May 2020 Intelligence News
- India expels two Pakistani officials for alleged espionage Press TV 31 May 2020 -- India has declared two officials of the Pakistan High Commission in the capital New Delhi as persona non grata for "espionage activities", ordering their expulsion amid deepening tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
- Two Pakistani Officials Detained in India Over Espionage-Related Activities Sputnik 31 May 2020 -- Authorities in India have declared two officials personae non grata for what they described as activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within 24 hours.
- On US College Campuses, Student Groups Call for Closure of Beijing-Funded Confucius Institutes VOA 31 May 2020 -- Two of the largest U.S. college campus political organizations are calling for the closure of all Confucius Institutes in the United States, saying the Beijing-funded outposts are part of the Chinese Communist Party's attempt to control discourse on China at American universities.
- Mossad Chief Cohen Flew To Egypt for Secret Talks, Report Says Sputnik 30 May 2020 -- Egypt became the first Arab country to establish relations with Israel in 1979, with the two countries engaging in security cooperation in Sinai, and Cairo occasionally helping to mediate between the Israel and the Palestinians.
- Busted? Pakistan Reportedly Trying to Spy on India's Defence in Ladakh Via Internet Calls Sputnik 30 May 2020 -- India's Ladakh region has recently witnessed tension, along the 4,000 km long Line of Actual Control India shares with China. Earlier this month, China deployed several troops and heavy vehicles to "reclaim authority" over eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley - which escalated border related disputes between the two nations.
- U.S. Republican Senators Release Transcripts Of Flynn's Calls With Russian Diplomat RFE/RL 30 May 2020 -- Transcripts of phone calls that were pivotal to the U.S. investigation of Russia's 2016 election interference have been declassified and released by Republican senators.
- After 3-Plus Years of Wrangling, Transcripts at Heart of Flynn Controversy See Sunlight Senator Grassley 29 May 2020 -- Transcripts of Lt. General Michael Flynn's December 2016 conversations with the Russian ambassador were released today following more than three years of bipartisan requests from Congress and overtures from Flynn's own legal team. Though the transcripts are at the heart of former special counsel Robert Mueller's charges that Flynn had lied to the FBI, they were never made available to his legal team despite repeated requests to evaluate the claim against him.
- US Intelligence Chief Releases Flynn-Kislyak Transcript Sputnik 29 May 2020 -- Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement that he has released the transcript of the December 2016 call between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak.
- DNI Ratcliffe Statement on Declassification of Transcripts Director of National Intelligence 29 May 2020 -- "As the Director of National Intelligence, it is my obligation to review declassification requests with the overarching priority of protecting sources and methods, while also providing transparency whenever possible. Accordingly, today the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declassified transcripts concerning Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn."
- US Democrats in House of Representatives Pull Vote on Surveillance Bill Extension Sputnik 28 May 2020 -- Leading Democrats in the US House of Representatives have pulled a vote to reauthorize three surveillance programs, which the Federal Bureau of Investigation views as a vital tool in defending against terrorism, after President Donald Trump urged lawmakers to oppose the bill.
- House Democrats Withdraw Controversial Surveillance Authorization Bill VOA 28 May 2020 -- U.S. House Democrats cancelled a scheduled vote on a controversial set of surveillance authorization measures Thursday, citing the threat of a presidential veto looming over their efforts to pass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
- Statement by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe Director of National Intelligence 26 May 2020 -- Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe today issued the following statement after taking the oath of office to serve as the sixth DNI in our nation's history
- Trump Loyalist Sworn in as US Director of National Intelligence VOA 26 May 2020 -- More than nine months after U.S. President Donald Trump first floated his name, John Ratcliffe is taking charge of the country's intelligence operations, promising to live up to the U.S. intelligence community mantra of speaking truth to power, despite his reputation as a Trump loyalist.
- Pompeo Blasted by Rep. Eliot Engel for 'Thoughtless' Threat to Cut off Australia From Intel Sharing Sputnik 26 May 2020 -- The US embassy in Australia sought to downplay the statement the top US diplomat made over the weekend, saying Washington had "absolute confidence" in Canberra's ability to protect the security of its telecommunications networks and those of its intelligence partners.
- Russian Prosecutor Seeks Lengthy Prison Term For American On Spying Charges RFE/RL 25 May 2020 -- Russian prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to find former Marine Paul Whelan guilty of espionage -- a charge Whelan and U.S. officials vehemently deny -- and sentence him to 18 years in prison.
- Grenell: Public Misled 'Too Long', Vows to Declassify More Flynn Documents Sputnik 24 May 2020 -- Acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell has announced he's working to declassify transcripts of phone calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Russian ambassador to the UN Sergey Kislyak.
- Johnson considers terminating Huawei role in UK 5G network Press TV 23 May 2020 -- Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is considering terminating the role of Chinese technology giant Huawei's role in the development of the UK's 5G network even before it began.
- FBI Director Orders Internal Review of Investigation Into Ex-Trump Adviser Flynn Sputnik 22 May 2020 -- Christopher Wray, director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, has called for an after-action review of the agency's investigation into former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn.
- Report: Chinese Construction Projects Create Opportunity to Spy on African Leaders VOA 22 May 2020 -- A new report is warning that China may be spying on African government officials from within their own buildings.
- Palestinians Stop Sharing Intelligence With CIA Over West Bank Land Grab Plans Sputnik 22 May 2020 -- Palestinians in the West Bank have ceased all security cooperation with both the United States and Israel, while Palestinian security forces have reportedly withdrawn from most of the West Bank, paving the way for a new spike in violence.
- Acting DNI Grenell Statement on U.S. Intent to Withdraw from Open Skies Treaty Director of National Intelligence 21 May 2020 -- Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell today issued the following statement regarding the United States formally submitting its intent to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty
- U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Disclosure Of Material Gathered In Probe Of Russian Election Interference RFE/RL 21 May 2020 -- The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily prevented the release of secret grand jury testimony gathered during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference that a House committee has sought for months.
- Trump Loyalist Confirmed as Director of National Intelligence VOA 21 May 2020 -- One of U.S. President Donald Trump's most vocal supporters is set to lead the country's intelligence community, overcoming concerns about his experience and a bitter partisan divide to win Senate confirmation.
- Twitter's Hiring of China-Linked AI Expert Sparks Concern Radio Free Asia 20 May 2020 -- Commentators have been raising concerns over Twitter's recent hiring of artificial intelligence (AI) star Fei-Fei Li, who has links to the Chinese Communist Party.
- Parliament Says Intelligence Agencies Brought Losses To Iran's Auto Makers Radio Farda 19 May 2020 -- The Iranian Parliament (Majles) says the existence of several intelligence agencies in Iran has led to corruption and losses in the country's automobile manufacturing industry.
- Senate Intelligence Panel Approves Ratcliffe for National Intelligence Director VOA 19 May 2020 -- The Senate Intelligence Committee approved the nomination Tuesday of Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe for the position of National Intelligence director.
- Republican Marco Rubio Named Acting Chair of Senate Intelligence Committee VOA 19 May 2020 -- Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has been tapped to serve as the acting chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee.
- Russia rejects allegations of spying on Germany's Merkel in 2015 Press TV 15 May 2020 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has rejected claims by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Russian hackers spied on her in 2015.
- Two Months Later, Czech Probe Into Reports Of Russian Ricin Plot Faces Hurdles RFE/RL 15 May 2020 -- On March 14, Andrei Konchakov arrived at Vaclav Havel International Airport on a flight from Moscow. The 34-year-old Russian had lived in the Czech capital for years, and was recently appointed director of two state-run Russian institutions in Prague, giving him diplomatic status.
- India's Investigative Agency Arrests Main Conspirator in Navy Espionage Racket Sputnik 15 May 2020 -- In a major international espionage racket, Pakistani spies recruited agents in the defence establishment of India to collect sensitive and classified information regarding Indian warships, submarines, and data on the location of naval commands. Navy personnel were also accused of spying for Pakistan.
- Former Cleveland Clinic Employee and Chinese "Thousand Talents" Participant Arrested for Wire Fraud US Dept. of Justice 14 May 2020 -- Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman of the Northern District of Ohio, and FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith announced a former Cleveland Clinic employee was arrested yesterday without incident by law enforcement and had his initial court appearance today.
- Trial Begins Of Russian Couple Charged With High Treason Over Wedding Photos RFE/RL 14 May 2020 -- A Russian couple charged with high treason have gone on trial for photographs taken at their wedding five years ago and published online that allegedly revealed the identity of a security operative.
- Senator Burr Quits as Committee Chair Amid Stock Sale Probe VOA 14 May 2020 -- North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr has stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee while the FBI investigates allegations that he sold stocks using inside information about the coronavirus update.
- Senator Richard Burr Steps Down as Intelligence Committee Chair amid FBI Investigation Sputnik 14 May 2020 -- Public disclosures first investigated by ProPublica show the senator sold more than 30 stocks between late January and mid-February. Some of the stocks were in sectors now devastated by the coronavirus outbreak, such as the hotel, restaurant and shipping industries.
- China blasts US accusation of hacking COVID-19 research Press TV 14 May 2020 -- China says the United States is smearing the Asian country after Washington alleged that Chinese hackers were attempting to break into US COVID-19 research on developing a vaccine against the contagious disease.
- Pompeo Calls on China to Stop Attempts to Steal COVID-19 Research Sputnik 14 May 2020 -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned China-affiliated actors of trying to steal research related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and called on Beijing to cease such malicious activity, according to a statement issued on Thursday.
- The United States Condemns Attempts by PRC-Affiliated Actors to Steal American COVID-19 Research US Dept. of State 14 May 2020 -- The United States condemns attempts by cyber actors and non-traditional collectors affiliated with the People's Republic of China (PRC) to steal U.S. intellectual property and data related to COVID-19 research, as announced in a May 13, 2020 warning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
- Capella Space Signs SAR Imagery Contract with the Department of Defense Capella Space 13 May 2020 -- Capella Space will provide on-demand, high-resolution SAR data and analytics for the U.S. Navy
- Text of a Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain The White House 13 May 2020
- Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate The White House 13 May 2020
- People's Republic of China (PRC) Targeting of COVID-19 Research Organizations FBI 13 May 2020 -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are issuing this announcement to raise awareness of the threat to COVID-19-related research. The FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRC-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors.
- FBI and CISA Warn Against Chinese Targeting of COVID-19 Research Organizations FBI 13 May 2020 -- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a public service announcement today warning organizations researching COVID-19 of likely targeting and network compromise by the People's Republic of China (PRC).
- CIA Believes China Tried to Have WHO Delay Global Coronavirus Warning, Report Claims Sputnik 13 May 2020 -- The CIA is the second Western intelligence agency to accuse China of trying to cover up the gravity of the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, German media reported that the federal intelligence service believes Xi Jinping had personally attempted to keep the world unaware of human-to-human virus transmission. Both China and the WHO deny a cover-up.
- Russia Requests Czech Police Protection For Alleged Ricin Trafficker RFE/RL 13 May 2020 -- Russia's embassy in the Czech Republic has formally requested Czech police protection for one of its employees -- a Russian diplomat accused in the Czech media of bringing highly toxic ricin to Prague in an alleged plot to poison three senior municipal officials.
- Judge Puts Hold on Move to Drop Flynn Case VOA 12 May 2020 -- There is another stunning development in the case of President Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
- Judge Expects Outside Parties to Speak on Ex-National Adviser Michael Flynn's Case Sputnik 12 May 2020 -- The order follows the recent announcement of the US Justice Department on 7 May that it was dropping Flynn's case after a comprehensive review of all the facts and circumstances.
- US Plans to Accuse China of Hacking COVID-19 Vaccine Research VOA 11 May 2020 -- For months, U.S. officials have been warning about a spike in cyberattacks during the coronavirus pandemic, but they've stopped short of pointing fingers at any one country.
- US Security Agencies Reportedly to Warn of Chinese Hackers Seeking to Obtain COVID-19 Vaccine Data Sputnik 11 May 2020 -- Previously, the UK and the US issued a joint warning that hackers from a number of foreign states were reportedly seeking to access COVID-19-related data, including on vaccine research, amid closed borders and lockdowns set in place to thwart the spread of the pandemic.
- University of Arkansas Professor Arrested for Wire Fraud US Dept. of Justice 11 May 2020 -- Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, David Clay Fowlkes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch of the FBI Little Rock Field Office announced today that Simon Saw-Teong Ang, 63, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was arrested on Friday, May 8, 2020, on charges related to Wire Fraud.
- Media Out Russian In Alleged Plot To Poison Czech Officials With Ricin RFE/RL 11 May 2020 -- Czech media have identified the man they say is the undercover Russian diplomat who entered the country nearly two months ago with a suitcase containing ricin as part of an alleged plot to poison as many as three Prague officials who had taken actions that angered the Kremlin.
- Barr under pressure for dropping case against Trump ex-adviser, Flynn Press TV 09 May 2020 -- US Attorney General William Barr is coming under pressure for dropping the case against former national security adviser at the Trump administration, Michael Flynn.
- 'Critical Shortcomings': French Foreign Spy Agency Angry at Poor Job Applicants, Report Claims Sputnik 09 May 2020 -- DGSE, France's equivalent to the US Central Intelligence Agency or UK's MI6, is tasked with procuring secret political, military and economic information from foreign targets, and over the past decade has almost doubled in size.
- Cybersecurity Firm Links Chinese Group to Cyber Espionage in Southeast Asia Radio Free Asia 08 May 2020 -- A China-based group has quietly carried out cyber espionage against Southeast Asian governments during the past few years, collecting "specific documents," among other data, from infected computers, a cybersecurity company said in a report.
- German intelligence doubts US theory about Chinese lab origin of COVID-19: report Global Times 08 May 2020 -- Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is having doubts regarding Washington's claims that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory, German magazine Der Spiegel reported. The country's government has not commented on the report yet.
- Media Advocates Urge West to Resist China's Censorship After EU Letter Controversy VOA 08 May 2020 -- Press freedom advocates say China's censorship of a letter co-authored by 27 European Union ambassadors that contained a reference to the origins of the coronavirus is another example of how the lack of press freedom in the country has caused problems for the world.
- US Justice Dept. drops case against Trump's ex-adviser Flynn Press TV 08 May 2020 -- The US Justice Department has dropped its criminal case against President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn after mounting pressure from Trump and his political allies on the right.
- Justice Department Drops Case Against Former Trump Adviser Flynn VOA 07 May 2020 -- The Justice Department on Thursday moved to drop the charges in its long-running criminal case against President Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, ending one of the most politically charged and controversial cases stemming from the now-closed investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
- After Being Delayed by White House for Almost a Year, Transcripts from House Intelligence Committee Russia Investigation Released HPSCI 07 May 2020 -- Transcripts Reaffirm Mueller's Findings That Russia Interfered to Hurt Clinton and Help Trump, the Campaign Invited and Made Full Use of Illicit Russian Help, and Trump Lied to Cover It Up White House Would Not Allow Release of All Transcripts for More Than a Year By Holding Up Declassification Process Until this Week
- US House Intel Releases Trove of Transcripts From Russia Probe Sputnik 07 May 2020 -- The US House Intelligence Committee released a trove of documents related to its investigations of US President Donald Trump potentially having sought help winning elections from outside the US. The tranche includes 57 witness transcripts from the Russiagate and Ukraine scandal probes.
- U.S. Justice Department Dropping Case Against Ex-Trump National-Security Adviser Flynn RFE/RL 07 May 2020 -- The U.S. Justice Department is dropping the criminal charges against former national-security adviser Michael Flynn.
- US Justice Department Drops Criminal Case Against Ex-Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Sputnik 07 May 2020 -- As a result of the Russia probe, Flynn struck a plea deal with the FBI, confessing to willingly lying to the agency about his contacts with Russian ambassador to the US, Sergei Kislyak, in 2016. Flynn later withdrew his plea and successfully fought attempts to sentence him in 2020.
- German Intelligence is Reportedly Among Mediators in Secret Israel-Hamas Swap Talks Sputnik 06 May 2020 -- Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND), a high-ranking Swiss diplomat and a retired Egyptian army general have been mediating between Israel and Hamas on a possible prisoner swap for nearly two years, German newspaper Die Zeit reported Wednesday.
- S Korean National Intelligence Service Says 'No Signs' Kim Jong-un Received Heart Surgery Sputnik 06 May 2020 -- After weeks of Kim Jong Un's absence that caused speculations on his health, the North Korean leader reappeared in public on 1 May alive and well.
- Ukraine's Security Service Says It Detained Russian Agent RFE/RL 06 May 2020 -- The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) says it has detained an alleged spy accused of collecting data on a "modern missile system" on behalf of Russia.
- U.S. Senate Grills Trump's Director Of Intelligence Nominee Over Russia, China, And Partisanship RFE/RL 06 May 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee for director of national intelligence (DNI) at his Senate confirmation hearing said he believed Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was prepared to meddle again.
- Pompeo Says US Intelligence 'Still Figuring Out' Where Coronavirus Began as Trump Blames China Sputnik 06 May 2020 -- The spate of recriminations over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic escalated last week after the US president accused China of 'concealing' the outbreak and mismanaging its containment, going so far as to claim the pandemic was the result of a leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Chinese officials have forcefully denounced the claims.
- Facebook Dismantles IRIB-Linked Disinformation Campaign Radio Farda 06 May 2020 -- The social network Facebook has announced that it has taken down over five hundred Facebook assets that were linked to an IRIB disinformation campaign.
- Facebook Removes Hundreds Of Disinformation Accounts Linked To Russia, Iran, Georgia RFE/RL 05 May 2020 -- Facebook has removed hundreds of social-media accounts - more than half of them based in Russia, Iran, and Georgia - after finding they belonged to networks that were running influence campaigns.
- Trump Nominee to Lead US Intelligence Promises 'Unvarnished Truth' VOA 05 May 2020 -- More than eight months after he was first tapped to lead U.S. intelligence efforts, Congressman John Ratcliffe repeatedly pledged to skeptical lawmakers that he would abandon partisan politics and provide the president and top policymakers the "unvarnished truth," no matter what they wanted to hear.
- Taiwan's intelligence head grilled over Kim Jong-un health remark CNA 04 May 2020 -- Taiwan's intelligence chief has defended his widely cited assessment last Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was sick a day before the dictator made an appearance at a May Day celebration.
- U.S. intelligence analysts concerned over Trump officials' pressure to link coronavirus with Chinese lab: media People's Daily 01 May 2020 -- Some U.S. intelligence analysts have expressed concern that senior Trump administration officials' pressure to link the coronavirus with a Chinese lab will distort assessments about the virus and they could be used as a political weapon, The New York Times said in a report on Thursday.
- Trump says virus may have originated in China lab, threatens tariffs Press TV 01 May 2020 -- US President Donald Trump has threatened China with new tariffs amid the coronavirus outbreak he blames Beijing for.
- Trump Says Intelligence Points to COVID-19's Origins in Chinese Lab VOA 01 May 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump says he has a "high degree of confidence" the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese laboratory, going beyond a rare, public assessment issued hours earlier by his top intelligence agency.
- Trump Claims Former National-Security Adviser Flynn 'Exonerated' RFE/RL 01 May 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a fresh wave of criticism against U.S. law enforcement agents as lawyers for his former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, disclosed internal FBI documents in their attempt to have Flynn's criminal conviction overturned.
- Behind Russia's Coronavirus Fight, a Surveillance State Blooms VOA 01 May 2020 -- In the age of COVID-19, where does the line between security, privacy, and freedom lie?
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