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TOP SECRET – The Expanding Spectrum of Espionage by Americans, 1947–2015

Page Count: 227 pages

Date: August 2017
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Originating Organization: Defense Personnel and Security Research Center
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The report describes characteristics of 209 Americans who committed espionage-related offenses against the U.S. since 1947. Three cohorts are compared based on when the individual began espionage: 1947-1979, 1980-1989, and 1990-2015. Using data coded from open published sources, analyses are reported on personal attributes of persons across the three cohorts, the employment and levels of clearance, how they committed espionage, the consequences they suffered, and their motivations. The second part of the report explores each of the five types of espionage committed by the 209 persons under study. These include: classic espionage, leaks, acting as an agent of a foreign government, violations of export control laws, and economic espionage. The statutes governing each type are discussed and compared. Classification of national security information is discussed as one element in espionage. In Part 3, revisions to the espionage statutes are recommended in light of findings presented in the report.

This report is the fourth in the series on espionage by Americans that the Defense Personnel and Security Research Center (PERSEREC) began publishing in 1992. The current report updates earlier work by including recent cases, and it extends the scope by exploring related types of espionage in addition to the classic type. There are three parts to this report. Part 1 presents characteristics of Americans who committed espionage-related offenses since 1947 based on analyses of data collected from open sources. Part 2 explores the five types of espionage committed by the 209 individuals in this study: classic espionage, leaks, acting as an agent of a foreign government, violations of export control laws, and economic espionage. Each type is described by its legal bases, and examples of cases and comparisons with the other types of espionage are provided. Part 3 considers the impact of the changing context in which espionage takes place, and discusses two important developments: information and communications technologies (ICT) and globalization. Recommendations are offered for revisions to the espionage statutes in response to these accelerating changes in context.

Part 1 compares data across three cohorts of persons based on when the individual began espionage: 1947-1979 (the early Cold War), 1980-1989 (the later Cold War), and 1990-2015 (the post-Soviet period). As the Cold War recedes in time, the recent cohort offers the most applicable data for the present. Among the characteristics of the 67 Americans who committed espionage-related offenses since 1990:

•They have usually been male and middle-aged. Half were married.

•Reflecting changes in the population as a whole, they were more diverse inracial and ethnic composition, and more highly educated than earlier cohorts.

•Three-quarters have been civil servants, one-quarter military, and compared tothe previous two cohorts, increasing proportions have been contractors, heldjobs not related to espionage, and/or not held security clearances.

•Three-quarters succeeded in passing information, while one-quarter wereintercepted before they could pass anything.

•Sixty percent were volunteers and 40% were recruited. Among recruits, 60%were recruited by a foreign intelligence service and 40% by family or friends.Contacting a foreign embassy was the most common way to begin as avolunteer.

•Compared to earlier cohorts in which the Soviet Union and Russiapredominated as the recipient of American espionage, recent espionageoffenders have transmitted information to a greater variety of recipients.

•Shorter prison sentences have been the norm in the recent past.

•Sixty-eight percent of people received no payment.

•Money is the most common motive for committing espionage-related offenses,but it is less dominant than in the past. In the recent cohort, money was amotive for 28%, down from 41% and 45% in the first and second cohorts,respectively. Divided loyalties is the second most common motive (22%).Disgruntlement and ingratiation are nearly tied for third place, and more peopleseek recognition as a motive for espionage.

Returning to the full population, the majority of the 209 individuals committed classic espionage in which controlled national security information, usually classified, was transmitted to a foreign government. Classic espionage predominates in each cohort, but declined from 94% the first cohort to 78% in the most recent. This reflects authorities’ recent increasing treatment as espionage of the four additional types discussed in Part 2: leaks; acting as an agent of a foreign government; violations of export control laws; and economic espionage. Each of the four additional types is prosecuted under its own subset of statutes, which differs from those used in cases of classic espionage. The various types are usually handled by different federal agencies. They also differ in how involved the information of private companies and corporations is alongside government agencies.

The five types of espionage are not mutually exclusive, and a person may be charged with and convicted of more than one type. The assumption that espionage consists simply of classic espionage should be reexamined in light of how these four additional crimes are similar to or even charged as identical to classic espionage. All five types impose losses of national defense information, intellectual property, and/or advanced technologies that cause grave damage to the security and economy of the nation.

Four elements frame the analyses in Part 2. First, the legal statutes that define the crimes are identified and described. Prosecutorial choices as to which statutes to use are considered, alternate statutes that have been used in similar circumstances are identified, and reasons for the choices suggested. Second, examples of each type of espionage are presented as case studies. Third, issues resulting from classification of information are identified and discussed for each type, if applicable. Fourth, the numbers of individuals among the 209 are presented in tables for each of the five types, along with descriptive statistics to identify trends over time.

Part 3 discusses these trends by recognizing two central dimensions of the current context in which espionage occurs: ICT and globalization. Spies have moved with the times, and they employ all the technological sophistication and advantages they can access. Implications from this changing context are discussed, including how American espionage offenders gather, store, and transmit intelligence to a foreign government, and how a foreign government may now steal controlled information directly across interconnected networks, threatening to make spies obsolete.

Globalization affects many dimensions of life, and is especially apparent in areas relevant to espionage, such as political and military affairs, development of defense technologies, and international finance. It can influence the recruitment of spies and the likelihood that people will volunteer to commit espionage as a consequence of the ongoing trend toward a global culture, with its easy international transmission of ideas, civic ideals, and loosening allegiances of citizenship.

This report concludes by recommending revisions to the espionage statutes (Title 18 U.S.C. § 792 through 798) in order to address inconsistencies and ambiguities. Based on provisions enacted in 1917 and updated in last 1950, they are outdated. Three approaches to revision are outlined. First, try to eliminate inconsistencies among the espionage statutes themselves. Second, consider how to update the espionage statutes to reflect the current context of cyber capabilities, the Internet, and globalization. Third, consider how to amend the statutes that apply to all five types of espionage discussed in this report to reconcile inequities, eliminate gaps or overlaps, and create more consistency in the legal response to activities that are similar, even though they take place in different spheres.

In an appendix, this report examines how espionage fits into the broader study of insider threat, and considers three insights from insider threat studies that may illuminate espionage: personal crises and triggers, indicators of insider threat, and the role of organizational culture.


Leaks are disclosures of classified information to the public. They are usually accomplished through the press or by publication in print or electronic media. A leak follows the form of classic espionage except that the recipient is different. Instead of being given to an agent of a foreign power or transnational adversary, leaks go out to the American public. Then, through modern communication channels, the information is transmitted around the world as it is re-published, translated, and discussed in additional press coverage. Both the content of the information and the fact that it is no longer under the government’s control are made available to everyone, including adversaries who systematically monitor the American press for insights.

The seven leakers discussed here were diverse. They ranged in age from 22 to 52 years of age: one person was 22, four persons were in their middle years (their 30s or 40s), and two persons were in their early 50s. They worked in various agencies: two were members of the military (U.S. Navy and U.S. Army); two were civilian federal employees, current or former (OSD and CIA); and three were contractors (two to the FBI, and one to DoS). They had reached different stages in their careers, from an Army Private First Class to people at mid-career to a respected senior defense policy specialist. Three common motives run through the seven cases.

•The leakers strongly objected to something they saw being done in the course oftheir work. Franklin, Diaz, Leibowitz, Kiriakou, and Manning each objected to government policies or actions that they observed, and they chose to intervene,usually by making their objections public by releasing classified information.

•The leakers enjoyed playing the role of expert. Franklin, Leibowitz, Kim, Kiriakou, and Sachtleben each sought out or responded to opportunities to share their expertise.

•The leakers wanted to help and saw themselves as helping. Diaz, Kim, and Manning, were, in their view, trying to help people they had befriended or with whom they sympathized.

To illustrate how leaks are a form of espionage in most ways, but not in every way, the elements of classic espionage discussed earlier are here applied to the actions of Franklin based on details are from his superseding indictment (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2005).

•A context of competition. Franklin’s job was to monitor the hostile international relationship between the U.S. and Iran after its 1979 revolution. After 9/11, a debate simmered in Franklin’s agency over preparations for the invasion of Iraq.

•Secret means. Franklin verbally conveyed highly classified information to recipients in meetings held in places where they were less likely to be observed.

•Goal is secrets. Rosen and Weissman sought out a well-placed contact in OSD who could provide them with information. Rosen is quoted as saying on the telephone “that he was excited to meet with a ‘Pentagon guy’ [Franklin] because this person was a ‘real insider.’”

•Political, military, economic secrets. The classified information Franklin leaked to Rosen and Weissman included CIA internal reports on Middle Eastern countries, internal deliberations by federal officials, policy documents, and national intelligence concerning Al Qaeda and Iraq.

•Theft. Franklin was not accused of passing stolen documents to the recipients,only verbal information based on them. He was accused of stealing and taking home classified documents.

•Subterfuge and surveillance. Franklin, Rosen, and Weissman held their meetings at various restaurants, coffee shops, sports facilities, baseball games,and landmarks in the Washington, DC, area. In one instance, they met at Union Station, and conducted their conversations at three different restaurants.

•Illegality. Franklin was convicted of Title 18 U.S.C. § 793(d) and (e).

•Psychological toll. In July 2004, after the FBI explained the evidence and the likely consequences of a prison term on his family, Franklin took the FBI’s bargain for leniency and wore a wire during subsequent conversations with Rosen and Weissman.

Revealed – District Attorney of New York Fire Hazards, 80 Centre Street, NYC, February 25, 2018

Demographic Profile of Terrorists Post-9/11 Reveals Screening Implications

The following is a draft report from Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Intelligence that was obtained and published by Foreign Policy.

Page Count: 4 pages
Date: January 2018
Restriction: For Official Use Only, Law Enforcement Sensitive
Originating Organization: Customs and Border Protection, Office of Intelligence
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(U//FOUO/LES) CBP’s Office of Intelligence produced this document by request from CBP’s Commissioner on 19 December. This product examines 29 perpetrators of 25 terrorist incidents in the United States from October 2001 through December 2017 whom CBP/OI assesses were driven by radical Sunni Islamist militancy.1 This assessment covers the demographic profile of the perpetrators, consisting of age, citizenship, gender, immigration status, national origin, international travel and religious background. This assessment is intended to inform United States foreign visitor screening, immigrant vetting and on-going evaluations of United States-based individuals who might have a higher risk of becoming radicalized and conducting a violent attack. This information is cut-off as of 22 January 2018.

(U) Source Summary

(U//FOUO) We place moderate confidence on assessments discussed herein due to our reliance on information derived primarily from analysis of law enforcement databases, independent think tank studies, scholastic publications, and United States press reporting. We lack specific details on the perpetrators path to radicalization that would have contributed a higher confidence in our assessment.

(U) Key Findings

(U//FOUO/LES) The national origins of all but six of the perpetrators traced to the Middle East, South Asia or Africa, possibly reflecting the long-term difficulty for some Muslim immigrants to integrate into United States society.

(U//FOUO/LES) Most perpetrators resided in the United States for a significant period of time, signaling the need for recurrent screening and vetting over a long period of time.

(U//FOUO/LES) The presence of all of the perpetrators in the United States was lawful, highlighting that illegal immigration was not a factor in these cases.

(U//FOUO/LES) Despite the prominent role Muslim converts have played in radical Islamist terrorist incidents occurring in the West, only six of the perpetrators converted to Islam.

(U) Gender

(U//FOUO/LES) Males were involved in all of the attacks highlighted in the assessment, despite growing concerns, such as assessments by the Combatting Counterterrorism Center at West Point, regarding the increasingly prominent, and sometimes operational, role women play in radical Islamist militant circles, including their use by the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS).(2) There was only one incident, where a female, the wife of the male perpetrator, was also involved in carrying out the attack.

(U) Ages

(U//FOUO/LES) Case studies over the past few years conducted by both federal and private entities yielded similar age-ranges after reviewing various comparable subsets of individuals. Our study found the average age of the 29 perpetrators was 28 years, ranging from 17 to 49 years of age at the time they were arrested or killed. The average age of perpetrators who conducted attacks in North America and Europe following ISIS’ declaration of its self-proclaimed caliphate in June 2014 was a similar 27.3 years old, according to independent think tank findings.(3) According to one scholastic publication, the average age of United States individuals arrested due to their associations with ISIS was 26. (3) We assess that 14 out of the 15 individuals born outside the United States spent approximately 10 years in the United States prior to their attacks; the remaining foreign born perpetrator was a Canadian resident visiting the United States.

(U) National Origins

(U//FOUO/LES) The national origins of all but six of the perpetrators traced to the Middle East, South Asia or Africa, likely reflecting the long-term difficulty for some Muslim immigrants to integrate into U.S. society. Just over half of the perpetrators were born outside the United States and over four-fifths (86%) of those immigrated as a minor or resided for a significant period of time (approximately 10 years) in the United States, indicating that the radicalization of these individuals likely occurred after immigrating. The remaining perpetrators born outside the United States resided in the country for two years or less, suggesting that they could have arrived in the United States already radicalized. The presence of all of the foreign-born perpetrators in the United States was lawful, highlighting that illegal immigration was not a factor in these cases and that possibly some militants are heeding calls by ISIS and AQ to take up arms in their Western countries of residence as opposed to traveling abroad to participate in foreign conflicts.

• (U//FOUO/LES) Eight of the 14 U.S.-born perpetrators are first-generation descendants of South Asian, Middle Eastern or African immigrants. Of the six other U.S.-born perpetrators, five are of African-American heritage and one is Caucasian.

• (U//FOUO/LES) Among the 14 foreign-born perpetrators who immigrated to the United States, 4 entered the United States before they reached 10 years of age; another 5 perpetrators were between 13 and 17 years of age when they migrated. Four perpetrators migrated to the United States after the age of 18 and were residents for approximately 7 years. Only one perpetrator over 18 years old had been in the United States for a year or less.

(U//FOUO/LES) Fourteen of the foreign-born perpetrators were lawful permanent residents (LPR)2 of the United States and one was a lawful resident of Canada visiting the United States under a U.S.-Canada Trusted Traveler Program. Of the fourteen foreign-born individuals who were residents of the United States, 7 acquired permanent residency in the United States and 7 were naturalized citizens.

(U) Immigration Channel

(U//FOUO/LES) Of the 14 U.S. LPRs, five immigrated to the country as children of asylees; two were refugees; two acquired diversity immigrant visas, one was the child of a U.S. citizen; one was the spouse of a U.S. citizen; one was the child of an alien family member of a U.S. citizen; one was the child of an alien with an advanced professional degree; and one immigrated on a fiancé visa.

(U) International Travel

(U//FOUO/LES) Nine of the perpetrators traveled outside of the United States, within one to two years of the incident, to countries in the Middle East, South Asia or Europe, suggesting the travel may have played a role in their path to radicalization. Four individuals traveled to the Middle East or South Asia within three to four years of their attacks. Five out of the 14 U.S.-born perpetrators traveled to the Middle East or South Asia within 4 years or less of the incidents.

(U) Religious Conversion

(U//FOUO/LES) We assess that only six of the perpetrators-or about 20 percent converted to Islam, which is in line with a 2017 independent think tank that found 23-percent of United States Muslims are converts (4)- despite the prominent role Muslim converts have played in radical Islamist terrorist incidents occurring in the West, according to a body of academic, media and anecdotal reporting. (5) (6) (7)

(U) Outlook

(U//FOUO/LES) CBP/OI assesses that the factors contributing to an individual’s decision to perpetrate an act of terrorism reflect a highly personalized set of circumstances. The cohort of perpetrators represents migrants to the United States, U.S.-born citizens, including six converts to Islam with backgrounds that are comparable to other Sunni Islamist extremist cohorts. Demographic factors such as age, national origin, length of residence, immigration status or travel history can inform evaluations, but are not determinative, when assessing an individual’s susceptibility to violent extremism. While the sense of perceived marginalization of some Muslim immigrants may represent an important factor in the radicalization process, we assess with low confidence that the motivations of at least some of the perpetrators centered on their failure to assimilate in United States society.

TOP SECRET – U.S. Army Threat Tactics Report: North Korea

Page Count: 53 pages
Date: October 2015
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Originating Organization: TRADOC G-2 ACE Threats Integration
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File Size: 2,690,302 bytes
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The Korean peninsula is a location of strategic interest for the US in the Pacific Command (PACOM), and many observers note that North Korea is an unpredictable and potentially volatile actor. According to the Department of Defense in its report to Congress and the intelligence community, the DPRK “remains one of the United States’ most critical security challenges for many reasons. These include North Korea’s willingness to undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior, including attacks on the Republic of Korea (ROK), its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and its willingness to proliferate weapons in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolutions.” Some of the latest evidence of irrational behavior is the elevation of Kim Jong Un’s 26-year old sister to a high governmental post late in 2014, the computer hacking of the Sony Corporation supposedly by North Korea during late 2014 over the possible release of a film that mocked Kim Jong Un, and the April 2015 execution of a defense chief for allegedly nodding off during a meeting. Over the past 50 years, North Korea has sporadically conducted operations directed against its enemies, especially South Korea. These actions included attacks on South Korean naval vessels, the capturing of a US ship and holding American hostages for 11 months, the hijacking of a South Korean airline jet, electronic warfare against South Korean signals including global positioning satellites (GPS), and assassinations or attempted assassinations on South Korean officials including the ROK president. The attempted 1968 Blue House Raid by North Korean elite military personnel resulted in the death or capture of all 31 infiltrators involved in the assassination attempt as well as the death of 71 personnel, including three Americans, and the injury of 66 others as the North Korean SPF personnel attempted to escape back to DPRK territory.

The purpose of this North Korean Threat Tactics Report (TTR) is to explain to the Army training community how North Korea fights including its doctrine, force structure, weapons and equipment, and the warfighting functions. A TTR also identifies where the conditions specific to the actor are present in Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) and other training materials so that these conditions can easily be implemented across all training venues.

Executive Summary

  • North Korea is an oligarchy with Kim Jong Un as its supreme leader.
  • The DPRK is a militaristic society with about 1.2 million active duty personnel in uniform out of a population of 24 million with another 7.7 million in the reserve forces.
  • All military personnel serve under the umbrella of the Korean People’s Army (KPA); the Korean People’s Air Force (KPAF) and Korean People’s Navy (KPN) primarily support the KPA ground forces.
  • The KPAF focuses on homeland defense and close air support to the KPA.
  • The KPN’s primary mission is to protect the North Korean coastline and support the KPA special purpose forces (SPF) in mission execution.
  • Much of the equipment in all military branches is old and obsolete, but the KPA has concentrated its modernization efforts on missile technology that may provide the means to successfully launch a nuclear warhead.
  • North Korea possesses a nuclear weapon and is modernizing its missile fleet in order to increase the attack range for its nuclear arsenal.
  • North Korea possesses both chemical and biological weapons.
  • The KPA practices both passive and active camouflage to hide its units, headquarters, and other important resources from the air.


Although the North Korean military may feature some positive attributes as a fighting force, the KPA also suffers from many weaknesses as well. Much of the military’s equipment is old and obsolete. The North Korean military consciously refuses to rid itself of any equipment and still operate tanks that date back to World War II. This wide range of military hardware from many generations of warfare also generates logistical issues. The KPA’s supply personnel must not only find the spare parts for a large variety of equipment, the KPA maintenance personnel must be well-versed in the repair of a great assortment of vehicles and weapons. In addition, the DPRK lacks the logistical capability to support the KPA beyond a few months. Due to the shortage of fuel and the cost to operate vehicles for a cash-strapped country, many of the KPA soldiers find themselves involved in public works projects or helping farmers bring in their rice crops. Any time spent in non-military support is less time that the KPA soldiers can spend training for combat. Even the mechanized and armor forces, due to resource restraints, spend much of their training time doing light infantry training instead of mounted operations. While KPA soldiers may be well trained in individual skills or small unit tactics, the amount of time spent on larger exercises pales in comparison to most Western militaries. Without adequate time and resources to practice large scale military operations, the KPA will always face a steep learning curve when the KPA is forced to perform them in actual combat for the first time.

The DPRK’s unorthodox use of provocation in order to obtain concessions from its enemies—especially the US, South Korea, and Japan—is a danger. One never knows what North Korea will do next as, in the past, the DPRK has sanctioned assassination attempts on South Korean political leaders and conducted bombings when South Korean contingents are in another country, unannounced attacks on ships by submarines, unprovoked artillery attacks, or has tunneled underground into another country. US military personnel stationed in South Korea must be prepared for the unexpected from the DPRK.

One of these incidents could ignite the Korean peninsula back into a full-blown war. While an armistice has been in place since 1953, an armistice is just a ceasefire waiting for a peace treaty to be signed or for the resumption of hostilities. Any conflict between North and South Korea would inevitably bring the US into the conflict as the ROK has been an ally for over six decades.

North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons and the missiles to transport it up to 9,650 km makes it a threat to US forces stationed in Korea, Japan, Alaska, or even the west coast of the continental United States. Even more concerning was the DPRK’s first successful test launch of a KN-11 missile from a submarine on 23 January 2015 since, in the near future, the North Korean submarines could silently move closer to their targets before launching a nuclear missile that would give the US less warning time. If the DPRK thought that the survival of its country or the Kim regime was at stake, North Korea might use any nuclear weapons at its disposal. The KPA also possesses chemical weapons and its doctrine calls for their employment. The DPRK is also involved in biological weapons research and would likely use those with offensive capabilities. US military personnel training for deployment to South Korea must be prepared to fight in a chemical, biological, or nuclear environment.

Revealed – US Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) Moroccan Travel Control Detachment

US Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC)
Moroccan Travel Control Detachment – Arbaoua Section
French MoroccoCIC Agent Reports   JANUARY – OCTOBER 1944


23APR44Request for Aerial Survey along the Border

10MAY44Anti-Allied Sentiments

13MAY44Escaped Italian Prisoners of War

14MAY44Spanish Deserters

16MAY44French Deserter

30MAY44Clandestine Crossing of Frontier: Alleged French Agent

30MAY44Lack of Tires, B.S.T, B.S.M., Souk el Arba

7JUN44Spanish Deserters

7JUN44Spanish Fishing Boats off Moulay Bou Selham

7JUN44Illegal crossing of the frontier

20JUN44Ouezzane Espionage Ring

22JUN44Radio Sonde Transmitting Equipment Found

25JUN44Closing of Moulay Bou Selhem to Vacationists

9JUL44Frontier Guard System: Relaxation Frontier Controls

17JUL44Expected Parachute Landings: Capture Parachutists Algeria

17JUL44General Giraud Clandestine Crossing into Spanish Morocco

20JUL44Expulsion from Spanish Morocco

20JUL44Spanish Deserter

22JUL44Presence of ex-Collaborationists in Frontier Zone

24JUL44Re-establishment Strict Control Vicinity Souk el Arba

24JUL44Contraband Horses Destined for German Army in France

2AUG44Contraband Horses: Correction

2AUG44Anti-Allied Propaganda

5SEP44Arrest of Suspected German Agent

5SEP44Arrest of Suspected SRA Courrier

10OCT44Attempted Crossing of American Naval Officer

17OCT44Renewed Attempt to Cross the Frontier

13OCT44Documents by Spanish Information Service (OSS)




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