• Canada must not be naive when dealing with China’s authoritarian regime

    A new book on Canada-China relations offers lessons for the United States. The book “is in many ways a primer on the central challenge of our era – the question of how democracies address the scope and depth of an authoritarian wave now picking up momentum,” writes Hugh Segal, a Canadian foreign policy expert. “Our engagement with China must set aside the temptations of presuming fair minded universal intent on the part of Chinese state-controlled instruments, economic, diplomatic or military. We must be more focused on the protection of our own security and freedoms from Chinese subversion. Countries that wish access to our resources, technology and investment on normative terms do not get to launch cyberattacks against us, from military and intelligence units controlled by the state.”

  • New approach needed to arrest democratic decline

    A new Brookings report examines the emergence and diffusion of the illiberal toolkit from Turkey to Central Europe. It assesses how illiberal political actors have eroded checks and balances in several countries within the European Union and NATO and proposes concrete policy options for responding to democratic decline.

  • U.S. Cyber Command cut Russian troll factory’s access to the internet

    The U.S. Cyber Command blocked the internet access of the St. Petersburg’s-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian disinformation and propaganda outfit which was contracted by the Kremlin to orchestrate the social media disinformation campaign to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election. The IRA’s access to the internet was blocked on midterms Election Day, and for a few days following the election.

  • Report finds that Corbyn aide, Seumas Milne, has ties to Hamas

    An explosive investigative report by a British newspaper has unearthed long-standing ties between Seumas Milne, a senior aide to the Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn, and terrorist organizations committed to the destruction of Israel. The investigation also revealed Milne’s extensive ties to organizations linked to the Kremlin. Sir Richard Dearlove, who led the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 from 1999 to 2004, said: “Anyone with his sort of background could not be let anywhere near classified information. It would be out of the question. That means Corbyn could not make the judgments and decisions a PM has to make unless he stopped consulting him.”

  • It’s spy vs. spy vs. spy

    “I think what we’re seeing unfolding on the news every day right now is, potentially, the greatest intelligence or espionage scandal in modern history, maybe in history, full stop. The Kremlin has managed to get a candidate who’s very favorable to itself in the White House. It is still slightly hypothetical, because we don’t know the results of the investigation, but the fact that [the FBI] started an investigation at all, and this question had to be asked at all, shows how weird and unprecedented this situation is. If the music stops right now and actually there’s nothing to it, still the fact that we had to ask this question, and it was investigated, is extraordinary,” says Calder Walton, Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and editor of the forthcoming 3-volume The Cambridge History of Espionage and Intelligence.

  • U.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.

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

    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.

  • Russia is attacking the U.S. system from within

    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.”

  • Peering under the hood of fake-news detectors

    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.

  • U.S. intel chiefs warn Washington risks losing friends, influence

    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.

  • Russia’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.

  • Trump-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.

  • 2016 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.

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

    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.

  • GRU'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.