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Found 20 results

  1. If confirmed by the US Senate, Haspel would become the first woman to head the CIA WASHINGTON: Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by President Donald Trump on Tuesday to head the CIA, is a controversial figure, backed by many in the US intelligence community but regarded warily by some in Congress for her involvement in the agency?s?black site? detention facilities. Haspel was selected as the agency?s new director after the Republican president fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and chose current CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson?s replacement. If confirmed by the US Senate, Haspel would become the first woman to head the CIA, after serving as deputy director since February 2017. Trump told reporters he has worked very closely with Haspel and regards her as ?an outstanding person.? US officials said that while Haspel was generally held in high regard at the CIA, her nomination raised the unwelcome prospect of greater congressional and media scrutiny of officers who are more comfortable in the dark than in the spotlight. ?This is going to reopen wounds from a decade and more ago, and also invite more oversight of both our analyses and our activities, especially if Gina is confirmed,? said one US official, speaking on condition of anonymity. When she was named deputy director last year, intelligence officers who served with her and congressional officials said that in 2002, during Republican former President George W. Bush?s administration, she ran a secret CIA prison in Thailand codenamed ?Cat?s Eye.? Two suspected members of the al Qaeda militant group were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques at the facility. Three years later, still during Bush?s presidency, she helped carry out an order to destroy videotapes of the waterboarding, which simulates drowning and is considered a form of torture, according to those people. Such facilities are called ?black sites? because their existence is unacknowledged by the US government. On Tuesday, some US intelligence officials said reports of her alleged involvement in interrogations involving torture were false. However, they did not immediately provide details. They did not dispute her involvement in carrying out orders to destroy videotapes of harsh interrogation techniques, which was reported in the book?Hard Measures,? by Jose Rodriguez, her boss at the time, and former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow. A CIA spokesman had no immediate comment. Senator Ron Wyden, a Democratic member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday he opposed the nominations of both Pompeo and Haspel. ?Ms. Haspel?s background makes her unsuitable to serve as CIA director,? Wyden said.?Her nomination must include total transparency about this background, which I called for more than a year ago when she was appointed deputy director. If Ms. Haspel seeks to serve at the highest levels of US intelligence, the government can no longer cover up disturbing facts from her past.? One key Republican, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, promised to support her nomination. Saying he was ?proud? of her work, Burr said he would ensure her nomination would be considered without delay. ?I know Gina personally, and she has the right skill set, experience and judgment to lead one of our nation?s most critical agencies,? Burr said. Her confirmation hearing has yet to be scheduled. ?There is no question that a director leaving after a year is very turbulent for the agency,? said former CIA Director Michael Hayden. ?That said, leaving Gina and making her the actual director will have a very positive calming influence.? Hayden added, ?I suspect other parts of the government (will) see more turbulence out of this than CIA will.? Human rights groups signalled opposition to Haspel. ?Haspel is a particularly controversial choice, given her reported past involvement in torture at CIA black sites. No one responsible for torture should be leading a federal agency, period,? said Rob Berschinski, senior vice president of Human Rights First. ?The Senate should use her confirmation process to send a strong signal about where this country stands on correcting the mistakes of the past.? Haspel has served in a number of undercover overseas posts in addition to her work in Thailand, including as chief of the CIA station in London and the agency?s base in New York. Then-CIA Director John Brennan in 2013 named her deputy director of National Clandestine Service, but she was denied a permanent promotion in the face of congressional opposition.
  2. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announcing on Twitter that he will be replaced by CIA chief Mike Pompeo. "Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!" Trump tweeted. "Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!" he added. The US president announced the appointment of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency -- the first woman tapped for the post. Donald Trump wanted to change up his cabinet team before launching high-stakes negotiations with North Korea, a senior US official said. "The President wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talks with North Korea," the official said. The reshuffle comes days after the spectacular announcement of a meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whose date and details have yet to be determined.
  3. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo speaks at The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, US, April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/Files WASHINGTON: US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday defended talks he had at CIA headquarters last week with Russian spy chiefs at a time of strained ties between Washington and Moscow and political squabbling over allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. A US intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, accused Moscow of disclosing the visit partly to fuel political discord in Washington over investigations of a Russian interference campaign that is rankling President Donald Trump and some of his fellow Republicans. The US Senate?s top Democrat Chuck Schumer wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Jan. 31 asking why US intelligence officials met with Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia?s foreign intelligence agency, known as the SVR. ?We periodically meet with our Russian intelligence counterparts for the same reason our predecessors did - to keep Americans safe,? Pompeo replied to Schumer in a letter made public on Thursday. There is nothing ?untoward? about such meetings, Pompeo said. ?We cover very difficult subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align,? Pompeo said. ?We vigorously defend America in these encounters and pull no punches - we never will.? The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond on Thursday to requests for comment on the meetings. The Russian officials? visit was made public on Tuesday by the state-run ITAR-Tass news agency and the Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov tweeted the report. Pompeo?s reply to Schumer failed to satisfy the senator. ?This letter is responsive to approximately none of the questions that were raised about these visits,? Schumer?s spokesman, Matt House, wrote on Twitter. Moscow denies the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that it led a hacking campaign of political party networks and spread disinformation to help Trump in his presidential campaign. Congressional panels and a special counsel are investigating. Trump denies any campaign collusion with Russian officials. Among other questions, Schumer asked how Naryshkin was able to enter the United States because he is under US sanctions barring him from the country. Naryshkin was blacklisted in 2014 as part of the US response to Russia?s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine. Naryshkin met with DNI Coats at Coats?s suburban Washington headquarters, according to two sources. A third source said that the SVR chief met Pompeo at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Naryshkin was accompanied by Alexander Bortnikov, the director of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, Russia?s main domestic intelligence agency, the third source said. The US intelligence official told Reuters that ?it was no accident that Russia decided to publicize? the visit after years of not disclosing meetings between US and Russian intelligence officials. It appeared to be ?a calculated effort? that ?not only sowed discord in the United States but also reinforced the notion that they (Russia) are not isolated internationally,? said the intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Washington has been gripped this week by arguments over a Republican memo said to cite allegations of FBI bias against Trump in its Russia probe. The memo is a flashpoint in a wider battle between Republicans and Democrats over Special Counsel Robert Mueller?s criminal investigation into potential collusion. Pompeo?s letter to Schumer said that meetings between Russian and US intelligence agencies include counter-terrorism cooperation in which the CIA recently helped Russia thwart a ?terrorist plot? in St. Petersburg ?that could have killed Americans.?
  4. CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Photo: File LONDON: CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that Chinese efforts to exert covert influence over the West are just as concerning as Russian subversion, while speaking to an interview with BBC. Pompeo further informed that that the Chinese "have a much bigger footprint" than the Russians do, as an example he quoted the efforts to steal US commercial information and infiltration of schools and hospitals. "Think about the scale of the two economies," Mr Pompeo said of Russia and China."The Chinese have a much bigger footprint upon which to execute that mission than the Russians do." After Trump criticism, China denies selling oil illicitly to North Korea 'I have been soft on China because the only thing more important to me than trade is war,' Trump says in an interview The US spy chief said that the international community could collectively do more to combat Chinese efforts to exert power over the West. "We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies - with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America," he said. "We see it in our schools. We see it in our hospitals and medicals systems. We see it throughout corporate America. It's also true in other parts of the world... including Europe and the UK." CIA Director Pompeo claimed that Russia will target US mid-term elections later this year as part of the Kremlin´s attempt to influence domestic politics across the West. Russia has been accused of meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the allegations, which Moscow denies, and whether there was any collusion involving President Donald Trump´s associates. Pompeo said Russia had a long history of information campaigns and said its threat would not go away. Asked if Russia would try to influence the mid-term elections, he said: "Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that. "But I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election. That we´ll push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won´t be great.
  5. After US President Donald Trump's diatribe against Pakistan, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has now launched a barrage of allegations, accusing Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists. Speaking to CBS news on Monday, CIA chief Mike Pompeo reiterated his Trump's allegations, threatening Islamabad that they would 'protect' the United States if Pakistan fails to address the issue. "We see that Pakistan is continuing to provide safe harbor havens inside of Pakistan for terrorists who present risks to the United States of America," Pompeo told US media. "We are doing our best to inform the Pakistanis that that is no longer going to be acceptable." The statement comes amid a period of heightened tensions between the two nations that followed a similar statement from President Donald Trump. The US president accused Pakistan of giving nothing but lies and deceit, thinking US leaders to be fools. "They give safe havens to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump said in his tweet last week. Pompeo said: "If they fix this problem, we're happy to continue to engage with them and be their partner. But if they don't, we're going to protect America. The statements by top US officials have drawn a strong reaction from Islamabad, with the summoning of the US ambassador to its Foreign Office in a rare public rebuke. Last week, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif slammed that the "US behaviour is neither that of an ally nor of a friend." "It is a friend who always betrays," he said on Thursday, raising questions over United States' motives in the region. "They, the US and allies, have the best and highly equipped forces. How come they could not perform in Afghanistan," he questioned, noting that Pakistan fought a war with its own resources and it succeeded in Swat, Bajaur, North Waziristan and other areas.
  6. Head of the CIA Mike Pompeo. Photo: AFP WASHINGTON: The head of the CIA on Sunday denied his agency had any role in fomenting the recent anti-government protests in Iran but predicted the violent unrest "is not behind us." Mike Pompeo, named a year ago by President Donald Trump to head the intelligence agency, told Fox News Sunday that economic conditions in Iran "are not good." "That?s what caused the people to take to the streets," he said. He blamed what he called Tehran?s "backward-looking" regime for turning a deaf ear to the voices of the people. Asked about a claim by Iran?s prosecutor general, Mohammad Javad Montazeri, that a CIA official had coordinated with Israel and Saudi Arabia ? Iran?s regional rivals ? to work with exiled Iranian groups to stir dissent in Iran, Pompeo replied simply: "It?s false." "This was the Iranian people ? started by them, created by them, continued by them, demanding a better set of living conditions and a break from the theocratic regime." Looming deadlines Trump has repeatedly tweeted his support for Iranian protesters while castigating the Tehran regime, seizing on the recent unrest to again slam the multiparty nuclear deal with Iran as deeply flawed. Trump faces deadlines around mid-month on whether to renew temporary waivers or restore US sanctions on Iran. In October, Trump refused to certify that Iran was respecting its commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord, but did not reimpose sanctions or abandon the deal itself. The administration has not revealed its intentions, but the Iran unrest is seen as a possible pretext for blowing up the nuclear accord. The US Congress has been working on legislation aimed at tightening terms of the agreement in ways that might satisfy Trump?s demands, and Pompeo expressed careful optimism that it might succeed. "They could do something," he said. "They could take some of the weaknesses from the agreement... extend deadlines (and) snap back sanctions into place where they could really happen." But Bob Corker, head of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said last week that while talks on Iran were continuing with the White House and its European partners, no new bill was imminent. Any agreement, Corker said, would take several more weeks to work out.
  7. CIA Director Mike Pompeo arrives the FDD National Security Summit in Washington, US, October 19, 2017. Photo: Reuters/File SIMI VALLEY: US Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he sent a letter to Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani and Iranian leaders expressing concern regarding Iran?s increasingly threatening behaviour in Iraq. Speaking during a panel at the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in Southern California, Pompeo said he sent the letter after the senior Iranian military commander had indicated that forces under his control might attack US forces in Iraq. He did not specify the date. ?What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable for any attacks on American interests in Iraq by forces that are under their control,? Pompeo told the panel. ?We wanted to make sure he and the leadership in Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear.? Soleimani, who is the commander of foreign operations for Iran?s elite Revolutionary Guards, refused to open the letter, according to Pompeo, who took over the CIA in January. Fear of Iranian general left Iraqi Kurdish oil fields deserted Chief of the Quds force of Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, issued tough warnings to Kurdish leaders ahead of the Iraqi military advance Iranian media earlier quoted Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying an unnamed CIA contact had tried to give a letter to Soleimani when he was in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal in November during the fighting against Daesh. ?I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people,? Golpayegani quoted Soleimani as saying, according to the semi-official news agency Fars. Reuters reported in October that Soleimani had repeatedly warned Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to withdraw from the oil city of Kirkuk or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces and allied Iranian-backed fighters, and had traveled to Iraq?s Kurdistan region to meet Kurdish leaders. The presence of Soleimani on the frontlines highlights Tehran?s heavy sway over policy in Iraq, and comes as Iran seeks to win a proxy war in the Middle East with its regional rival and US ally, Saudi Arabia. A US-led coalition has been fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria and is often in proximity to Iran-allied militia fighting Daesh there. ?You need to only look to the past few weeks and the efforts of the Iranians to exert influence now in Northern Iraq in addition to other places in Iraq to see that Iranian efforts to be the hegemonic power throughout the Middle East continues to increase,? Pompeo said. The CIA chief said Saudi Arabia had grown more willing to share intelligence with other Middle Eastern nations regarding Iran and religious extremism. Israeli army chief says ready to share information with Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia maintains that any relations with Israel hinge on Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands occupied in the 1967 Middle East war The Israeli government said last month that Israel had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran, a first disclosure by a senior official from either country of long-rumoured secret dealings. ?We?ve seen them work with the Israelis to push back against terrorism throughout the Middle East, to the extent we can continue to develop those relationships and work alongside them ? the Gulf states and broader Middle East will likely be more secure,? said Pompeo.
  8. A combination photo of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo (L) on May 11, 2017, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington, US, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/Yuri Gripas/Files WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump is considering a plan to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whose relationship has been strained by the top US diplomat?s softer line on North Korea and other differences, senior administration officials said on Thursday. Tillerson would be replaced within weeks by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist and foreign policy hard-liner, under a White House plan to carry out the most significant staff shake-up so far of the Trump administration. Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of Trump?s staunchest defenders in Congress, would be tapped to replace Pompeo at the Central Intelligence Agency, the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. It was not immediately clear whether Trump had given final approval to the reshuffle, but one of the officials said the president asked for the plan to be put together. Tillerson?s long-rumoured departure would end a troubled tenure for the former oil executive, who has been increasingly at odds with Trump over issues such as North Korea and under fire for planned cuts at the State Department. Tillerson was reported in October to have privately called Trump a ?moron,? something the secretary of state sought to dismiss. That followed a tweet by Trump that Tillerson should not waste his time by seeking negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear and missile program, widely seen as a sign of the secretary of state being marginalized. Trump has soured on Tillerson mostly because of the ?moron? report, his less-confrontational approach on North Korea and differences over the Qatar crisis, one senior US official said. Trump asked John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, to develop the transition strategy, and it has been discussed with other officials, one administration source said. Under the plan, which has been in the works for weeks and was first reported by the New York Times, the reshuffle would happen around the end of the year or shortly afterwards, the official said. Asked whether he wanted Tillerson to remain in his job, Trump sidestepped the question, telling reporters at the White House: ?He?s here. Rex is here.? State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Kelly told Tillerson?s chief of staff on Thursday the reports on Tillerson being replaced were not true. Nauert added that Tillerson ?serves at the pleasure of the president.? Asked about Tillerson, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the secretary of state remained in his post. ?When the president loses confidence in someone, they will no longer serve here,? she said. Pompeo, a former congressman, has moved to the forefront as he has gained Trump?s trust on national security matters. Tillerson, 65, has spent much of his tenure trying to smooth the rough edges of Trump?s unilateralist ?America First? foreign policy, with limited success. On several occasions, the president had publicly undercut his diplomatic initiatives. A source familiar with Tillerson?s thinking said the secretary of state?s original plan when he took the job was to leave in February. If carried out, the staff changes would be the latest in a string of firings or resignations in the Trump administration including the departures of the chief of staff, national security adviser and FBI director. Foreign police hardliner Pompeo, 53, has taken tough foreign policy stands, especially on Iran, and talked about how his agency is becoming more aggressive and how he has been focusing on deploying more CIA officers overseas. He has offered effusive praise for Trump in despite the president?s criticism of US intelligence agencies, some of which concluded that Russia conducted an influence campaign to boost Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Tillerson has at times put distance between himself and Trump?s positions. At a private dinner of foreign policy veterans last month, a senior White House official criticized Tillerson for failing to support the president?s agenda, according to a person familiar with the matter. Tillerson joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing Trump not to pull the United States out of an agreement with Iran and world powers over Tehran?s nuclear capabilities. Tillerson has taken a more hawkish view than Trump on Russia and tried to mediate a dispute after four Arab nations launched a boycott of Qatar. In September in Beijing, Tillerson said Washington was probing North Korea to see whether it was interested in dialogue and had multiple direct channels of communication with Pyongyang. The next day, Trump appeared to dismiss those efforts in a tweet, telling Tillerson he was ?wasting his time.? Tensions have also run high between Tillerson and veteran diplomats who oppose his proposed staff and budget cuts.
  9. Former CIA chief John Brennan hit back at Donald Trump on Sunday, saying the president should be "ashamed" after he attacked as "political hacks" the intelligence leaders who concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election. Photo: AFP WASHINGTON: Former CIA chief John Brennan hit back at Donald Trump on Sunday, saying the president should be "ashamed" after he attacked as "political hacks" the intelligence leaders who concluded Russia meddled in the 2016 election. "Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honour," Brennan told CNN?s State of the Union, where he appeared alongside former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. "I found it particularly reprehensible that on Veterans Day Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper, who served in uniform for 35 years," said the ex-CIA chief. "I think it?s something Mr Trump should be ashamed of," he added.
  10. Osama bin Laden rehearses a speech in this screen grab from a video document declassified by the Office of the Director of National in 2015 - AFP TEHRAN: Iran has accused the CIA of spreading "fake news" about the Islamic republic with newly declassified files seized in the 2011 raid in Pakistan in which Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed. The CIA on Wednesday released 470,000 additional files found in May 2011 when US Navy SEALs burst into Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad and shot him dead. According to scholars from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), who were allowed to see the trove before it was made public, the files shed new light on the murky relationship between the Al-Qaeda and Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed the allegations. "A record low for the reach of petrodollars: CIA & FDD fake news w/selective AlQaeda docs re: Iran can't whitewash role of US allies in 9/11," he wrote on Twitter late on Thursday. The release of the files comes as US President Donald Trump's administration seeks to ramp up pressure on Iran, refusing to certify a landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. The Fars news agency, said Thursday that the selective publication of documents by the CIA related to Al-Qaeda was part of efforts "to put pressure on Iran".
  11. The CIA has released documents seized during the raid on Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden?s Abbottabad compound. The release of 470,000 files includes several home movies which show Osama?s private life. Video showing son Hamza bin Laden [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/7b6e114ce2b7a723bf82419cf5b25ba2.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvMi8yMDE3IDEwOjI2OjU4IEFNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9aGFJWk1TeHMvN2RkaDJTQ1RYMVV1Zz09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] Video shows children in various areas of the compound [embed_video4 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/7a6bc97268e6e9732c2e73788f72df0a.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvMi8yMDE3IDEwOjMwOjU0IEFNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9bitXU0VZVGxJSi9uS0FWQ0NjWDMvZz09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] Video showing children's target practice with two guns [embed_video2 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/359f40ac0579a6c12a98fd0514058de3.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvMi8yMDE3IDEwOjI4OjQ2IEFNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9cGlNMTlvUTVicjVCNmp6QmdtaDBrQT09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] Video showing Osama bin Laden's backyard [embed_video3 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/babe13b3c716308c47d0ef2893b1a81d.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvMi8yMDE3IDEwOjI5OjI0IEFNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9SVZ3ZjFpS3daWmdZblBOU3VGeFBlZz09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center]
  12. The Central Intelligence Agency on Wednesday released a vast archive of documents and video seized in the 2011 US raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Photo: AFP file WASHINGTON: The Central Intelligence Agency on Wednesday released a vast archive of documents and video seized in the 2011 US raid on a compound in Pakistan that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Researchers from a Washington think tank who had prior access to the newly declassified dossier say it includes Bin Laden's son's wedding video and diaries left by the Saudi-born militant. "Today's release ... provides the opportunity for the American people to gain further insights into the plans and workings of this terrorist organization," said CIA director Mike Pompeo. The CIA has put online 470,000 additional files seized in May 2011 when US Navy SEALs burst into the Abbottabad compound and shot dead the leader of Al-Qaeda's global extremist network. According to Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio, scholars from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies who were allowed to study the trove before it was made public, it provides new insights. "These documents will go a long way to help fill in some of the blanks we still have about al Qaeda's leadership," Roggio said. The inclusion of Hamza Bin Laden's wedding video, for example, gives the world the first image of Bin Laden's favourite son as an adult ? an image apparently shot in Iran.
  13. Choosing a career path is quite a hard decision, and it happens very often that you realize that you're not made for the job you've just started working on. Well, seems like it's a universal thing as Lulu the Labrador is also going through the exact same thing. The adorable pupper was training to be an explosive detection K-9 for the CIA. Well, I don't have to explain what an important (or should I say 'im-paw-tant') and noble job it is, but Lulu quickly came to a realization that this wasn't the career path for her. And, it turns out she just couldn't even pretend to be motivated, she basically just didn't care about sniffing out bombs, which is literally a life and death kind of a situation. We're sad to announce that a few weeks into training, Lulu began to show signs that she wasn't interested in detecting explosive odors. pic.twitter.com/c6lxHPfC09 — CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017 In an extremely important 'pupdate' blogpost, the CIA explained how they had no choice other than letting Lulu go : “For some dogs, like Lulu, it becomes clear that the issue isn't temporary. Instead, this just isn't the job they are meant for. Lulu was no longer interested in searching for explosives. Even when they could motivate her with food and play to search, she was clearly not enjoying herself any longer.” Lulu wasn't interested in searching for explosives. Even when motivated w food & play, she was clearly no longer enjoying herself. pic.twitter.com/puvhDk1tRX — CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017 Even though Lulu was going through her explosive training to become a bomb dog, but she decided that maybe she didn't want to be a bomb dog. But, it's okay, it happens to the best of us. But, on a happier note, she has been adopted by her handler and spends her days playing happily with the children of the family, as well as their other pet Labrador, Harry. Apparently, now she is the best at sniffing out dead rabbits and squirrels in the backyard of her new house. Lulu was adopted by her handler & now enjoys her days playing w his kids & a new friend, & sniffing out rabbits & squirrels in the backyard. pic.twitter.com/WOImM75P1D — CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017 Even though it wouldn't have been easy to lose such an adorable recruit, this was still the best decision for Lulu, and it seems like she's fully enjoying her retirement now. We'll miss Lulu, but it was right decision for her & we wish her all the best in her new life!https://t.co/nPZl6YWNKb pic.twitter.com/Mbcr9C7wUY — CIA (@CIA) October 18, 2017 All the best, Lulu! You have your whole life ahead of you to just relax and play now.
  14. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, seen here in an undated picture from the North Korean official news agency, is a "rational actor" focused on the survival of his regime, a top CIA analyst says/AFP WASHINGTON: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a rational politician and the US needs to understand that to deal with the nuclear-armed country, a top Central Intelligence Agency Korea expert said Wednesday. "Beyond the bluster, Kim Jong-Un is a rational actor," said Yong Suk Lee, the deputy assistant director of the CIA´s Korea Mission Center. "We have a tendency in this country to underestimate his conservatism." "He wants to rule for a long time and die in his own bed," Lee said at a conference on the CIA at George Washington University. US politicians including President Donald Trump have repeatedly painted Pyongyang´s strongman as irrational and "crazy." But Lee said Kim´s focus is to stay in power, as shown by the brutal murder in Malaysia in February of his half brother Kim Jong-Nam, which has been blamed on Pyongyang agents. "All politics is local," he said of the North Korean milieu. The country´s long history of being surrounded by greater powers, too, means that the country is constantly on the defensive, and its leaders play that up. "North Korea is a political organism that thrives on confrontation," Lee said. But Kim´s fierce defense of his position and his combativeness against Washington does not mean he will act irrationally now that he has the capacity to fire a nuclear tipped missile at the United States. "Waking up and deciding to nuke Los Angeles is not in his interest to survive," he said.
  15. The underbelly of Himalayas on the Indian side hides a dirty secret. ‘Nanda Devi' or the blessed goddess is the highest mountain peak of India in the state of Uttarakhand. Apart from being a trekking paradise, the Nanda Devi peaks hold high strategic importance for India. It's an incredible vantage point to keep an eye on its mischievous eastern neighbour–China. The Nanda Devi trail encompasses two major glaciers (Nanda Devi North and Nanda Devi South) originating from the southern most slope of the Nanda Devi peak. The beautiful surroundings for seasonal tourists give way to punishing slopes in the winters and yet it remains one of the best spots for adrenalin junkies throughout the year. © pahar "Apparently in October of 1959 it was confirmed that China, with Soviet assistance, had established a nuclear test base at Lop Nor with all intentions of testing a nuclear device. U-2 flights over China were becoming extremely dangerous, so powers thought if they could put a monitoring station on top of some Himalayan mountain with a clear shot towards Lop Nor they could gather all the information they needed. Before a decision was made as to what mountain would be selected, it was a given it would be at a very high altitude.” - CIA wires October 16th, 1964 But despite its picturesque peaks, Nanda Devi has a nuclear past that not many know of. China, in its efforts to establish itself as a regional power in a rapidly deteriorating world order, tested a nuclear bomb at Lop Nor in Barren Sinkiang province on October 16th, 1964. With the Vietnam War already giving the US a hard time, an emboldened China posed a new threat to the already embattled US intelligence. The US reconnaissance satellites were incapable at the time to spy on china's nuclear capabilities. Also, with most of the intelligence satellites stationed over Russia, the US intelligence was stretched for options. © wikipedia At long last, after deliberations and compromise, the US President Lyndon Johnson approved a spy mission to measure China's nuclear capabilities and see if it was a threat to the US ambitions in South-Asia in the long run. “How many times do you get a chance for a free boondoggle?” The CIA dived deep to make sure that the preparations for the spy mission were accurate. The all-star nine member climbing team included a track star turned life sciences student and an engineer and inventor. Along with these 9 climbers, four other Indian mountaineers were drafted too. Their mission – to install a 125,000 pound tracking device powered by a nuclear snap generator atop the Nanda Devi at 27,000 feet. The snap generator was powered by Plutonium-238 which has a half life (the time taken for the radioactivity of a specified isotope to fall to half its original value) of 87.7 years. If installed successfully, this device would help the US intelligence to gather critical information on China's rapidly expanding nuclear capabilities and track their nuclear war-heads. The Indian team of climbers in Washington/© indiandefence The climbers, who would carry this device, were gathered at Langley and saw this mission as an opportunity of a lifetime. The proposal gave them a hefty sum of $1,000 a month all the while navigating through one of the most breathtaking landscapes in South-Asia. And this was nothing more than an exotic trip for some, “How many times do you get a chance for a free boondoggle? I'd do it again if the same situation presented itself. I had a lot of fun." Maybe, if they only knew how critical it was to not brand the mission as just an adventure trip. But before they could land in India for this adventure of a lifetime they were given a crash course in nuclear-age espionage. The team assembled to train the climbers included a demolitions expert, a former U-2 pilot, a psychiatrist and a sinologist. They were tasked with equipping the mountaineers with the basic skill set for a mission of such critical value. But as one spy put it later, most of the spy book jargon was “just meant to impress us—and waste a lot of time.” The all-star team at Mt. Mckinley/© wikipedia The climbers were flown to Mount McKinley in Alaska to acclimatize and warm-up at 20,320 feet. In ominous signs, just before embarking on the greatest mission of their lives, deteriorating weather kept them from reaching the summit and ended the warm-up mission prematurely. Nanda Devi- A rock and a hard place The Nanda Devi peak is stationed just 500 miles from Sinkiang, and presents a challenging trek for even the best of mountaineers. CIA's initial estimates of stationing the device at 27,000 feet were squashed after inputs suggested that even if it was set up at 25,645 foot, it would deliver efficiently without elevating the risk levels. The highest peak in India - Nanda Devi/© wikipedia The climbers, therefore, left for their mission under the guise of ‘The Air Force High Altitude Test Program' (HAT). The journey would present them with high risks as the ‘Blue Mountain' was infamous for rocks fading into the night and shrouded in the mist, paving a treacherously steep slope. Plutonium-238 The centre piece of the device that was to be installed atop the peak was a thin fuel rod that powered the snap generator. The rod contained plutonium-238, a radioactive fuel that produces heat as it decays and was supposed to last 75 years, if the mission was successful. At a place where temperatures could go as low as -40 degree Celsius, the spies in the first expedition to install the device could feel the heat radiate from the container that housed plutonium-238. Expedition One/© pahar The team which set out to complete the mission in September, 1965 from the south face of the mountain was stopped in its track due to stormy weather conditions; just 2,000 feet shy of the summit. But rather than wait for the autumn monsoons to give way, they decided to secure the package between rocks and returned to base, hoping to complete the mission in the second expedition. The second expedition to the Nanda Devi peak was attempted in the spring of 1966. As the weather eased up and the team well rested and wiser from the mistakes made last time, the state department of the US was fairly confident that once the expedition was over they would have clear and concise inputs on China's nuclear activities. They could not be more wrong in their assumptions. April, 1966 Installing the nuclear powered tracking device/© indiandefence The package is gone. Swept away by the rubble from the cliff that had broken lose. With the package, the radioactive Plutonium was gone too, leaving the climbers dumbfounded and the state department in shock. The spy mission quickly turned into a nuclear tragedy waiting to happen. The Nanda Devi South glaciers provide the headwaters for Ganges, the holy river for 450 million Hindus in India at that time and a source of clean water to major parts of northern India. That the CIA might have accidentally polluted an entire Indian River system with radioactive elements would be disastrous. More so because if this news broke out, it could lead to an all-out war between India and China as the two Asian powers were already involved militarily in the northeast. Taking stock of the situation, the CIA came up with a plan to locate the package including the radioactive Plutonium. The plan, in short, involved using Rubber hoses to wash away the rubble and exhume the nuclear device. In theory, it should have worked but the mound created by the avalanche was almost as big as the Giza pyramid and the CIA cleanup was unsuccessful. Operation HAT: Zero-turned-negative The complete group of climbers at Nanda Kot/© wikipedia Estimating the high cost of repercussions if the news of this failed mission came out, the higher-ups in Washington decided to abandon the mission without retrieving the device. The mission was now officially designated Zero-turned-negative. The decision to abandon the device was concealed from the White House so as to shield it if the disastrous details came out. The Indira Gandhi government in India was never notified of the mission by the CBI. The blame game was on. Anyone and everyone involved was under pressure to justify how three expeditions could have failed despite so much planning and investment. The Chinese and Indian specialists within the CIA almost came to blows. In letters thereon, it was reported that one mountaineer even punched a CBI agent in the midst of an argument. Going nuclear: Under the nose Total failure. All through 1965 and 1966, the CIA's efforts to establish a watch on China's nuclear arsenal were unsuccessful. The Chinese in the meanwhile built launch pads for the new nuclear missiles despite international pressure. On 27th October, 1966 China launched an experimental rocket from a launch pad in central Sinkiang under the CIA's nose. That was a serious blow to CIA's operational inability to track Chinese nukes and it prompted Washington to once again try and somehow put up a tracking device for future tests. Base camp/© indiandefence Operation Hat, now entering its fourth expedition was kick-started in 1967 with another mountain in sight – Nanda Kot. Nicknamed ‘Red Mountain' Nanda Kot was 22,470 foot high and clearly a much better alternative than Nanda Devi. With a new target and a different set of climbers, the new spy mission took off in April with a similar package as used in the last expedition with a substitute plutonium-fuelled device. Learning from the last three expeditions, the crew avoided the perpendicular chutes which could trigger avalanches because of the morning warm of the sun. The fourth expedition, however, was called off too as a high intensity blizzard blocked their way. Two climbers almost lost their lives caught in the deadly blizzard. The team determined to complete the mission, climbed up a few days later and was successful. The device was finally set-up at 21,000 foot and as expected, once installed, the device worked perfectly, scanning the northern horizon. A year later, though, the CIA was back in action as a storm had dismantled the device and a fifth expedition was planned. Only Indian mountaineers and porters took the fifth expedition to repair the device in 1968. It continued to transmit for another year after which the US launched a new surveillance satellite to scout China's nuclear activities. The underbelly of Himalayas on the Indian side still hides a dirty secret. Nanda Devi - Hiding a nuclear secret/© wikipedia CIA's five expeditions to the Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot peaks scream one important question. Where did the first device with plutonium-238 actually go? That the whole area was swept away in the rubble caused by the avalanche was apparent. But why couldn't the CIA locate the remains of the highly radioactive device? In 1966, the HH-43 Huskie helicopters flown by Air Force pilots went out to find some trace of the device that was swept away but to no avail. No readings and no leads were found in respect with the device. This, in turn, leads some experts to speculate that maybe, just maybe, the whole operation was always in knowledge of the Indian government then headed by Indira Gandhi. The device, left on its own in the snow covered avalanche might have easily been recovered by the Indian intelligence agencies before the second expedition arrived. This, in theory, seems like a perfect script for how India accelerated its own nuclear capabilities. But these are just speculations, for there might still be a piece of plutonium tucked way in the underbelly of the Himalayas.
  16. Dr AQ Khan (left) and Gen (retd) Musharraf Former president General (retd) Pervaiz Musharraf has claimed that it was the most disappointing day of his life when the director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) showed him proof of nuclear proliferation by Pakistani physicist and nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. In an interview to a private news channel, the former president said Dr Khan, in a meeting with him, cried and apologised, asking for help. The former president said he told the nuclear scientist to let him deal with the situation and inform the nation whatever he has told him in the meeting. He added that a Sri Lankan national was the frontman of Dr Khan. Musharraf said that though the-then US President George W Bush did not demand custody of Dr Khan, he considered him an international criminal. Responding to Musharraf's claims, Dr Khan called the former president a liar and traitor who sold the country's honour for dollars. He claimed that the former president told then prime minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali to hand him over to the CIA. Dr Khan said that he wanted to go to the US to tell the truth but he wasn?t given permission by the authorities as they feared an adverse reaction from the masses. He said Musharraf repeatedly called him a hero of the nation, and told him that he is under house arrest due to US pressure and will be released in three to four weeks.
  17. The CIA had top-level intelligence last August that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an operation to help Donald Trump win the US presidential race, the Washington Post reported Friday. The intelligence shocked the White House and put US security chiefs on a top-secret crisis footing to figure out how to react. But amid confidence that Democrat Hillary Clinton still had the election in the bag and worries over president Barack Obama himself being seen as manipulating the election, the administration delivered warnings to Moscow but left countermeasures until after the vote, the Post reported. After Trump´s shock victory, there were strong regrets among administration officials that they had shied from tough action. "From national security people there was a sense of immediate introspection, of, ´Wow, did we mishandle this,´" a former administration official told the newspaper. The Post said that as soon as the intelligence on Putin came in, the White House viewed it as a deep national security threat. A secret intelligence task force was created to firm up the information and come up with possible responses. They couldn´t do anything about embarrassing WikiLeaks revelations from hacked Clinton emails. The focus turned to whether Moscow could disrupt the November 8 vote itself by hacking voter registration lists or voting machines, undermining confidence in the vote tally itself. Worried about making the situation worse, the administration put off retaliating, and instead delivered stiff warnings directly to the Russians not to go farther. At least four direct warnings -- Obama to Putin, spy chief to spy chief, and via top diplomatic channels -- appeared to have an impact, officials told the Post. They believe that Moscow pulled back on any possible plans to sabotage US voting operations. "We made the judgment that we had ample time after the election, regardless of outcome, for punitive measures," a senior administration official told the Post. Options to retaliate were on the table early: more crippling sanctions on the Russian economy, leaking information that would embarrass Putin diplomatically, and launching cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure were high on the list. But Trump´s shock victory dampened the response. Obama took modest measures at the end of December, expelling 35 Russians and adding to existing sanctions. He also, according to the Post, authorised a plan to place cyberattack implants in the systems of critical Russian infrastructure. But it remains unclear, the Post said, whether Trump has followed through with that. Trump on Friday questioned Obama´s response to the Russian hacking crisis. "Just out: The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?" he posted on Twitter. In an interview with Fox News program "Fox and Friends" that will air Sunday, Trump groused that Obama´s response did not get more media coverage. "The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before they even -- before the election. And I hardly see it. It´s an amazing thing," Trump said in an excerpt released by the program Friday evening. "If he had the information, why didn´t he do something about it? He should have done something about it. But you don´t read that. It´s quite sad.
  18. WASHINGTON: The CIA has named the hardline chief of its hunt for Osama bin Laden and head of its lethal drone program to lead Iran operations, the New York Times reported Friday. The choice of Michael D?Andrea to run the Central Intelligence Agency?s spying on Iran is the newest sign of the Trump administration?s turn to tougher stance against the country, the Times said, quoting intelligence community sources. Although officially under cover and not acknowledged by the CIA, D?Andrea, a convert to Islam who is around 60 years old, has been a key figure in the fight against extremists groups. He was chief of the agency?s Counter-Terrorism Center during the 2000s, in which he oversaw the hunt for Al-Qaeda head bin Laden. He also led the Obama administration?s controversial "targeted killing" program using drones that left thousands of militants and civilians dead, mainly in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His identity was publicly exposed by the Times in 2015 in the wake of a drone attack on a suspected militant house in Pakistan that killed two Western hostages, an American and an Italian, whose presence in the house had not been known. That led to his being moved out of the Counter-Terrorism Center that year, according to various news reports at the time. The choice of D?Andrea to run the CIA?s Iran operations was made by Mike Pompeo, who took a hard line against Iran and the Iran nuclear deal as a Republican congressman before President Donald Trump appointed him to be CIA director in January. Pompeo and D?Andrea could be key to administration attempts to ensure Iran is sticking to its commitments under the nuclear deal, or find violations that would support Trump?s campaign pledge to tear up the agreement. The report Friday also comes after Trump?s trip to Saudi Arabia two weeks ago. The CIA declined to comment on the Times report.
  19. SEOUL: North Korea on Friday accused the CIA of plotting with South Korea to assassinate the isolated country´s leader Kim Jong-Un, amid soaring tensions in the flashpoint region. The CIA and Seoul´s Intelligence Services have "hatched a vicious plot" involving unspecified "biochemical substances" to assassinate the hermit state´s young leader during public ceremonial events in Pyongyang, the Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
  20. Wikileaks has just released a series of documents that details how CIA uses “weaponised” hacking tools that enable them to break into phones and read any content on it including messaging apps. The reason why this is worrying is because it basically renders end-to-end encryption communication completely obsolete. The documents were originally released by hacktivist and whistleblowing organisation “Vault 7” which they claim was sourced through an “isolated, high-security network” at the CIA headquarters. © Reuters This discovery shows us that all these claims of high-end security don’t seem to really work. Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, Signal and countless others are susceptible to cyber attacks and Wikileaks claims that these apps have always been compromised. WhatsApp currently boasts over one billion users worldwide and recently enabled end-to-end encryption due to growing security and privacy concerns raised by their users. Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who has amassed a ton of attention since he leaked critical information on spying methods implemented by the NSA, stated that there is a “much bigger problem”. PSA: This incorrectly implies CIA hacked these apps / encryption. But the docs show iOS/Android are what got hacked - a much bigger problem. https://t.co/Bw9AkBpOdt — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 7, 2017 According to the documents, the CIA is currently targeting iOS and Android devices, which would basically cover 97 percent of all smartphones that exist in the world. Wikileaks also alleges that the agency has a sophisticated unit that use malware to “infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.” © Pexels However, in a recent statement released by Apple, the company explains that they have already patched most of the vulnerabilities that were mentioned by Wikileaks. The documents claimed around 14 exploits that were ever present on iOS devices, which could essentially put these devices at risk as the CIA could monitor communications, track users and even take control of their phones. Apple stated that, “while our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS,” the statement reads, “[Apple] will continue work to rapidly address any identified vulnerabilities. We always urge customers to download the latest iOS to make sure they have the most recent security updates,”