WikiLeaks on Thursday released 287 documents of what it called “the Spy Files,” a trove of files exposing the reach of the global surveillance industry.
The documents – brochures, manuals, catalogs and other literature – offer a glimpse into the clandestine world of spying technology used by governments and the companies that supply them.
While some of the information was previously published in a Wall Street Journal piece about the burgeoning retail market for surveillance tools, Thursday's release in conjunction with six other organizations paints a composite of just how difficult it is for the world's citizens to truly protect their privacy.
A Virginia man has been charged for his alleged role in spying on Syria protesters in the United States, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.FULL STORY
It seems that every couple of months, sexy Russian spy Anna Chapman comes up with a new gig. Well, here we go again:
Chapman, by far the most famous member of the 10 Russian "sleeper" spies discovered and booted out of the United States last year, this month became editor of Venture Business News magazine, according to Bloomberg News.
She said she hoped to use the position at the magazine - which has an English-language version - to connect investors with innovators.
"Hopefully we will contribute" to the growth of Russia's tech industry, she told Bloomberg.
According to Forbes' Julia Ioffe, Chapman "will seduce everyone into believing that the Russian investment climate ... is ideal for nurturing highly cost-intensive, risky technology start-ups that need serious nurturing."
Ioffe says Chapman should do well. After all, Ioffe writes, "she has worked [at an investment bank] for all of eight months at a job so intensive that she has had time to shoot a full season of a really strange show for Russian TV."
Hackers traced to China penetrated two key Canadian economic ministries, gaining access to highly classified information, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports.
The hackers took over computers in the executive offices of the Finance Department and the Treasury Board, unnamed sources told the network. They then sent fake e-mails to government computer techs and other employees to get them to divulge sensitive passwords in a technique known as executive spear-phishing.
Canadian federal officials disabled the two departments' internet connections for a time to halt any loss of data, CBC reported.
It isn't clear whether other departments were breached or how much data was stolen. Government officials aren't talking about the attack, which occurred in January.
The source of the hack was traced to servers in China, but that doesn't mean the hackers were Chinese, the sources told CBC. They could have routed their paths through China to hide their identities, the sources said.
The pattern of the attack mirrors the GhostNet blitz that hacked 100 other governments in March, according to the tech publication The Register.
Will Assange be extradited? – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returns to court in London. He's fighting extradition to Sweden, where he's wanted for questioning in a sex crimes investigation. The 39-year-old Australian has repeatedly said he is innocent and is confident he will be exonerated. He has not been charged with a crime.
Assange's lawyers have said Swedish prosecutors are attempting to discredit him because of his work with WikiLeaks, which published reams of classified government intelligence last year. The attorneys speculated that if Assange were extradited, Sweden could hand him to the U.S., which could charge him with espionage, leading to his confinement in Guantanamo Bay prison and his execution. The proceeding in London should wrap up today.
Protesters in peril? – There have been no reports of gunfire in Cairo, Egypt, today, but Middle East expert Fouad Ajami cautions that that is no indication protesters are safe. He says this is the most dangerous phase of the conflict for protesters because many of their identities are known to security services. If President Hosni Mubarak's administration survives, people speaking against Mubarak could face severe consequences, he says. Ajami is a professor of Middle East studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, the White House's position toward Egypt appears to be changing, and details are surfacing of abuse that journalists have suffered while trying to cover the protests. See CNN.com's full coverage of the crisis.
Toyota report due – A report is expected today about the government's 10-month investigation into sudden acceleration problems in Toyota cars and trucks. The Department of Transportation and scientists from NASA conducted the study at the request of Congress, following a string of consumer claims that Toyota cars and SUVs accelerated out of control.
Iran has hanged a man convicted of spying for Israel and also executed another man who was a member of a government opposition group, state-run media reported Tuesday.
The executions took place at Tehran's Evin Prison at dawn Tuesday.
Ali-Akbar Siadat was sentenced to death for working as a spy for Israeli intelligence. The Islamic Republic News Agency said Siadat admitted to transferring information to Israel over several years in exchange for $60,000.FULL STORY
The Argentine Football Association president is at the center of widespread allegations of FIFA corruption after soccer’s governing body awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
Grondona has emphatically denied the allegations, telling the Argentine new outlet Telam, “There has to be an end to playing with my good name,” according to ESPN.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a former employee of Qatar’s bid team said that an adviser recommended the Qatar Football Association pay $78.4 million to help the Argentine Football Association cope with a financial crisis. The payment reportedly was meant to help Qatar’s relationship with Grondona, who is on FIFA’s executive committee, which determines host cities.
According to ESPN, Grondona questioned why the Argentine group would have a debt so large and further told Telam, “I am not going to give any credence to whatever people say. The fact is the AFA has a solid contract with the Argentine government, and it is all going quite well.”
This allegation, of course, is not the first involving corruption by FIFA officials. BBC’s "Panorama" aired an investigation last month in which “reporter Andrew Jennings exposes new evidence of bribery, and accuses some executives of taking kickbacks.”
You have only to Google “FIFA World Cup bribe” to find a slew of allegations.
It’s worth noting that no FIFA official has been charged with any wrongdoing, and though many commenters have angrily vented about their country not being selected, few such complaints seem to originate in Russia or Qatar.
Russia’s Anna Chapman may be the highest-profile spy since Valerie Plame – except, of course, Plame didn’t seek out the spotlight.
Chapman, who was ousted from the United States this summer in a spy swap with her homeland, will appear in her underwear in Russia’s version of Maxim, a popular men’s magazine.
According to Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti, Chapman will appear on the magazine’s cover armed with a revolver and wearing nylon and lace. A photo on the Russian Maxim website shows her sitting on a red couch with two shooting targets in the background.
A trailer for the issue comes off like an ad for a cheesy James Bond action flick, except with more exposed breast and buttock – if you can imagine.
What's a Russian prime minister to do when welcoming back 10 agents who were expelled by the United States? Sing a few patriotic songs with them, of course.
Ten agents whom the United States expelled this month after accusing them of spying recently met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. At the meeting, Putin joined the 10 in singing to live music, CNN confirmed Wednesday.
Among the songs they sang was "From Where the Motherland Begins," Putin told reporters, according to a transcript published on his website late last week.
"I am not kidding you. I am quite serious. And other songs of about the same content," Putin said.
The United States and Russia completed a spy swap Friday, exchanging the agents on chartered planes at an airport in Vienna, Austria, a U.S. official and Russian media said.
The planes sat on the ground for about an hour while the swap took place. Neither government confirmed what happened until the planes were on their way back home.
The plane carrying 10 Russian agents, who were expelled from the United States on Thursday for intelligence gathering, landed at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport on Friday afternoon, the airport press office said.
A separate plane carrying four people convicted of spying for the United States took off from Vienna, too, bound for a destination in the West, according to Russia Today, a state television station.
Igor Sutyagin, a Russian scientist jailed for spying for the United States, arrived in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday, Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported, citing his lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya.
Stavitskaya said Sutyagin could be part of a swap involving the suspected Russian spies detained in the United States in late June.
"Igor's father received a phone call at approximately 16:30 Moscow time (8:30 a.m. ET), and he was told that he [Sutyagin] was seen getting off a plane in Vienna," she said, according to Ria Novosti.
A Russian researcher convicted of spying for U.S. intelligence services could be exchanged for one of the suspects in the recent Russian spy scandal in the United States, according to a human rights activist who has spoken with the researcher's mother.
Ernst Chyorny, a member of the Public Committee in Defense of Scientists in Russia, told CNN on Wednesday that the mother of Igor Sutyagin, the convicted Russian spy, told him about the development.
Russia convicted Sutyagin in 2004 for spying for the United States. Chyorny said Sutyagin's mother visited her son at Moscow's Lefortovo prison Wednesday morning where he had been transferred from his prison camp in Russia's northern Archangel region.
Russian spying suspects known as Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills have told investigators that those are not their real identities, according to court documents.
Zottoli says he's a Russian citizen named Mikhail Kutzik, and Mills said she is a Russian citizen said Natalia Pereverzeva.
More details to come
The former husband of alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman said her personality changed after she started having "secretive meetings" with Russian friends a few years ago.
Alex Chapman told The Daily Telegraph newspaper he "hardly knew her anymore" after she became involved with shadowy contacts.
Anna Chapman also confided to her husband that her father, Vasily, had been a senior KGB agent.
"Juan Lazaro", one of the suspects in an alleged Russian spy ring, has admitted that he worked for Russia's intelligence service, according to a bail letter provided by the United States Attorney's office in the Southern District of New York.
The document states Lazaro made a "lengthy post-arrest statement on June 27th," after he waived his Miranda rights, in which he allegedly told federal agents that he was not born in Uruguay, that "Juan Lazaro" is not his real name, that his house in Yonkers had been "paid for by the 'Service' and although he loved his son, he would not violate his loyalty to the 'Service' even for his son."
The document also says "Lazaro," who is married to co-defendant Vicky Pelaez, told agents she delivered letters to the "Service" on his behalf, and that he refused to provide his real name to prosecutors.
"Lazaro" is currently appearing at a detention hearing in a New York Federal Courtroom to determine whether he qualifies for bail.
A suspected Russian spy is "missing" after being arrested in Cyprus and released on bail, a police spokesman told CNN Wednesday.
Authorities arrested Robert Christopher Metsos, 55, in Larnaca after an Interpol "red notice" was served on him, Cypriot police told CNN Tuesday.
He was released on bail pending further proceedings but was told not to leave the country and was ordered to check in with police every evening, police said.
He did not check in Wednesday and police are searching for him, a spokesman said.
– CNN's Claudia Rebaza contributed to this report.
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Here are the latest developments on the arrests of 10 people in the United States and one in Cyprus on allegations that they spied for Russia:
[Updated 12:51 p.m. ET] – The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed on its official website that the people arrested in the USA as part of an alleged spy ring are Russian citizens. The statement said that those arrested did not commit any actions directed towards American interests and asked for a guarantee that they would be guaranteed access to Russian consular officials and lawyers.
– Five more defendants in the Russian spying case have been scheduled to have court hearings Thursday, the Justice Department announced Tuesday. Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley are scheduled to have a detention hearing in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts, while a detention hearing for Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills and Mikhail Semenko will be in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez were already scheduled to have a detention hearing on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan, New York. Anna Chapman had a detention hearing Monday and has no additional hearings scheduled, the Justice Department said, updating earlier information that she would be back in court July 27.
Former Soviet spy Oleg Kalugin, who headed KGB operations in the United States in the 1970s and later left Russia to live in America, told CNN Tuesday he is "amazed" that Moscow is engaging so heavily in espionage against Washington.
Reacting to the recent arrests of 11 alleged Russian spies, Kalugin said that getting the type of information the FBI says the operatives collected "does not require such a massive assault" against the United States.
"I am amazed," he said. "It reminds me of the worst years of the Cold War." FULL POST
A resident of the People's Republic of China has been convicted in San Diego, California, after a four-year investigation and prosecution on charges stemming from his efforts to find equipment to monitor U.S. government and military communications.