OOPS: MI5 joins Instagram to bust martini-drinking stereotypes

British security service MI5 is joining Instagram in a bid to increase transparency and rid itself of “martini-drinking stereotypes”. The account, @mi5official, will host Q&As with serving intelligence officers and promote career opportunities. Urging people to follow the service, MI5 boss Ken McCallum said: “You can insert your own joke about whether we will be following you.” Mr McCallum said “being more open” was key to MI5’s approach to the 2020s. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he admitted joining the platform was “a routine step for most organisations, but more interesting when you’re in the business of keeping secrets.” But he … Continue reading OOPS: MI5 joins Instagram to bust martini-drinking stereotypes

Italian officer caught selling secrets to Russia

An Italian navy officer has been arrested in the act of handing secret documents to a Russian military official, police say. The men were stopped by military police on suspicion of serious crimes relating to espionage and state security. The Russian, who reportedly worked at the Russian embassy in Italy, is expected to be expelled. Russia’s ambassador Sergey Razov has been summoned to the foreign ministry in Rome. The carabinieri military police acted “during a clandestine meeting between the two, caught immediately after the transfer of a document by the Italian officer in exchange for a sum of money,” a … Continue reading Italian officer caught selling secrets to Russia

Russia suspected of stealing thousands of State Department emails

Suspected Russian hackers stole thousands of State Department officials’ emails last year, according to two Congressional sources familiar with the intrusion, in the second known Kremlin-backed breach on the department’s email server in under a decade. The hackers accessed emails in the department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, the congressional sources said. It does not appear at this point that the classified network was accessed, a third official said. It is not clear whether the theft of State Department emails was part of the SolarWinds espionage campaign, in which Russian hackers … Continue reading Russia suspected of stealing thousands of State Department emails

Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats for suspected espionage

Authorities in Bulgaria have given two Russian diplomats 72 hours to leave the country for alleged espionage. Prosecutors announced on Friday that six people had been arrested on suspicion of spying for Russia, including several defence ministry officials in the European Union and NATO member state. On Monday, they said that “preliminary investigations have shown that two Russian nationals carried out intelligence activity incompatible with diplomatic relations.” The foreign ministry said that two Russian diplomats had been “declared persona non grata and given 72 hours to leave the country”. According to the Bulgarian television station Nova, the diplomats were officers … Continue reading Bulgaria expels two Russian diplomats for suspected espionage

Update: Trials of two Canadians in China ends without verdict

The closely-watched trial of a Canadian businessman accused of espionage has ended in China with no verdict. It is the latest development in what has turned into a diplomatic spat between China and the US and Canada. Michael Spavor was arrested two years ago along with fellow Canadian and former diplomat Michael Kovrig. The detentions came days after Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei, on a US warrant. Canada has accused China of conducting “hostage diplomacy”. Beijing denies the cases are linked. Mr Spavor’s trial, which took place in the northern Chinese city of … Continue reading Update: Trials of two Canadians in China ends without verdict

Canadians held in China on spying charges face trial within days

Two Canadians charged with spying in China are to go on trial in the next few days, Canadian officials have said. Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said they had been notified that hearings for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig would take place on 19 and 22 March. Mr Spavor and Mr Kovrig were arrested more than two years ago. Their detention came shortly after Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei, on a US warrant. Ms Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver and is fighting extradition to the US. She is charged with lying … Continue reading Canadians held in China on spying charges face trial within days

Jailed French tourist in Iran, faces spying charges

A French tourist Benjamin Briere, who was arrested in Iran 10 months ago, faces charges of “spying and propaganda against the system”, one of his lawyers Saeid Dehghan told Reuters on Monday. “On Sunday, March 15, he was charged with two counts of espionage and propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” Dehghan said, adding that Briere faces a long-term jail sentence. Iran’s judiciary was not available to comment. Last month, France’s foreign ministry confirmed that a French citizen was being held in Iran, adding that it was monitoring the situation. Dehghan said the 35-year-old had been arrested after flying a drone … Continue reading Jailed French tourist in Iran, faces spying charges

Germany convicts ex-public employee of spying for Egypt

The man confessed to handing information to the Egyptian intelligence when he worked at Angela Merkel’s press office. A Berlin court has convicted a man of spying for Egypt while working at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s press office prosecutors said on Wednesday. The 66-year-old Amin K., (Not real name) German citizen of Egyptian origin, had worked for the Federal Press Department in Berlin since 1999. He pleaded guilty and was convicted last week, with the court now handing him a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months. Prosecutors told reporters that Amin K. was providing information to Egypt’s General Intelligence … Continue reading Germany convicts ex-public employee of spying for Egypt

Iran tried to recruit freed British-Australian academic as spy

A British-Australian academic, who was jailed in Iran for spying, said the Iranian authorities tried to recruit her as a spy during her detention. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was also kept in solitary confinement for seven months – a form of “psychological torture” she says drove her to consider suicide. She was arrested in Iran in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. But she was released in a swap for three jailed Iranians last November. In an interview with Sky News Australia, Mrs Moore-Gilbert said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps tried to recruit her as a spy “many times” … Continue reading Iran tried to recruit freed British-Australian academic as spy

Developing Story: Russia jails man for eight years for handing over secrets to China

A Russian court sentenced a man to eight years in prison on Thursday after finding him guilty of state treason for allegedly handing over secrets to China, the TASS news agency reported. Vladimir Vasilyev, 52, was arrested in Russia’s eastern Siberian Zabaykalsky region that borders Mongolia and China in August 2019. He pleaded guilty to the charge of treason, TASS said, his trial was held behind closed doors and its details were not made public because of its classified nature. Vasilyev gathered and handed over information that constituted a state secret to China’s intelligence services, TASS cited a law enforcement … Continue reading Developing Story: Russia jails man for eight years for handing over secrets to China

Sweden charges man with spying for Russia

Sweden has charged a 47-year-old man with spying for Russia by selling information for several years to a Russian diplomat. Prosecutor Mats Ljungqvist said in a statement on Monday that the unidentified man had worked as a consultant at several Swedish companies where he had illegally obtained and sold information, placing the country’s security at risk. “While a consultant at his former workplaces, I allege that he obtained material with the purpose of providing information to a foreign power, in this case, Russia,” said Ljungqvist. “The man was apprehended whilst meeting a Russian diplomat where he had just received 27,800 … Continue reading Sweden charges man with spying for Russia

US charges three North Koreans over $1.3bn theft

Three North Koreans have been charged in the US over a scheme to steal and extort more than $1.3bn (£940m) from banks and businesses around the world. The three, who are not in custody, are also accused of deploying malicious cryptocurrency programs. A Canadian-American citizen was also charged with money laundering, the men are also accused of being part of the Wannacry cyber-attack of 2017, which crippled UK health service computer systems on a national scale. Announcing the charges, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, John Demers, said North Korea “has become a criminal syndicate with a flag”. One of … Continue reading US charges three North Koreans over $1.3bn theft