October 2020 Intelligence News
- Spain Investigates Russian Links to Catalan Separatists VOA 29 Oct 2020 -- Russian agents offered military aid to Catalan separatists at the height of their failed bid to break away from Spain in 2017, according to a judicial investigation in Spain.
- Chinese Energy Company, U.S. Oil & Gas Affiliate and Chinese National Indicted for Theft of Trade Secrets US Dept. of Justice 29 Oct 2020 -- A federal grand jury has returned an indictment alleging corporate entities conspired to steal technology from a Houston-area oil & gas manufacturer, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick and Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the Department of Justice's National Security Division.
- Taiwan Company Pleads Guilty to Trade Secret Theft in Criminal Case Involving PRC State-Owned Company US Dept. of Justice 28 Oct 2020 -- The Department of Justice today announced that United Microelectronics Corporation, Inc. (UMC), a Taiwan semiconductor foundry, pleaded guilty to criminal trade secret theft and was sentenced to pay a $60 million fine, in exchange for its agreement to cooperate with the government in the investigation and prosecution of its co-defendant, a Chinese state-owned-enterprise.
- FBI Arrests Five People in China's 'Operation Fox Hunt' VOA 28 Oct 2020 -- The FBI arrested five people Wednesday in connection with a scheme to force a former Chinese municipal official and his family residing in the United States to return to China, as part of China's "Operation Fox Hunt" anti-corruption campaign.
- Eight Individuals Charged With Conspiring to Act as Illegal Agents of the People's Republic of China US Dept. of Justice 28 Oct 2020 -- PRC Officials Directed Multi-Year Campaign of Harassment and Stalking; Directed at U.S. Residents to Force Their Return to PRC
- Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers Delivers Remarks Announcing People's Republic of China Related Arrests US Dept. of Justice 28 Oct 2020
- FBI Director Christopher Wray's Remarks at Press Conference Regarding China's Operation Fox Hunt FBI 28 Oct 2020 -- FBI Director Christopher Wray delivered the following remarks during a press conference at the Department of Justice announcing charges against eight defendants in connection with their roles in a campaign to harass, stalk, and coerce certain residents of the U.S. to return to the People's Republic of China as part of a global, concerted, and extralegal repatriation effort known as Operation Fox Hunt. (Remarks as delivered)
- Designation of the National Association for China's Peaceful Unification (NACPU) as a Foreign Mission of the PRC US Dept. of State 28 Oct 2020 -- The United Front Work Department (UFWD) is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organ tasked with co-opting and neutralizing threats to the party's rule and spreading its influence and propaganda overseas. The CCP regards this party apparatus as a "magic weapon" to advance Beijing's policies.
- Trump to fire Esper, Haspel, Wray if he wins 2020 race: Sources Press TV 26 Oct 2020 -- US President Donald Trump has list of top intelligence officials that he will reportedly fire if he wins reelection in the presidential race.
- Hong Konger involved in 'following' democracy activists deported CNA 25 Oct 2020 -- A Hong Konger who employed private investigators to follow and photograph Hong Kong activists in Taiwan was deported on Sunday after his residency permit was revoked by the National Immigration Agency (NIA).
- Snowden Does Not Intend to Return to US Until Charges Against Him Dropped, Lawyer Confirms Sputnik 23 Oct 2020 -- US whistleblower Edward Snowden does not intend to return to the United States from Russia until all charges against him have been dropped, his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told Sputnik on Thursday.
- China Reports Spike in US Surveillance Flights VOA 23 Oct 2020 -- A reported spike in U.S. military flights over the seas near China reflects Washington's drive to understand and deter Chinese expansion in contested waters, analysts say.
- China vows countermeasures as US labels more Chinese media as 'foreign missions' Global Times 22 Oct 2020 -- China will make a justifiable and necessary response to the US decision to designate six more Chinese media as "foreign missions," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Thursday.
- Whistle-Blower Snowden Reportedly Granted Permanent Residency By Russia RFE/RL 22 Oct 2020 -- Russian media says U.S. whistle-blower Edward Snowden has been granted permanent residency by the government.
- Snowden Receives Permanent Residence Permit in Russia, Lawyer Says Sputnik 22 Oct 2020 -- In late September, CNN reported citing court records that former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked intelligence secrets in 2013, had agreed to pay the US government more than $5 million earned from his book "Permanent Record" and speeches given.
- US Designates 6 More China-based Propaganda Outlets as Foreign Missions VOA 21 Oct 2020 -- The United States has designated six additional China-based propaganda outlets as foreign missions, the newest push to counter communist propaganda.
- 1AD drone operators test new Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Army News 21 Oct 2020 -- Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TUAS) operators from the 1st Armored Division (1AD) are wrapping up operational testing of the new RQâ€“7B Shadow Block III system here while exploiting their operational skills.
- Retired military officer detained for passing intel to China (update) CNA 21 Oct 2020 -- The Taipei District Court on Wednesday afternoon granted a prosecutors' motion to detain a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former MIB officials.
- Department of Defense Releases 2020 Military Intelligence Program Budget DoD 21 Oct 2020 -- The Department of Defense released today the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) appropriated top line budget for FY 2020. The total MIP budget, which included both the base budget and Overseas Contingency Operations appropriations, was $23.1 billion and is aligned to support the National Defense Strategy.
- NSA alleging China involved cyber theft is an irony in the extreme: FM spokesperson Global Times 21 Oct 2020 -- A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday that it is indeed ironic that the US National Security Agency (NSA), as the main implementer of the PRISM program and the world's largest cyber espionage agency, publicly accuses other countries of cyber espionage.
- Designation of Additional PRC Propaganda Outlets as Foreign Missions US Dept. of State 21 Oct 2020 -- Over the past decade, and particularly under General Secretary Xi Jinping's tenure, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has asserted greater control over China's state-backed propaganda outlets while trying to disguise them as independent news agencies.
- Kremlin slams Western accusations of cyber attacks Global Times 21 Oct 2020 -- Western attempts to blame the Russian special services for cyber attacks are rooted in "frenzied Russophobia," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday.
- Elliott Broidy Pleads Guilty for Back-Channel Lobbying Campaign to Drop 1MDB Investigation and Remove a Chinese Foreign National US Dept. of Justice 20 Oct 2020 -- Elliott Broidy, 63, of Beverly Hills, California, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
- DNI Releases Appropriated Budget Figure for 2020 National Intelligence Program Director of National Intelligence 21 Oct 2020 -- Congress appropriated an aggregate amount of $62.7 billion to the National Intelligence Program (NIP) for Fiscal Year 2020. This amount includes funding to support overseas contingency operations.
- FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich's Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Cyber-Related Indictment of Six Russian Intelligence Officers FBI 19 Oct 2020 -- FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich delivered the following remarks during a press conference in Washington, D.C., with other Department of Justice officials announcing charges against six members of the GRUâ€”Russia's military intelligence agencyâ€”in connection with the worldwide deployment of destructive malware and other disruptive actions. (Remarks as delivered)
- US Accusations Against Russian Intel of Cyberattacks Due to Pre-Election Situation - MFA Sputnik 20 Oct 2020 -- On Monday, the US Department of Justice indicted six Russians, allegedly linked to state agency GRU, in relation to hacking attacks conducted in the US, Ukraine, South Korea and France in the past few years.
- Russian Embassy Says Hacking Accusations Coming From US Have 'Nothing to Do With Reality' Sputnik 20 Oct 2020 -- The Russian Embassy in Washington has refuted US claims of alleged Russian involvement in a major cyber attack targeting officials and various large-scale events, with an embassy representative telling Sputnik that Russia has no intention to engage in destabilizing operations.
- U.S. indicts six Russian military intelligence officers for cyberattacks People's Daily 20 Oct 2020 -- The United States on Monday announced an indictment of six Russian military intelligence officers relating to several cyberattacks worldwide.
- United States Charges Russian Military Intelligence Officers for Cyber Crimes US Dept. of State 19 Oct 2020 -- The criminal charges the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced today against six officers of the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate's (GRU) Military Unit 74455 highlight once again Russia's continuing disruptive, destructive, and destabilizing activities in cyberspace.
- Six Russian GRU Officers Charged in Connection with Worldwide Deployment of Destructive Malware and Other Disruptive Actions in Cyberspace US Dept. of Justice 19 Oct 2020 -- Defendants' Malware Attacks Caused Nearly One Billion USD in Losses to Three Victims Alone; Also Sought to Disrupt the 2017 French Elections and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games
- Six Russian GRU Officers Charged in Connection with Worldwide Deployment of Destructive Malware and Other Disruptive Actions in Cyberspace US Dept. of Justice 19 Oct 2020
- U.S. Charges Six Russian Military Officers With 'Destructive' Global Hacking Campaign RFE/RL 19 Oct 2020 -- The United States has charged six Russian military officers with a "destructive," global criminal cyber-campaign that included the worldwide distribution of destructive malware and attempts to undermine the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine.
- US Charges Six Russian Military Officers in Global Cyberattacks VOA 19 Oct 2020 -- U.S. prosecutors on Monday announced charges against six Russian military intelligence officers in connection with a global computer hacking campaign that targeted the 2017 French presidential election and the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, and carried out other high-profile cyberattacks.
- UK exposes series of Russian cyber attacks against Olympic and Paralympic Games UK FCDO 19 Oct 2020 -- Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemns malicious cyber activity by Russia's GRU.
- Giuliani contacted Russian agents to get information on Biden: Report Press TV 17 Oct 2020 -- US President Donald Trump's personal attorney has contacted Russian agents to obtain intelligence to help him win the 2020 presidential election.
- Mainland blasts DPP for distorting facts of espionage cases Global Times 16 Oct 2020 -- The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Friday blasted the mainland affairs council on the island of Taiwan for distorting facts of recently revealed espionage cases in an ill attempt to deflect responsibility and blame the mainland.
- Turkey arrests suspected spy for UAE Press TV 16 Oct 2020 -- Turkey has arrested a man suspected of spying on foreign Arab nationals for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- Five Eyes Defence Ministers' Meeting â€“ Press Release DoD 15 Oct 2020 -- Canada's Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, chaired a videoconference of defence ministers from the Five Eyes nations - Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, on 15-16 October. New Zealand was represented by a senior official, due to the New Zealand general election.
- Report: COVID-19 Used As Pretext To Crack Down On Internet Freedom RFE/RL 14 Oct 2020 -- Internet freedom has declined for the 10th consecutive year as governments around the world are using the coronavirus pandemic as a "cover" to expand online surveillance, crack down on dissent, and build new technological systems to control society, Freedom House says in a new report.
- Report Tracks How Governments Fighting COVID Are Increasing Surveillance VOA 14 Oct 2020 -- Governments around the world have used the COVID-19 pandemic as their reason for expanding digital surveillance and collecting more data from their citizens, according to a report published Wednesday.
- China Is Biggest Long-Term Threat to Britain, Says UK Spy Chief VOA 14 Oct 2020 -- The head of Britain's domestic spy agency outlined Wednesday a cauldron of threats the country is facing, including from Islamist militancy to rising right-wing extremism, but he emphasized the biggest long-term challenge is presented by China.
- MI5 boss: UK faces a 'nasty mix' of terror and espionage threats Press TV 14 Oct 2020 -- In his first public address since becoming the Director General of the Security Service (MI5), Ken McCallum has talked about a growing threat from violence by terror groups and espionage by foreign intelligence services.
- Two more alleged Taiwanese spies 'confess' on China's CCTV CNA 14 Oct 2020 -- Two more Taiwanese nationals found guilty by Chinese courts of spying for Taiwan's government made public "confessions" on Chinese state television Tuesday night.
- Accusing China of interfering in US policy via think tanks shows US politicians' hypocrisy, weakness: Chinese FM Global Times 14 Oct 2020 -- In response to the US Department of State's accusation that the Chinese government is trying to interfere with US foreign policy through think tanks, Chinese FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Wednesday stressed that cultural and people-to-people exchanges between Chinese and US think tanks are transparent and legal, and the accusation reveals certain US politicians' hypocrisy and weakness.
- US State, Education Officials Call For Review of Confucius Institutes Radio Free Asia 13 Oct 2020 -- The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has called on the country's higher education sector to reconsider their partnerships with cultural and language-teaching institutes run and partly funded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
- On Transparency and Foreign Funding of U.S. Think Tanks US Dept. of State 13 Oct 2020 -- The Department of State maintains close ties with the academic community, think tanks, and various external sources of expertise in foreign affairs to advance the interests of the United States.
- Taiwan Slams China's Televised 'Confessions' by Its Nationals Radio Free Asia 13 Oct 2020 -- Taiwan hit out on Tuesday at the airing on Chinese state TV of "confessions" by two of its nationals accused by Beijing of spying for the democratic island.
- Taiwan condemns China as another alleged Taiwanese spy 'confesses' CNA 13 Oct 2020 -- Taiwan on Tuesday condemned China for forcing another Taiwanese national accused by Beijing of spying for Taiwan's government to publicly "confess" on Chinese state television the previous day.
- Taiwan spies use cross-Straits exchanges, mainland think tank meetings to gather intelligence: sources Global Times 13 Oct 2020 -- Taiwan's separatist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has increased its intelligence gathering activities against the Chinese mainland. Sources with the state security agency of the mainland told the Global Times that two Taiwan spies have been detained in the mainland for providing intelligence about mainland officials, think tank experts and journalists to Taiwan intelligence agencies, and for prying the mainland's internal documents.
- Exposing Taiwan spying a warning, not a prelude to war: observers Global Times 13 Oct 2020 -- Three consecutive days of media exposure of hundreds of espionage cases involving spies from the island of Taiwan serves to warn Taiwan separatist forces, rather than a prelude to the use of force in efforts to reunify Taiwan with the mainland, observers said on Tuesday.
- Calls to insert backdoors in encrypted apps expose Five Eyes Alliance's double standards: FM Global Times 13 Oct 2020 -- "Isn't this a typical double standard?" Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian asked at a scheduled press conference on Tuesday, responding to news that the Five Eyes alliance, along with government representatives from India and Japan, had demanded tech companies insert "backdoors" in encrypted apps to allow law enforcement agencies the access.
- Department of Justice Forecasts an Increase in Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) Protection Activities and Criminal Enforcement Actions US Dept. of Justice 13 Oct 2020 -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) today announced the protection activities undertaken by the FBI to counter the threat posed by Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) at certain National Special Security Events (NSSEs), Special Events Assessment Rating (SEAR) events, and select mass gatherings throughout the country over the past fiscal year.
- Taiwan spy used Europe academic post to infiltrate mainland, harm China-Europe ties: sources Global Times 12 Oct 2020 -- Sources in the Chinese mainland's state security agency recently provided details to the Global Times of the case against a Taiwan spy who used his academic post in Europe as a cover to collect intelligence, recruit mainland personnel to become Taiwan spies, and sow discord between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and other nations.
- Russia Expels Two Bulgarian Diplomats In Tit-For-Tat Move RFE/RL 12 Oct 2020 -- Russia says it is expelling two Bulgarian diplomats, nearly three weeks after two staff at the Russian Embassy in Sofia accused of military espionage were told to leave.
- Russia Expels Two Bulgarian Diplomats Sputnik 12 Oct 2020 -- Bulgaria announced in late-September that it had moved to expel two Russian diplomats, claiming they could be involved in spying activities in the Balkan country.
- International Statement: End-To-End Encryption and Public Safety US Dept. of Justice 11 Oct 2020 -- "We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security."
- State security agency uncovers hundreds of Taiwan espionage activities against mainland Global Times 11 Oct 2020 -- Sources with the Chinese mainland's state security agency recently revealed to the Global Times that a member of a Taiwan separatist group who had been arrested in Shenzhen in 2019 for endangering national security spied on the mainland's armed police deployment in Shenzhen, and sent photos and videos he took of the deployment to the Taiwan separatist group.
- Singaporean National Sentenced to 14 Months in Prison for Acting in the United States As an Illegal Agent of Chinese Intelligence US Dept. of Justice 09 Oct 2020 -- Jun Wei Yeo, also known as Dickson Yeo, was sentenced today in federal court to 14 months in prison. Yeo pled guilty on July 24, 2020 to acting within the United States as an illegal agent of a foreign power without first notifying the Attorney General, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Â§ 951.
- Department of Justice Revises Policy Governing Grants Associated with Foreign-Made Unmanned Aircraft Systems US Dept. of Justice 08 Oct 2020 -- The Department of Justice today announced that its Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has issued a revised policy governing the award of grants for the purchase and operation of foreign-made Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The new policy requires grant recipients to utilize OJP funds to procure and operate UAS only in a manner that promotes public safety, protects individuals' privacy and civil liberties, and mitigates the risks of cyber intrusion and foreign influence.
- White House installed Trump's 2016 campaign adviser at key CIA post: Report Press TV 08 Oct 2020 -- The White House reportedly installed a retired major general who served as a 2016 campaign adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump at a senior advisory role at the CIA earlier this year.
- United States Conducts Training to Identify and Respond to Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction for Assassination US Dept. of State 08 Oct 2020 -- This week, the United States conducted a virtual training with key international partners from across the globe to help first responders, scientists, and security officials detect and respond to incidents where the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is suspected as a tool of assassination.
- 'Russian Hitman' Trial Opens In Berlin RFE/RL 07 Oct 2020 -- The trial of a Russian man began on October 7 over the assassination of a former Chechen commander in a Berlin park, allegedly on Moscow's orders.
- Russia Detains Two Brothers Accused Of Passing State Secrets To Estonia RFE/RL 06 Oct 2020 -- Russian authorities say they have detained a serviceman and his brother for having allegedly passed state secrets to neighboring Estonia.
- Facebook Accounts in Line With Beijing's Aims Likely 'Inauthentic': Report Radio Free Asia 02 Oct 2020 -- Accounts serving the aims of the Chinese Communist Party are increasingly taking to Facebook to air "inauthentic content," a new report by an Australian think tank has found.
- Gangster receives 18 months for attempted espionage CNA 01 Oct 2020 -- A known member of the Tian Tao Meng gang who fled to China after being involved in an unlawful death case in Taiwan, and was recruited to spy for Beijing while there, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for attempting to acquire military intelligence by the Taiwan High Court Wednesday.
- United States Obtains Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction Against Edward Snowden US Dept. of Justice 01 Oct 2020 -- On Sept. 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia entered a final judgment and permanent injunction against Edward Snowden, a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA).
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