This month, Aviation Week and Space Technology first revealed the public disclosure of the new top secret spy drone known as the RQ-180. The key advantage of the drone is its ability to fly as high as 11 miles above the surface of the Earth, and stay aloft up there for up to 24 hours. The obvious advantage of a craft that can hover over any part of the Earth for such a long period of time at such a high altitude is that it can easily penetrate enemy borders without being targeted by strong air defense systems. On top of the extreme altitude, the craft also utilizes classified military stealth technology – it’s a program that the Air Force will still not confirm, even though a number of military sources have started discussing the craft with the media. U.S. Officials told CNN that the new generation stealth craft became a major priority after another stealth drone (the RQ-170 Sentinel) went down in Iran in 2012, potentially due to a hacking attack that took over wireless command of the craft. It is a safe assumption that the new drone utilizes much more advanced and secure communications for command and control. However, the most impressive part of the project is the potential payload. Experts say that the drone could potentially carry sensors that conduct high-detailed photo surveillance, infrared photography, and of course signals intelligence gathering like cell phone calls, radio communications, radar activity and more.
Browsing Government Intelligence
Many scholars today contend that the Cold War did not exactly end in 1991 as the history books say it did. Many of those scholars would go a step further and say that the Cold War never really ended, it just got quiet. Evidence of such a silent Cold War between the U.S. and Russia comes to light every so often. Whether it is news of the FBI’s Operation Ghost Stories or the fear that Russian GPS receivers could be used for spying, all of these stories point to a quiet Cold War actively taking place. A more recent development that appears to point to a quiet Cold War is that it seems that Russia has been accused of spying on G20 leaders through gifts presented at the summit.
Safe from prosecution yet far from being a free man is the perception widely held about whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ever since the former US spy agency contractor sensationally revealed evidence of the NSA’s surveillance tactics, Snowden has been trapped in temporary asylum in Russia, his antics flitting in and out of the news. The latest Snowden-related headline to attract the world’s media is news that the 30-year-old former CIA employee has landed a job in Russia. Anatoly Kucherena, a Russian lawyer who is said to be helping Snowden, told the Russian state-run news agency RIA that Snowden was due to start work for a Russian Internet site in November this year. “He will provide support for a large Russian site,” Kucherena told the Russian news agency, RIA, adding that due to “security reasons” he would not name the site.
On November 26, 2013, Mr. Robert Levinson officially made history. He became the longest-held hostage in American history. This isn’t something to celebrate. In fact, once you dig further into the details of the case, it’s something that should create great concern among the American public. The fault of Robert’s disappearance lies squarely on the shoulders of the CIA. Levinson’s case is evidence that the CIA has been mismanaging its resources in recent years. Levinson’s story proves what I blogged about in 2010 when I described how the CIA had started trying to privatize intelligence work, outsourcing the work to private companies like In-Q-Tel and others. I personally witnessed CIA attempts to gather intelligence via private sources back in 2006 and 2007, around the same time that CIA analyst Anne Jablonski had been communicating with Levinson, and going so far as to “hire” him to perform private investigations for the Agency under CIA contract. The catch is that despite the fact that the mainstream media today is referring to Levinson as a “CIA spy” – he is nothing of the sort. Levinson was a retired FBI analyst who – like many obsessed with the CIA – was intrigued by the world of covert spying and espionage. At least since 2006, the CIA has been taking advantage of such individuals and apparently in cases like Levinson, going so far as to provide funds to private sources to “unofficially” perform work for the agency. Unfortunately, in Levinson’s case he got carried away, put himself in harm’s way, and learned the hard way that he was not exactly the CIA spy that he thought he was. The Agency promptly disowned him, the press mislabeled him, and the U.S. government doesn’t know what to do about him, because they’re not exactly sure how he’s [...]
One could argue that 2013 has been the year of NSA revelations, which all began with leaking of classified documents by Edward Snowden. Snowden has leaked information that ranged from the NSA spying on citizens to leaders of foreign countries. One of the more recent leaks by Snowden was the fact that the NSA monitors the porn habits of some Muslim extremists. Even though 2013 is coming to a close, news regarding the NSA is not slowing down. However, this news is not from Snowden, but from the NSA itself. It seems that some top-ranking officials are jumping ship.
The Troubles is a name given to the ethno-nationalist conflict that saddled Northern Ireland for four decades. The violence between the nation’s two main communities, Unionists and Loyalists, began in the late 1960s and is widely considered to have ended in 1998 when the Belfast Good Friday Agreement was enacted. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland was at the heart of the conflict. Despite being officially “ended”, violence sporadically rears its head in Northern Ireland and reports related to the conflict are fairly common. For example, in 2011 Top Secret Writers reported about a UK commander comparing the Northern Ireland army operations to a tiger hunt. As we wrote in October 2011, after more than 30 years of conflict, Northern Ireland has invested a huge amount of time and effort into training experts in counter-terrorism. As a consequence on its resolute committal on counter-terrorism, Northern Ireland is one of the world leaders in countering terrorist threats.
It seems that the NSA is using new technology to utilize Cold War spying techniques in an effort to, as the NSA describes it, fight terrorism. The U.S., or any other government for that matter, has a long history of using the sex lives of their enemies against them. Apparently, this holds true in the “fight against terrorism”. Recently, the Huffington Post reported that the NSA is actively tracking the porn habits of individuals that they consider extremists. How does this information benefit the NSA? And, if they are tracking the porn habits of extremists, who else are they tracking?
In November of 2013, an 85-year-old American man was detained in North Korea after finishing a 10-day tour through the country with his friend from a Palo Alto retirement community. During the tour, Korean War veteran Merrill Newman made the mistake – while touring the Mount Kuwol area where he had trained North Korean rebels – whether it was possible to locate and talk to some of the North Korean men he had served with many years ago. The men Merrill referred to were “partisans” known as the “White Tigers” – anti regime rebels – who had caused significant destruction to the North Korean supplies during the war. Newman had helped to train the guerrillas during the war. Newman, apparently unaware that North Koreans are nowhere near “over” the North Korean war, was told that the the area was inaccessible. Word of his questions must have made it to “higher authorities” because upon boarding the plane to head back to America, North Korean officials arrested him on the plane and took him into custody. Newman remained in North Korean custody for approximately six weeks, until he finally agreed to issue a video-taped “apology” for his past activities during the Korean War. As you’ll see below, the text of the “confession” and the surreal behavior by North Korea in this case reveal the fact that the entire stunt was nothing more than a major internal propaganda campaign meant to impress the North Korean people.
The NSA has been abusing its power and spying on the American people for a long time, and as we reported back in September, much of that abuse came with the cooperation of some of the largest technology giants. In the same month, Dennis also reported about some of the concerns that Windows 8 could have a Trojan horse back door for both the NSA and China. All of this bad publicity sent executives at tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Google reeling after the public outcry over privacy and security concerns. The public no longer feels safe communicating private information on Facebook, and trust of the Microsoft operating system is at an all-time low. Jokes abound across the Internet about how Google web searches are being monitored by the NSA. In early December, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter all entered into damage-control mode, turning against the NSA and promising users that they are investing in new security technologies to protect users from snooping efforts of the U.S. government. Up until now, these tech giants tried to absorb the brunt of public outcry by demanding that the government come clean on the actual responsibility of the companies when private information is requested by a government agency. Instead, the NSA itself has been conducting PR damage control and leaving the tech companies to sway in the public wind. Now, those tech giants are swearing allegiance to the American people, and working on technologies that will block NSA attempts to peek in on user communications and data.
Every country has its own customs and laws that, to foreigners looking in, may seem crazy and bizarre. This is even more the case regarding countries that are relatively closed to the outside world. With little influence from other countries, the customs and laws of closed countries seem to be more bizarre than the norm. A prime example of this is North Korea. Isolating itself from the world, North Korea has garnered a reputation for peculiarities. Below are five weird facts about North Korea that has some foreigners asking, “Is North Korea crazy? ”