April 2020 Intelligence News
- 'Not Man Made': US Intelligence Debunks Trump's Claims About Coronavirus' 'Artificial' Origins Sputnik 30 Apr 2020 -- US President Donald Trump and his allies have been blaming China for the outbreak of the coronavirus, which has claimed 228,632 lives globally. Trump has also said that his government has initiated an investigation into whether the virus emerged from a Wuhan lab.
- Coronavirus 'Not Man-Made,' US Intelligence Concludes VOA 30 Apr 2020 -- U.S. intelligence agencies are dismissing at least one theory about the origins of the coronavirus, saying evidence shows the virus was not engineered in a Chinese laboratory.
- Intelligence Community Statement on Origins of COVID-19 Director of National Intelligence 30 Apr 2020 -- The Office of the Director of National Intelligence today issued the following Intelligence Community (IC) statement
- ODNI Releases Annual Intelligence Community Transparency Report Director of National Intelligence 30 Apr 2020 -- Today, consistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), as amended (codified in 50 U.S.C. § 1873(b)), and the Intelligence Community's (IC) Principles of Intelligence Transparency, we are releasing our seventh annual Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities presenting statistics on how often the government uses certain national security authorities.
- Russia Calls Prague Poison Plot 'Fabrications' As Spy Drama Deepens RFE/RL 30 Apr 2020 -- Russia's foreign minister has dismissed claims a Russian agent was sent to Prague to poison its mayor and two other city officials as "fabrications," in the highest-level denial yet on an issue that is straining ties between the two countries.
- Alleged Kremlin Poison Plot Highlights Czechs' Russian Spy Problem RFE/RL 30 Apr 2020 -- A suspected Russian intelligence agent was reported to have flown into the Czech capital with a deadly mission.
- Reports: Top Russian FSB General Linked To 2014 MH17 Disaster Over Ukraine RFE/RL 29 Apr 2020 -- Open-source researchers have linked a top general in Russia's main security and intelligence agency to the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine.
- Prague District Mayor Says Russian Agent Sent To 'Liquidate Me' RFE/RL 29 Apr 2020 -- A Prague district mayor says he is under police protection after authorities informed him that he and two other Prague officials, including the city's mayor, were the targets of a Russian agent sent to the Czech capital to "liquidate" them.
- US Down to Just One Open Skies Surveillance Plane as Trump Weighs Treaty Exit Sputnik 29 Apr 2020 -- The US is down to just one of the specially certified OC-135B Open Skies surveillance planes used to participate in the mutual observation treaty. While the Pentagon is willing to upgrade the existing planes, it refuses to order replacements until the Trump administration decides it's not leaving the 1992 treaty, which remains up in the air.
- Trump ignored repeated virus warnings in Jan. and Feb.: US media Press TV 28 Apr 2020 -- President Donald Trump was repeatedly warned about the dangers of the coronavirus in January and February but refused to take action, US media said.
- Amid Czech Claims Of Poisoning Plot, Moscow Says It's Victim Of 'Slander' RFE/RL 28 Apr 2020 -- Russia has rejected as slander a Czech media report of an alleged poisoning plot against Prague officials, including the city's mayor, as the Czech counterintelligence agency refuses to comment on the allegations.
- China denies spreading coronavirus disinformation following EU report Press TV 27 Apr 2020 -- China has rejected claims that it is spreading disinformation about the new coronavirus pandemic that continues to spread rapidly across the globe.
- NATO's Stoltenberg Blasts Chinese, Russian Disinformation About Coronavirus RFE/RL 27 Apr 2020 -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has accused China and Russia of spreading disinformation regarding the organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Israeli army intelligence agents collect info to prevent unrest amid pandemic: Report Press TV 25 Apr 2020 -- Israeli military intelligence agents have reportedly helped the regime's security council collect information on citizens in order to prevent unrest over the handling of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Commissioner Starks On The Possible Revocation Of Us Operating Authority Of Chinese Telecom Carriers FCC 24 Apr 2020 -- Commissioner Geoffrey Starks issued the following statement regarding today's release of orders directing China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, and Pacific Networks and its subsidiary ComNet (USA) LLC, to show cause why their FCC authorizations to operate in the United States should not be revoked
- FCC Scrutinizes Four Chinese Government-Controlled Entities Providing Telecommunications Services In The U.S. FCC 24 Apr 2020 -- The Federal Communications Commission today issued Orders to Show Cause against four companies that are ultimately subject to the ownership and control of the Chinese government: China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks, and ComNet. The Orders direct the companies to explain why the Commission should not start the process of revoking their domestic and international section authorizations enabling them to operate in the United States.
- FCC May Revoke Authorisation of Four Chinese-Controlled Firms to Operate in US Sputnik 24 Apr 2020 -- On 9 April, the Department of Justice said that relevant US agencies had unanimously recommended revoking the authorisations for China Telecom to provide international telecommunications services to and from the United States, citing "substantial and unacceptable" national security risks.
- Report: US Believes China Spread False Information in US About Coronavirus Response VOA 23 Apr 2020 -- U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Chinese operatives helped spread false messages that claimed the Trump administration was planning to impose a nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to The New York Times.
- EU Monitors See Coordinated COVID-19 Disinformation Effort By Iran, Russia, China RFE/RL 22 Apr 2020 -- EU monitors have identified a "trilateral convergence of disinformation narratives" being promoted by China, Iran, and Russia on the coronavirus pandemic and say they are being "multiplied" in a coordinated manner, according to an internal document seen by RFE/RL.
- Senate Intel Releases New Report on Intel Community Assessment of Russian Interference Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 21 Apr 2020 -- "Today, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) released a new report, titled "Review of the Intelligence Community Assessment," the fourth and penultimate volume in the Committee's bipartisan Russia investigation."
- Senate Committee: 'No Reason To Dispute' 2017 U.S. Intelligence Conclusion On Russian Meddling RFE/RL 21 Apr 2020 -- In a bipartisan report, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has reaffirmed its support for the intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election with the goal of helping Donald Trump get elected.
- Press Group Warns of China's Coronavirus Misinformation War Radio Free Asia 21 Apr 2020 -- An international press freedom group has warned of a campaign of coronavirus misinformation by China, which it ranked 177th out of 180 countries in an annual global press freedom index on Tuesday.
- US may scale back CIA presence in Afghanistan to save peace deal Press TV 18 Apr 2020 -- The United States is considering the withdrawal of CIA operatives from bases in Afghanistan, as part of an effort to further reduce violence in the war-ravaged Asian country, according to The New York Times.
- CIA Mulls Slimming Down Afghanistan Presence as Violence Threatens US-Taliban Peace Deal Sputnik 18 Apr 2020 -- In late February, the United States and the Taliban signed a historic agreement aimed at ending America's 18-year-long occupation of Afghanistan and finally stopping the generations-long conflict which has devastated the country for over 40 years. Last week, the Taliban warned that the peace deal is in jeopardy amid ongoing clashes with Kabul.
- US Warned Israel of Coronavirus Outbreak in China in November, but 'Nothing Was Done' - Report Sputnik 17 Apr 2020 -- An earlier ABC News report stated that US intelligence officials had warned the military and White House about the spread of a coronavirus outbreak in China as far back as late November 2019, with the Pentagon denying the "product/assessment" existed.
- Arrested Top Ukrainian Security Officer 'Planned Interior Minister's Assassination' RFE/RL 17 Apr 2020 -- A top security official in Ukraine who was arrested for alleged collaboration with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is suspected in plotting the assassination of Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
- China Push For COVID-19 Praise Backfires in US Amid Rising WHO Criticism Radio Free Asia 16 Apr 2020 -- A campaign by Chinese consular staff to press the legislature of the U.S. state of Wisconsin to pass a resolution praising China's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak – written by China – backfired spectacularly, inspiring a motion that says Beijing "deliberately and intentionally misled the world."
- Chinese state security organs unveil retired official's plot to subvert state power Global Times 16 Apr 2020 -- China's Ministry of State Security has revealed a series of major cases threatening the country's security including one involving a retired official who reached out to foreign enemy forces and plotted to stage terrorist activities in Kunming, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, to subvert state power.
- Russia Claims To Break Up Ukrainian Spy Group In Annexed Crimea RFE/RL 15 Apr 2020 -- Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) claims to have uncovered a Ukrainian intelligence "sabotage and terrorism" group in annexed Crimea that included a female Russian military officer who allegedly divulged "state secrets."
- Ukrainian Spies Trying to Stage Terror Attacks Enlist Russians Detained in Crimea - Security Service Sputnik 15 Apr 2020 -- Russian law enforcers have detained in Crimea a group of Ukrainian intelligence officers recruiting Russians, trying to organise terror attacks and to steal information containing state secrets, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Wednesday.
- Top Ukrainian Security Official Detained For Alleged Collaboration With Russia's FSB RFE/RL 14 Apr 2020 -- The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says one of its top officials has been detained on suspicion of collaborating with Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB).
- NATO Chief: Alliance Has to Fight Propaganda VOA 14 Apr 2020 -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says he has seen examples of propaganda being used during the COVID-19 pandemic to try to divide the alliance.
- Attorney General Barr Issues Guidance to Protect Facilities from Unmanned Aircraft and Unmanned Aircraft Systems US Dept. of Justice 13 Apr 2020 -- "Today, Attorney General William P. Barr issued Guidance to Department of Justice components regarding counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) actions authorized under the Preventing Emerging Threats Act of 2018 (the Act)."
- DOD Works to Eliminate Foreign Coronavirus Disinformation DoD News 13 Apr 2020 -- Under the rubric of "not wasting a good crisis," Russia, China and others are using the coronavirus pandemic to spread disinformation to further their goals, Pentagon officials said.
- US intelligence knew of China's coronavirus outbreak as early as November: Report Press TV 12 Apr 2020 -- US intelligence authorities became aware of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China as early as November 2019, informed sources have revealed, citing a classified report released at the time by the military's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), an arm of the American Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
- UK Spy Agencies Predict More Assertive China Post-Coronavirus - Reports Sputnik 12 Apr 2020 -- Successfully coping with the COVID-19 outbreak in recent months, Beijing set about restarting its massive economy a month ago. The rest of the world, meanwhile, remains on lockdown with economies virtually shut down, and hasn't even begun to play catchup.
- Taiwan Finds Fake Twitter Accounts Tweeting Apologies From 'Taiwanese' to WHO Chief Radio Free Asia 10 Apr 2020 -- Investigators in Taiwan say they have found a number of fake Twitter accounts linked to China posting fake apologies to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has accused the democratic island of involvement in a series of personal and racist attacks against him.
- Chinese netizens pose as Taiwanese to 'apologize' to WHO chief CNA 10 Apr 2020 -- Taiwan's Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said Friday that Chinese posing online as Taiwanese are behind an online campaign to apologize to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who on Wednesday accused Taiwan of involvement in a series of personal attacks against him.
- US Air Force to Upgrade U-2 Spy Plane for Future Battles - Lockheed Martin Sputnik 10 Apr 2020 -- The US Air Force has awarded a $50 million contract to upgrade the U-2 spy plane, which first flew 65 years ago, Lockheed Martins said in a press release on Friday.
- U.S. Air Force Awards Lockheed Martin Avionics Tech Refresh Contract to Advance U-2's Capabilities for the Future Battlespace Lockheed Martin 09 Apr 2020 -- Lockheed Martin Skunk Works continues to evolve the U-2 Dragon Lady to support future battlespace needs under a recent contract award from the U.S. Air Force valued at $50 million.
- 70 percent of fake COVID-19 news from China: Investigation Bureau CNA 08 Apr 2020 -- Taiwan has detected a growing number of cases of disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic since late February, of which more than 70 percent originated from China, according to a recent Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) briefing.
- Ousted US intelligence inspector Atkinson calls on others to defend whistleblowers Press TV 06 Apr 2020 -- Michael Atkinson, the outgoing intelligence community inspector general fired by President Donald Trump on Friday, has called on others to speak out and defend whistleblowers.
- Fired Inspector General 'Saddened' by Trump Move VOA 06 Apr 2020 -- The intelligence community inspector general who alerted Congress to a whistleblower complaint about President Donald Trump's contacts with Ukraine says he is "disappointed and saddened" that Trump removed him from office.
- Trump defends firing of 'terrible' top intelligence watchdog Press TV 05 Apr 2020 -- US President Donald Trump has defended his decision to fire the top watchdog of the intelligence community, calling Michael Atkinson a "total disgrace" for the way he handled a whistleblower complaint that led to the president's impeachment.
- Trump Suggests Intelligence Watchdog Was Fired For Sharing Whistle-Blower Complaint RFE/RL 05 Apr 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters on April 4 that the inspector-general of the intelligence community he fired the previous day had taken "a fake report and took it to Congress with an emergency," lending weight to accusations that the dismissal was retaliation connected to Trump's congressional impeachment over pressure he put on Ukraine.
- Trump Calls Fired Intelligence Watchdog 'A Disgrace' VOA 05 Apr 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump says the intelligence community watchdog that he fired late Friday was "a disgrace."
- Trump decapitating US intelligence leadership in national crisis, says top Democrat Press TV 04 Apr 2020 -- US President Donald Trump is "decapitating" the US intelligence forces amid the coronavirus outbreak that is causing a "national crisis," says a top Democrat.
- Trump Says Fired Intelligence Community IG 'Did a Terrible Job', Calls Him 'Disgrace to IGs' Sputnik 04 Apr 2020 -- Fired IG Michael Atkinson was the one who alerted the US Congress of a whistleblower complaint that ultimately set off the impeachment proceedings against President Trump that lasted from September 2019 to February 2020.
- Trump Fires Intelligence Official Involved In Impeachment Probe RFE/RL 04 Apr 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump has fired the intelligence official who handled the whistle-blower complaint involving aid to Ukraine that triggered Trump's impeachment.
- Trump Removes Intel Watchdog Who Revealed Whistleblower Complaint That Led to Impeachment VOA 04 Apr 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump has removed the U.S. intelligence community watchdog from office.
- Donald Trump to Fire Inspector Who Defied Him on Whistleblower Complaint - Reports Sputnik 04 Apr 2020 -- Last year, Michael Atkinson notified the US Congress that he'd receiving a complaint from an intelligence officer concerning the July telephone conversation between the US President and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. The content of the conversation ultimately became the reason for the impeachment proceedings against Trump.
- Iran Accuses US Diplomats of Staging Coups, Arming Terrorists Amid Spat Over Slain Journalist Sputnik 04 Apr 2020 -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of using "agents of terror" disguised as diplomats to carry out assassinations and engage in bomb plots across Europe on Thursday amid reports citing US intelligence that an Iranian hit squad was behind the death of a dissident Iranian journalist in Turkey late last year.
- Iran hits back at Pompeo over alleged assassination attempt in Turkey Press TV 04 Apr 2020 -- Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman has lashed out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for accusing "Iranian diplomats" of involvement in an alleged "assassination" in Turkey last November.
- Twitter Removes Thousands Of Accounts 'Promoting' Serbian Ruling Party RFE/RL 02 Apr 2020 -- Twitter says it has removed more than 8,000 fake accounts allegedly linked to Serbia's ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) and its leader, President Aleksandar Vucic.
- Report: Iran 'Directly Involved' In Killing Of Iranian Dissident In Turkey, U.S. Believes RFE/RL 02 Apr 2020 -- A senior U.S. official has told Reuters that Washington believes agents under the direction of Tehran were "directly involved" in the killing of an Iranian dissident in November in Turkey.
- German FM Warns NATO of 'Disinformation' During Coronavirus Crisis VOA 02 Apr 2020 -- Germany's foreign minister Thursday warned NATO members against taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to spread "disinformation," "propaganda" and "fake news."
- Trump Ally Accuses WHO of 'Spreading Chinese Propaganda' as Beijing Blasts West's Cover-Up Claims Sputnik 01 Apr 2020 -- China has dismissed as 'nonsense' recent media reports about its alleged attempts to cover up the true scale of fatalities in Hubei – the province where the COVID-19 outbreak began late last year.
- Classified White House Intel Briefing Claims China Underreported COVID-19 Lethality – Report Sputnik 01 Apr 2020 -- US and Chinese officials began hurling accusations at one another over the genesis of the new coronavirus last month, with Western media and some officials now accusing the People's Republic of attempting to "cover up" the pandemic. China has rejected the suggestion, accusing the US and its allies of spouting "utter nonsense."
- Ukraine Says It Uncovered Spy Channel Between Naval Officer, Russia's FSB RFE/RL 01 Apr 2020 -- Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) says it has breached an espionage communication channel between a high-ranking Ukrainian naval officer and staff from Russia's main spy agency, the FSB, in the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula.
- EU Monitor: Russia, China Sow Distrust In West Through Coronavirus Disinformation RFE/RL 01 Apr 2020 -- Russia and China continue to deploy a campaign of disinformation around the coronavirus outbreak that could have "harmful consequences" for public health around the world, according to a report published by the EU's foreign-policy arm.
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