weeks after his death. 

The Israeli actor, who died last month aged 87, lived a secret double life of ‘adventure and courage’ in between stints on the stage.

Although he gained fame for his depiction of Tevye in Shalom Aleichem’s stage musical, and then later in the 1971 film adaptation, his life off-stage was even more extraordinary.

His family say he used his London home as a base to welcome Mossad spies sent from Israel, who he plotted with to use his VIP status to gain entry to sensitive locations. 

The trips usually targeted the embassies, airports and airlines of Israel’s Arab enemies, as revealed by his widow Galia, and children Adi and Omer in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz

Omer told the publication: ‘I don’t know exactly what the appropriate definition is for the missions and duties he performed. But what is clear is that Dad was involved in secret missions on behalf of the Mossad.

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WSJ Reporter Arrested in Russia Sought Classified Information From Government Official

The Wall Street Journal reporter who was recently arrested in Russia for espionage sought classified information from a Russian government official in the period of time leading up to his arrest.

American-born Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, whose parents fled the Soviet Union due to rumors that Jewish citizens would be exiled to Siberia, formerly worked for The New York Times and The Moscow Times. He was arrested in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg on March 29th, prompting a massive outcry from American corporate media publications, which have accused Russia of waging war on the free press.

Despite the narrative being presented to the American People and the wider NATO world, Gershkovich wasn’t arrested for merely reporting the news, but for attempting to gain classified information regarding “military enterprises” from a Russian government official – something that Russia claims he was doing on behalf of the US government.

According to a Russian legislator who Gerschkovich was trying to extract information from under the guise of conducting an interview, the Wall Street Journal reporter was looking for details on the “military-industrial complex of Yekaterinburg,” and was even trying to gain information on the Wagner Group, the Russian private military company that’s conducting military operations in Ukraine, perhaps most notably in the besieged Donbass city of Bakhmut.

“What the employee of the American publication The Wall Street Journal was doing in Yekaterinburg had nothing to do with journalism,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a statement defending the arrest that was published on her Telegram channel.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the status of a ‘foreign correspondent’, a journalist visa, and accreditation have been used by foreign nationals in our country to cover up activities that are not journalism. This is not the first famous Western individual who has been caught red-handed,” Zakharova explained.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) echoed Zakharova’s claims in a public statement of its own, reporting that an investigation had “established that Gershkovich, acting as an agent for the American side, collected top-secret data about the activity of an enterprise of the Russian military-industrial complex.”

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US spy stabbed in terrorist attack – media

A woman injured in a knife attack in Gloucestershire, UK, last week, was an American intelligence operative seconded to British intelligence, the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday. Last Thursday’s incident, initially described as attempted murder but later upgraded to terrorism, has led to rampant speculation in the UK as neither the victim nor the attacker have been publicly named.

The attack happened at around 9pm local time in a parking lot in the town of Cheltenham, less than five kilometers away from the UK’s secretive Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) surveillance center. Officials at GCHQ have declined requests for comment.

Within hours of the attack, police had arrested a 29-year-old man and charged him with attempted murder. On Friday, he was re-arrested under the Terrorism Act, and the investigation was handed over to Counter Terrorism Policing South East “due to some specific details of this incident,” according to the state broadcaster BBC.

According to local residents interviewed by the Daily Mail, the woman and her attacker were inside the car, arguing, before the stabbing.

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Who Corrupted a Top FBI Spyhunter?

IN THE FINAL days of the Cold War, a young diplomat arrived at the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco. Agents in the FBI’s San Francisco field office kept a close eye on the personnel coming and going from the consulate. The six-story building in one of the city’s toniest neighborhoods long served as a hub of espionage activity. The newly-arrived Soviet diplomat in his twenties, Evgeny Fokin, soon raised suspicions that he was a KGB officer operating under diplomatic cover on his first overseas posting. “I do remember he was an intelligence officer. He was KGB at the time,” says Rick Smith, a retired veteran of the FBI’s counterintelligence squad in San Francisco.

Three decades later, that young diplomat is now at the center of another spy story. This one involves Charles McGonigal, a former senior FBI counterintelligence officer who was indicted last month for taking money illegally from Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin and Russian intelligence services. Fokin was the mysterious “Agent-1” described in court papers, an executive working for Deripaska who slowly corrupted the veteran FBI agent over a three-year period, according to sources and documents reviewed by Rolling Stone.

Arrested last month, McGonigal faces federal charges in New York of violating federal sanctions laws that prohibited him from taking money from Deripaska and laundering those ill-gotten gains. He is also accused in a separate case filed in Washington, D.C., of accepting nearly a quarter of a million dollars in secret payments from a former Albanian intelligence officer, including $80,000 that was handed over gangland-style in a car parked outside a New York City restaurant. “His arrest is a sorry day for the FBI,” a retired senior FBI official tells Rolling Stone. “The bureau has taken a beating the last few years with Trump and others attacking it. His arrest is all we need.” 

The damage to the bureau may go deeper than previously understood. In 2020, McGonigal took part in an Atlantic Council panel discussion titled “How Did Russia’s Security Services Capture the Kremlin?” A better question might be: Did Russia’s security services compromise a top FBI counterintelligence agent, here in America? How was one of the FBI’s top spyhunters so easily ensnared? “And how exposed is the FBI, given that it was Fokin, a suspected Russian spy, who snared him?”

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‘Good’ Fellas: The History of US Covert Actions at Home and Abroad

Long before the attack on the Nord Stream, the United States has gained a reputation for blowing things up, spying and staging coups in foreign countries, all the while trying to portray itself as a stereotypical “good guy.”

US investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh has dropped a bombshell this week when he named the United States as the party responsible for the destruction of three of the four Nord Stream pipelines that used to supply Russian natural gas to Germany.

While the United States feigned ignorance in the wake of the pipeline’s destruction in September last year, Hersh claimed that it was US Navy divers who planted explosive charges on the Nord Stream during a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea last summer.

The explosives were triggered remotely weeks after they were planted, the journalist wrote, citing a source familiar with the planning of this operation.

And though the White House officially denied the United States’ involvement, the US government and secret services have a long history of advancing Washington’s interests through espionage and sabotage, all the while claiming that they didn’t do it.

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The Real-Life Spy Who Inspired Ian Fleming’s James Bond—and Ran Assassination Teams in the US During World War II

In his 1987 memoir Spycatcher, former British counter-intelligence agent Peter Wright recalled a conversation he had with two legendary counterintelligence officers of the CIA—James Jesus Angleton and William K. Harvey—some time after the Bay of Pigs disaster in Cuba.

Harvey, a squat bald man who looked like a heavier version of Heinrich Himmler sans spectacles, said he was seeking input on British interests in the Caribbean, but Wright sensed he was after something else. Harvey was known to operate a group of assassins plucked from the ranks of criminal organizations in Europe, and the MI5 agent worried that anything he said would soon be “quoted around Washington by the CIA as the considered British view of things.”

After a bit of back-and-forth, it became clear to Wright that Harvey was looking for someone who might be tapped to eliminate Fidel Castro.

“They don’t freelance, Bill,” Wright said bluntly. “You could try to pick them up retired, but you’d have to see Six about that.”

The response irritated Harvey, who seemed to believe Wright was being deliberately unhelpful. Wright decided to throw Harvey a bone.

“Have you thought of approaching Stephenson?” Wright asked. “A lot of the old-timers say he ran this kind of thing in New York during the war.”

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