• EspionageU.S. charges former Air Force intel officer with spying for Iran

    A former U.S. Air Force counterintelligence officer who defected to Iran six years ago has been charged with spying for the Iranian government and helping Iran target other U.S. intelligence agents. Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges of disclosing the code name and classified mission of a U.S. military special access program to the Iranian government. She was also charged with helping Iranian intelligence services in targeting her former co-workers, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

  • China syndromeHuawei espionage arrests in Poland: A wake-up call to Europe

    By Thomas Morley and Matt Schrader

    U.S. and European intelligence services have been warning that Huawei, a jewel in the crown of the China’s growing technology industry, cannot be trusted in its protestations that it does not cooperate with the country’s intelligence agencies, or that it respects the rule of law and the intellectual property of its competitors. European governments should exclude Huawei from their telecommunications infrastructure before the company becomes too enmeshed in the continent’s 5G systems to be fully, securely, and painlessly removed at a later date. Failure to do so would give China truly unprecedented tools to corrupt, influence, and subvert Western democracies and the rule of law that is so vital to their continued health and the health of the post-War international system.

  • Considered opinion: The Russia connectionRussia is attacking the U.S. system from within

    By Natasha Bertrand

    A new court filing submitted last Wednesday by Special Counsel Robert Mueller shows that a Russian troll farm currently locked in a legal battle over its alleged interference in the 2016 election appeared to wage yet another disinformation campaign late last year—this time targeting Mueller himself. Concord Management and Consulting is accused of funding the troll farm, known as the Internet Research Agency. But someone connected to Concord allegedly manipulated the documents and leaked them to reporters, hoping the documents would make people think that Mueller’s evidence against the troll farm and its owners was flimsy. Natasha Bertrand writes that “The tactic didn’t seem to convince anyone, but it appeared to mark yet another example of Russia exploiting the U.S. justice system to undercut its rivals abroad.”

  • Truth decayPeering under the hood of fake-news detectors

    By Rob Matheson

    New work from MIT researchers peers under the hood of an automated fake-news detection system, revealing how machine-learning models catch subtle but consistent differences in the language of factual and false stories. The research also underscores how fake-news detectors should undergo more rigorous testing to be effective for real-world applications.

  • The gathering stormU.S. intel chiefs warn Washington risks losing friends, influence

    By Jeff Seldin

    U.S. intelligence chiefs are sounding alarms about an ever more perilous future for the United States, one in which the country is in danger of seeing its influence wane, its allies waiver, and key adversaries team up to erode norms that once kept the country safe and the world more stable. “It is increasingly a challenge to prioritize which threats are of greatest importance,” Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, said, sharing testimony that often and repeatedly contradicted past assertions by President Donald Trump. “During my tenure as DNI now two years and I have told our workforce over and over that our mission was to seek the truth and speak the truth,” Coats pointedly stated. Driving many of the concerns, according to intelligence officials, is a growing alliance between Russia and China competing against the U.S. not just for military and technological superiority, but for global influence.

  • The gathering stormRussia’s hostile measures threaten Europe: Report

    A new RAND report examines current Russian hostile measures in Europe and forecasts how Russia might threaten Europe using these measures over the next few years. “Whatever the U.S. response, preparation for involvement in a wide range of conflicts can help reduce the risk of mismanagement, miscalculation, and escalation,” the report’s authos say.

  • The Russia connectionTrump-Putin G20 chat had no U.S. oversight

    The White House acknowledged last month that President Trump did have an informal conversation with Vladimir Putin at the G20 in Buenos Aires in late November, but now the Financial Times reports the two men met without a U.S. translator, note-taker, or even administration aide present. Former US national security officials have said that while it would be unusual for U.S. presidents to be accompanied by a translator or aide while meeting allies, standard practice while meeting US adversaries would be to engage in discussions with staff on hand.

  • Truth decay2016 Twitter fake news engagement: Highly concentrated and conservative-leaning

    By studying how more than 16,000 American registered voters interacted with fake news sources on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, researchers report that engagement with fake news was extremely concentrated. Only a small fraction of Twitter users accounted for the vast majority of fake news exposures and shares, they say, many among them older, conservative and politically engaged.

  • Security challanges New U.S. intel strategy warns of more “turbulent” times ahead

    By Jeff Seldin

    U.S. intelligence agencies trying to plot their course for the next four years are facing an ever more chaotic world, complicated by a weakening of the Western-led international order, rapidly changing technology. The new strategy identifies the two main challenges the U.S. is facing as “the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of Western democratic ideals,” and what it calls “increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West.” U.S. intelligence officials also warned that the proliferation of advanced technology has enabled adversaries, big and small, to close the gap on Washington. “We see Russia pursuing, with a vim and vigor that I haven’t seen since the ’80s, capabilities to reach us,” a senior intelligence official warned.

  • The Russia connectionGRU's suspected plan to link Skripal poisoning to Steele Dossier

    The Telegraph is reporting that Russian military intelligence – a year before the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal – planted online evidence of a false connection between the former Russian agent and Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who researched Donald Trump’s Russia connections during the 2016 campaign.

  • Election interferenceForeign interference in US elections dates back decades

    By Bradley W. Hart

    Americans have spent the last 18 months wondering about Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump would not be the first U.S. politician that foreign powers tried to help. In fact, two campaigns, in 1940 and 1960, featured bold attempts by hostile foreign powers to put their preferred candidates in the Oval Office. While neither was successful, both highlight a vulnerability in the American political system that, for the first time, has become the subject of major public discussion.

  • The Russia connectionJust between us

    Media investigation has found that President Donald Trump has had at least 18 interactions with Vladimir Putin – four letters, five in-person meetings, and nine phone calls – and that Trump has not shared details of these interactions — what was discussed and what the two leaders agreed to — with members of his administration. Trump went to some length to conceal his dealings with Putin from the State Department, the Pentagon, the NSC, and the U.S. intelligence community: Just following the official Hamburg meeting, for example, Trump confiscated the interpreter’s notes before he and Putin left the room. “What’s disconcerting is the desire to hide information from your own team,” said one Russia expert. “The fact that Trump didn’t want the State Department or members of the White House team to know what he was talking with Putin about suggests it was not about advancing our country’s national interest but something more problematic.”

  • The Russia connectionFacebook deletes hundreds of Russian troll pages

    Facebook announced it had shut down more than 360 pages and accounts, with some tied to the Internet Research Agency (IRA). from the United States to Germany, Facebook has come under immense pressure to combat fake news, disinformation campaigns, and hate speech on its platforms.

  • China syndromeHuawei industrial espionage in Poland leads to calls for boycott

    The Chinese telecom giant’s industrial espionage activities in Poland have prompted calls for the company to be banned. The United States is leading the push for a boycott, but many EU governments remain undecided. Huawei offers a capable 5G technology, which represents a quantum leap in wireless communication speed, and which will be key to developing the Internet of Things (IoT), including self-driving cars. Critics charge that much of that technology was stolen from Western companies by Chinese intelligence agencies, for which Huwawei serves as a front.

  • The Russia connectionManafort wanted polling data sent to Ukrainians

    When, during the 2016 campaign, Paul Manafort sent Trump campaign’s internal polling data to Konstantin Kilimnik – a cut-out for the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence branch — he intended that data to be handed off to two Kremlin-allied Ukrainian oligarchs, Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov. Manafort told his accountant in August 2016 he was expecting $2.4 million from Ukraine in November 2016. His spokesman insists that money was payment for an old debt and not the data.