FBI Operation Ghost Stories arrested 11 people back in 2010. https://vault.fbi.gov/ghost-stories-russian-foreign-intellig...
What I'm wondering is: how many other agents are out there and haven't been caught yet? Or were here and left without being caught?
I wonder if this type of agent is still in active use, in the sense of seeding more of them. Given the arrests just 7 years ago, I'd guess so. But perhaps not, since hacking and electronic surveillance can be so effective. You don't necessarily need an agent within a country's borders to penetrate a lot of their networks, email, and other communications.
But you never know ... what lengths would Russia go to to get an agent TS/SCI clearance and access to a SCIF?
What are the chances of an agent being hired and then promoted to have access to an SCI file you're interested in?
It seems a pretty poor bet compared to turning individuals already in relevant positions.
Much easier to get your person into an IT position. Edward Snowden gained access to more secret documents than almost any individual person in the NSA. Get your infiltrator into the IT department and then help them with hacker tools and zero day exploits needed to extract data. Who knows how often this technique has already been used already.
I think the chances are higher if you expand the realm of interest to industrial espionage.
So I guess I can recommend that as a trigger... (Someone with a mission would have kept quiet, I think.)
If interested, I recommend "The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB".
There was a post-Cold War defection of an individual (Mitrokhin) who worked for the KGB in their archives and provided a large trove of intelligence. A researcher (Christopher Andrew) collaborated with him to produce 2 books, which included a large amount of data about the Soviet "illegals" programs.
It's often going to just be more effective to bribe and blackmail people with access, rather than hope your illegals have successful careers and gain the right access.
The article refers to that; in fact it's how this agent was identified:
Barsky had in fact been trailed for several years
by the FBI. His name had been discovered in files
copied from KGB archives by Vasili Mitrokin, an
archivist who walked into the British embassy in
Riga in 1991 to offer up his secrets.
The TV series Deutchland 83 is also well worth watching for a snappy spy drama about a young man from East Germany being coerced into being a double agent.
Would definitely recommend it if you liked Deutschland 83.
I wonder what might have become of him had he become a chemist. Nothing remarkable, maybe. Might have been even more mundane than the reality of spycraft.
For what it's worth, he managed to accomplish several 'lifes' in just one lifetime.
The Americans is a cool show, but the real life illegals could not fool anyone.
These days Russia probably has no need for this type of presence, since there are enough Russians living in the US and enough of them support Putin that a small percentage may choose to work as spies. Same for China.
Another interesting detail that came out of the 2010 illegal bust was that America is so diverse and people are so respectful of privacy, that one of the spies was doing just fine with an American name ("Jack Ryan" or "Patric Foley" or something like), fully American "legend" and a heavy Russian accent. People wondered but nobody asked any questions.
P.S. And who needs spies when you can have a whole administration? :)
Accent reduction does not work for everyone (see e.g. Bela Lugosi), but its success rate is much better than what your post would suggest.
Three of the 2010 illegals (Chapman, Mills and Zottoli) had Russian accents. Their neighbors knew that they were Russian, and said that they never tried to conceal their national background. On the other hand, nobody could tell that Heathfield and Foley weren't real Americans.
And of course a journo is going to try and use current events to shoehorn in a half written story they have had for a while. A bit like how almost every piece of software now has a cloud version.
But the Guardian is critical to the landscape of UK news. It is one of very few newspapers not controlled by a press baron like Murdoch or the 'Weird Twins'. The UK press as a whole is much much more right wing (notably on immigration and the EU) than properly fits the UK IMHO and the Guardian is an important antidote. As well as Snowden, it also broke the important 'phone hacking' scandal, where some tabloids were getting their stories with very questionable ethics. It was also the only newspaper to cover the 'Snoopers Charter' legislation, that allows random parts of the UK government to look at users browsing history (and share it with the US gov).
It shows up so much on HN for its other important trait, no paywall.
 : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Guardian
They had a side-bar for "Related Articles", which were one after the other - critical of Israel as being an unprovoked aggressor. Fine, if that's the truth, except:
Every article I opened had a long lead-in about Israeli aggression, its consequences, etc. Every article had buried in the last paragraph, practically mumbling under its breath, "The IDF moved in because they were repeatedly being attacked by RPGs &tc." Nothing was provided to suggest the IDF was lying or incorrect about being provoked - so why was one headline after the other all about characterizing unprovoked unilateral aggression?
I was done. It's fine to be critical of Israeli policies and military posturing; it's another to essentially lie through your teeth and then cover your ass in postscript.
The experience mase me understand that, in practice, all sources have major amounts of spin where you might not expect it, and that it is very difficult to figure out which spin, if any, is closer to reality. It's not about fake news, but about how wide the journalist's sources are, and how much did they care about digging for what is real.
That's hard to say, since you haven't provided any examples of it.
It's like claiming Hitler just justified in killing 6 million jews because after he killed 1 million, a few jews tried to fight back, and he had to kill another 5 million because he was provoked.
Also, I find your Holocaust allusion extremely tasteless.
If you're going that far back, why not just a handful of years earlier? Palestine getting flooded with immigrants whose sole purpose was to replace the incumbent population and establish their own state.
The American far right is terrified that muslims are going to take over an establish sharia law... all based on nonsense. The Palestinians actually had that happen to them, and you don't think they were justified in feeling invaded?
> Also, I find your Holocaust allusion extremely tasteless.
Of course it was. That was why it was said. I find your defence of the Israeli apartheid and their continued occupation of Palestine and brutal oppression of a hopeless people to be just as tasteless.
EDIT: In any case, thank you for explaining the original downvote, unlike the others.
The American far right is so disconnected from reality and humanity as to render their arguments null and void. I am not arguing their positions.
I don't think though that any mass migration of a persecuted people is an invasion, no matter how much the current inhabitants don't like them.
When the state of Israel was attacked by an existential threat it defended itself, and it now occupies the terrain required to defend itself. The continual threat from Syria more than justifies holding the Golan Heights. The rocket attacks from Gaza on heavily populated areas (and control by Hamas) certainly justify some blockade. The West Bank territory squeezes so close to Tel Aviv that ceding it to a regime that might rocket them is impossible.
The Israelis use of heavy weapons on Gaza is indefensible, as are the continued growth of West Bank settlements. But they fall short of being comparable in any way with the Holocaust.
I ask what he thinks of the unverified allegations that President Trump was compromised during visits to Russia. The dossier of claims, compiled by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, was published just a day before we meet. “Clearly, blackmail is a weapon in the KGB arsenal,” Barsky shrugs. “If they could use it, they would. The only question is whether our new president was foolish enough to do any of that stuff.” Today’s Russian security services seem to think in much the same way as his old handlers in the KGB, he says. “That’s the thing with big organisations anywhere: they’re very resistant to change.”
In the 1980s, Barsky’s most interesting potential recruits were radical rightwing ideologues; here, Soviet agents would pose as activists from the radical right. “There was one individual I reported on who I’m convinced would have fallen for that, because he was so strongly rightwing,” he says.
I think it would be unusual not to have asked at least the first (and I don't think Trump is a Russian agent).
Are you familiar with Sam Harris' objections to his character?
If you were trying to show altruistic examples of scientists and engineers, you fell very far astray.
1. Google had a previous FTC Commissioner in their pocket under Obama (named Joshua Wright). The same former FTC Commissioner is now part of Trump's transition team for the FTC. The FTC is charged with regulating companies like Google. The best source I can give you is The Intercept, which not only describes his quadruple-revolving-door, but links to the various stages of it. And yes, an investigation of Google by the FTC was quietly closed during his tenure.
> "Joshua Wright has been put in charge of transition efforts at the influential Federal Trade Commission after pulling off the rare revolving-door quadruple-play, moving from Google-supported academic work to government – as an FTC commissioner – back to the Google gravy train and now back to the government."
2. In their original paper, Sergey Brin and Larry Page argued that advertising had a fundamentally corruptive influence on search. If you compare the quote from their paper below, which indicates a strong need for an uncorrupted academic search engine, with their multibillion dollar advertising empire, the only logical conclusion is that Sergey Brin and Larry Page value money and power over any sort of highminded desire to benefit society. You'll also notice that Google displays paid ads for websites that should naturally be the top result, like showing a paid Best Buy link above the official Best Buy website search result when searching for "best buy", just as they originally indicated was a trait of a "worse" search engine.
> "Furthermore, advertising income often provides an incentive to provide poor quality search results. For example, we noticed a major search engine would not return a large airline's homepage when the airline's name was given as a query. It so happened that the airline had placed an expensive ad, linked to the query that was its name. A better search engine would not have required this ad, and possibly resulted in the loss of the revenue from the airline to the search engine. In general, it could be argued from the consumer point of view that the better the search engine is, the fewer advertisements will be needed for the consumer to find what they want. This of course erodes the advertising supported business model of the existing search engines. However, there will always be money from advertisers who want a customer to switch products, or have something that is genuinely new. But we believe the issue of advertising causes enough mixed incentives that it is crucial to have a competitive search engine that is transparent and in the academic realm."
Of course they do, the actual change has always been done by engineers and scientists, however, history only remembers the rulers and recently entrepreneurs
That is demonstrably false. Caesar brought lasting change around him, just like Napoleon did. Alexander the Great, though his empire crumbled after his death, brought Hellenic culture to many areas in the world. And I would like to know how the work of "scientists and engineers" triggered the Arab spring.
In any case, he was a billionaire several times over by then. The MS IPO was over 30 years ago.
Edit: Now that I re-read my comment, I come off as an arrogant prick. Sorry about that.
All I really meant to say was that setting up a foundation != charitable work. Any poor guy - like me for example - can setup a foundation, but it will only exist on paper.
But yes, I agree, this is not productive at all. My bad.
Oh you mean his tax deduction schemes?
"Before that, he was a cold and ruthless money making machine."
The world is going to suffer for decades under the proprietary NSA infected umbrella of his software. His ruthless machine lives on without him, he never turned it off.
Just wait and see, all this open sourcing from MS will increase and many will fall for the trap (embrace/extend), and then when the days of extenquish come around those of us who took the effort to transition to FOSS ecosystems will be far ahead of the game.
RMS is right. You either control the program or the program controls you.