• IntelligenceTrump versus the intelligence agencies – we’ve seen it all before

    By Dan Lomas

    Donald Trump’s remarkable attacks on his own intelligence community may seem shocking to the casual observer – but they are not without precedent. History is littered with the debris of this delicate and all too often abusive relationship. Whether it is dirty tricks to undermine a “Bolshevik” Harold Wilson or “Ivy League liberals” smearing Richard Nixon, it is clear that the spies do not always love their leaders. Whether claims of dirty tricks are true remains open to question, but they upset the delicate intelligence-policymaker relationship. Past examples from Britain, the United States, and Israel show that even the suggestion that intelligence agencies are trying to undermine the government cause significant problems. History does not bode well for President Trump. Expect more problems in the future.

  • WiretappingNo wiretapping at Trump Tower: Senate, House intelligence leaders

    Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top two lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Thursday issued a statement to confirm that there is no evidence to back President Donald Trump’s assertion that Trump Tower was under surveillance. On Wednesday, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, said there was no proof Trump was wiretapped during the administration of Barack Obama.

  • The Russian connectionA First: U.S. brings hacking charges against two Russian government officials

    The United States, for the first time, has brought hacking charges against Russian government officials. The charges include hacking, wire fraud, trade secret theft and economic espionage. The Justice Department has previously charged Russians with cybercrime – and brought prosecutions against hackers sponsored by the Chinese and Iranian governments – but the new indictments are the first time a criminal case is being brought against Russian government officials.

  • Russian hackingWikiLeaks's CIA dump a likely Russian move to make Trump’s charges appear credible: Experts

    Some Trump supporters have suggested that the hacking of the DNC and of the Clinton campaign was not the work of Russia’s intelligence agencies. Rather, it was a “false flag” operation carried out by the U.S. intelligence community, but which was made to look as if it was carried out by Russian intelligence. They portray Trump as a victim of the “deep state,” or permanent bureaucracy, which is hostile to the president’s agenda. Security experts say that the latest WikiLeaks’s publication of information about CIA hacking and surveillance tools – information likely given to WikiLeaks by Russian intelligence – may well be a Russian effort to make Trump’s fact-free charges, that he was “spied on” by U.S. intelligence, appear more credible.

  • The Russian connectionUkrainian businessman with links to Trump, Russia dies in mysterious circumstances

    Alex Oronov, 69, a Ukranian-born millionaire businessman with ties to both Donald Trump and the Russian business elite, has died on 2 March in unexplained circumstances. Oronov, a naturalized American citizen, ran a large agricultural business in his native Ukraine. Oronov also had family ties to Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer: Cohen’s brother, Bryan, was Oronov’s partner in an ethanol business in Ukraine. Oronov’s death is the latest in a series of mysterious deaths which have visited senior Russian diplomats in the past three months.

  • Intellectual propertyUp to $600 billion in American intellectual property stolen annually

    The theft of American intellectual property (IP) remains a systemic threat to the U.S. economy, inflicting an estimated cost that exceeds $225 billion in counterfeit goods, pirated software, and theft of trade secrets and could be as high as $600 billion annually. China remains the world’s principal IP infringer, driven by an industrial policy that continues to prioritize both acquisition and development of science and technology.

  • Russian hackingRussia's interference in U.S., European elections could be “act of war”: NATO commander

    General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has said that Russian cyberattacks on NATO member states could be deemed an act of war and trigger the principle of the military alliance’s collective defense. Bradshaw said reports of Russian interference in American and European elections and Russian international disinformation campaign could lead alliance leaders to broaden the definition of an “attack.” European intelligence agencies have said that Russia’s successful interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election has emboldened Moscow to replicated in Europe the methods it used in the U.S. There is already evidence that Russia has launched a hacking and disinformation campaign aiming to help far-right, ethno-nationalist, and populist politicians win the coming elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany.

  • How governments and companies can prevent the next insider attack

    By Matthew Bunn and Scott D. Sagan

    Insider threats could take many forms, such as the next Edward Snowden, who leaked hundreds of thousands of secret documents to the press, or the next Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood mass killer. Indeed, in today’s high-tech and hyperconnected world, threats from insiders go far beyond leakers and lone-wolf shooters. A single insider might be able to help adversaries steal nuclear material that terrorists could use to make a crude nuclear bomb, install malware that could compromise millions of accounts or sabotage a toxic chemical facility to cause thousands of deaths. How can we better protect against the enemy within, no matter what it is that needs to be protected? In our high-tech society, the insider threat is ever-present. High-security organizations, governments and companies alike need to take action to counter the organizational and cognitive biases that often blind us to the insider danger – or future blunders will condemn us to more disasters.

  • The Russian connectionRussia, Trump and the 2016 election: What’s the best way for Congress to investigate?

    By Jordan Tama

    Exactly how will the U.S. conduct a fair and accurate investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and links with President Donald Trump’s campaign? U.S. congressional leaders are discussing options. At a time when Congress is sharply polarized along partisan lines, congressional investigations tend to become microcosms of that polarization. This is all the more true when an investigation involves an issue about which the president is vulnerable to political embarrassment or attack. If the intelligence committee proves unable to conduct a thorough and bipartisan investigation of Russian meddling and Trump’s campaign, pressure will build on America’s leaders to establish a more independent probe. Hanging in the balance could be whether the United States can forge consensus about what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

  • The Russian connectionU.S. intelligence: a “truth-devoted” culture

    Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, now a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was director of intelligence and counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy and was a decorated CIA intelligence officer. He discusses the nature of intelligence work, the belief structure that drives those who do it, the probe of Russian interference in the election, and the friction between the Trump administration and the intelligence agencies.

  • National securityMichael Flynn's top aide fired from NSC after security clearance is denied

    A top aide to Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor, was on Friday fired from his position as senior director for Africa at the National Security Council (NSC) after the CIA rejected his application for a high-level security clearance. Flynn himself is in hot water for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about discussions he — Flynn — had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on 29 December, in which he told the Russian ambassador not to worry about the sanctions the Obama administration had imposed on Russia that same day for its cyber-meddling in the presidential election, because Trump, after being sworn in, would lift these sanctions – as well as the sanctions imposed on Russia for annexing Crimea and invading Ukraine.

  • National securityNSA, worried about Trump's Russia ties, “withheld information” from briefings: Former analyst

    The New York Observer, a publication owned until recently by Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has reported that leaders of the U.S. intelligence community are withholding the most sensitive intelligence from the White House. A former NSA analyst and counterintelligence officer told the Observer that some of the U.S. intelligence agencies have begun withholding intelligence information from the Oval Office as a result of worries that the Russia “has ears inside” the White House situation room.

  • SecretsThe problem with U.S. secrets

    Secrets are often harmless, but they can prompt major problems when they happen at the highest levels of government. So what are the consequences when a U.S. president is dangerously preoccupied with secrecy? One expert says that question is particularly relevant with a new administration taking charge. She said that every other administration withheld some crucial information, whether about Woodrow Wilson’s stroke, Richard Nixon’s burglaries, or Bill Clinton’s affairs. “Secrecy turns out to be the president’s greatest power,” she said. “And if not controlled, it’s also the greatest threat to democracy.”

  • Russian hackingHow computer hacking is becoming Russia’s weapon of choice

    By David Stupples

    The Russian government has long been known to source its technology, world-class hacking talent, and even some intelligence information from local cybercrime rings. What’s more, this criminal fraternity probably receives state immunity for cybercrimes committed outside Russia in return for offering services to the Russian state. Russia’s clear long-term strategy is to use the internet to further its aims in information warfare. It has proved that this form of warfare is more potent than kinetic warfare and that it can reap the benefits quickly and without fear of a coordinated response from the United States or NATO. Its use of criminal cyber rings ensures that it benefits from no (provable) direct links to the Russian government. A further downside is that China, North Korea, and Iran seem to be copying this model and have already been active in attacks against other nation states. The internet has changed mass communication in countless positive ways. But it is becoming an increasingly dangerous tool for subversive activity. A re-think and a re-boot are looking increasingly necessary.

  • Russian hackingTrump loosens sanctions on Russian intelligence agency which helped his 2016 campaign

    The Trump administration has loosened sanctions imposed by Barack Obama on Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), one of the two Russian government intelligence agencies which actively interfered in the U.S. 2016 presidential campaign in order to help Trump win. The loosening of the sanctions would make it easier for American companies to do business with the FSB, which is the successor of the KGB.