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    Russian spy agency commanders subjected their soldiers to serious sexual and physical abuse, activists say, in just the latest torture scandal to hit the country.  Major Oleg Panov, commander of a GRU squadron in Russia's Far East, has been arrested over the abuse along with deputy Captain Alexander Yerushevich. The pair are accused of abusing soldiers under their command, including one who was raped with a mop handle and another who was tied to a tree naked and beaten. Meanwhile footage revealed one soldier beating another in the Dagestan region, with the apparent approval of their commanders. The leaks come after a horrifying 'conveyor belt of torture' within Russia's prisons was exposed, with inmates raped and sexually abused on camera then blackmailed into abusing their fellow prisoners using the footage. Russian soldiers and their commanders have been accused of presiding over a culture of physical and sexual abuse that it just the latest to rock the country The investigation into Panov and Yerushevich was only revealed after prosecuting documents were leaked to Russian media last month - including campaigners at sites Gulagu.net, BAZA, and...
    Riley Williams, 22, is formally charged for stealing Nancy Pelosi's laptop and several other felony and misdemeanor counts connected to the January 6 Capitol riots A suspected Capitol rioter has been banned from the internet and ordered to use a flip-phone after she was filmed stealing Nancy Pelosi's laptop and threatened to sell its contents to Russian spies, police say.   Riley Williams, one of the Capitol rioters who is accused of stealing Nancy Pelosi's laptop, has been formally charged in connection to the theft and Capitol riots, and faces up to 20 years in prison.  She has been banned from the internet while awaiting trial, and must use a flip-phone that doesn't have internet access over fears she'd use a smart device to try and destroy evidence.   Williams, 22, was arrested in January in Central Pennsylvania, according to the Justice Department. She was seen in a video on January 6 guiding some of the rioters to Nancy Pelosi's office, where she allegedly stole the House Speaker's laptop. Video allegedly recorded by Williams shows the laptop being taken as someone, who prosecutors...
    The top U.S. military officer met with his Russian counterpart on Wednesday as the United States works to implement the next steps in efforts to combat terrorism. Gen. Mark Milley , chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov met in Helsinki, Finland, and the meeting came at a crucial time in the U.S.’s altered presence in the Middle East. MEET THE FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR AND FORMER AFGHAN GOVERNMENT LAWYER WHO IS LUCKY SHE ESCAPED The meeting was “a continuation of the talks aimed at improving military leadership communication between the two nations for the purposes of risk reduction and operational de-confliction,” according to a statement from Col. David Butler, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The statement also noted that both sides “have agreed to keep the specific details of their conversation private.” With the U.S. withdrawing all of its troops from Afghanistan at the end of last month, ending the two-decade war, it left the military and intelligence communities at a disadvantage, given the lack of people in the country....
    Kiev, Ukraine and Minsk, Belarus (CNN)Security forces shattered the early morning calm of the lakeside Soviet-era resort outside the Belarusian capital of Minsk, bursting in to arrest 32 Russian mercenaries. It was less than two weeks before Belarus' presidential election last year, and authorities suspected that the outsiders had been sent from Russia to interfere. The men were indeed part of a mission. But the target was not Belarus, and they were not under orders from any Russian entity. They were being set up. The 32, along with one other man detained in southern Belarus, were the target of an elaborate intelligence sting by Ukraine, with the knowledge and alleged support of the United States.Video released by the Belarusian KGB, State TV and Radio Company of Belarus showed Russian men being detained.Three former high-ranking Ukrainian military intelligence officials described exclusively to CNN how they orchestrated the extraordinary operation aimed at luring suspected war criminals out of Russia to face prosecution for atrocities committed in eastern Ukraine where separatists backed by Moscow have been fighting for years.Read MoreFirst, the Ukrainian agents...
    President Joe Biden said in a speech to U.S. intelligence community Tuesday cast Russian President Vladimir Putin as a cornered adversary – which makes him potentially 'more dangerous.' Speaking at the office of the Director of National Intelligence for his first time as president, Biden remarked on the state of Russia's oil-dependent economy – and issued a grave warning about the risks of cyber adventurism.   'He knows he’s in trouble and that makes him more dangerous,' Biden said, speaking a few weeks after meeting with Putin in Geneva for a summit.  'He knows he’s in trouble,' President Joe Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin 'When I was with Mr. Putin, who has a real problem,' he said, speaking in calm and quiet tones. 'He is sitting on top of an economy that has nuclear weapons and oil wealth and nothing else. Nothing else. Their economy is like the eight smallest in the world now - largest in the world. He knows he's in real trouble - which makes him even more dangerous, in my opinion,' he said.  Biden...
    Witnesses from key federal agencies could not give an answer why the United States hasn’t sanctioned China for its cyberattacks against Microsoft and other U.S. companies, responding to Sen. Ted Cruz’s question on Tuesday with silence. Earlier this month, the Biden administration and a host of U.S. allies blamed China’s Ministry of State Security for a massive hack against the Microsoft Exchange Server. But the U.S. did not impose sanctions like it did against Russian intelligence hackers earlier this year over the SolarWinds attack, and it did not charge anyone related to the Microsoft hack. “Let me ask anyone on the panel," Cruz, a Texas Republican, asked witnesses from the Justice Department, FBI, and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on ransomware Tuesday. "Do you have an answer as to why the administration has not sanctioned China for repeated cyberattacks over and over and over again against the United States?” Richard Downing, the deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s criminal division, Bryan Vorndran, the assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division,...
    Joe Biden may be president, but in too many ways the Age of Trump marches on. American political and civic life continues to resemble a spy thriller, a horror movie or a science fiction dystopia that keeps spawning sequels. Most Americans want to escape the theater, but the doors are locked. Those who remain in their seats love these movies and can't get enough of their charismatic star. The ending of this saga has been obvious since the beginning: Donald Trump is a malevolent force, with no loyalty to the United States and its people; yet his followers worship him as a god and nothing can tear them away from the cult. Almost every day there are new plot twists. As reported last week, the highest-ranking officers and civilian leaders of the U.S. military were concerned that Trump might try to stage a military coup after his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, considered a plan to resist such a move through mass resignations, a last-ditch effort to save...
    Fox News host Tucker Carlson has said he felt he had 'no choice' but to go public with his explosive allegation that the National Security Agency tried to leak his private emails to the press. Carlson first went public with his claim late last month, saying a government insider warned him that the NSA had intercepted his emails and 'unmasked' his identity, which by law should have been kept secret. In an interview with his colleague Lisa Boothe for her upcoming podcast, an advance clip of which obtained by Mediaite, Carlson explained that he was reluctant to go public with the allegation, but felt he had no other option. 'So, like, getting on TV and saying the government spying on me was, you know, I did not want to do that at all, but they were spying on me and I felt like I had no choice,' Carlson explained. 'I mean, I did it defensively, you know?' he added. 'I don’t have any other — I don’t have subpoena power. I can’t arrest anybody. I can’t make them answer questions.'  'All I...
    Nine four-star generals have sent a memo to the heads of the U.S. intelligence community, asking them to declassify evidence revealing the 'pernicious conduct' of China and Russia. The unclassified memo, first sent last year, has been circulating among America's top spies, pleading with them to reveal more evidence that could help sway public opinion against adversaries, Politico reported on Monday. Nicknamed the '36-star memo' for the cumulative stars held by the signatories, the letter was organized by Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Eight other regional military commanders signed on, including General Jay Raymond, then commander of U.S. Space Command and now head of the Space Force. Admiral Phil Davidson, the outgoing head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and General Jay Raymond, now head of the Space Force, were among the letter's signatories The memo was addressed to then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire (above) last January RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Xi flexes his muscles in the South China Sea by unveiling... Putin showcases missile defence shield...
    Natasha Bertrand, Politico White House correspondent who covers national security and foreign policy, joined me on the latest episode of The Interview. Despite the common wisdom that the Biden administration is a quiet one, last week was hectic for Bertrand. First, the president announced that after 20 years, the U.S. would be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. That decision, as Bertrand reported, was made despite appeals from military brass to remain in the country. Then, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia in response to cyber-attacks and attempts to interfere in the 2020 election. One piece of news from the sanctions that sparked a debate about the media: the level of confidence in the C.I.A. assessment that Russia offered bounties for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Biden administration warned Russia on the bounties but declined to impose any sanctions on the basis of them. The “low to moderate confidence” assessment was taken as proof by some media critics that the intelligence was being walked-back, and that the press failed by reporting the original assessment on bounties too credulously....
    The Russian government announced on Friday that it would expel 10 American diplomats and ban eight current and former U.S. officials from entering the country, in what it said was retaliation for a long-expected suite of sanctions issued by the Biden administration Thursday.    Among the officials Moscow is banning are Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, FBI Director Chris Wray, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the U.S Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice and director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons Michael Carvajal, according to a statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry.    The list also includes U.S. officials who have left government – former President Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, and former director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey, who served in the Clinton administration.   Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said at a press conference that Moscow would also place restrictions on the activities of U.S. non-governmental organizations on its territory, calling Washington's measures "hostile" and "unprovoked."    The relatively measured response, however, suggested Russia was heeding President Biden's...
    Two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee hyped news reports last year that President Donald Trump turned a blind eye to intelligence that said the Russian government was paying bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American troops.  On Thursday, the Biden administration dealt the theory a major blow, saying that the U.S. intelligence community has only “low to moderate confidence” that the intelligence is accurate.  Schiff and Swalwell were also leading proponents of the since-debunked claim that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.  Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, hyped reports last year that the Russian government paid bounties to kill American soldiers, an allegation that the Biden administration now says is based on inconclusive intelligence. Schiff and Swalwell, along with other Democrats, used reports of the alleged bounty payments to accuse President Donald Trump of turning a blind eye to Russian aggression against the U.S. Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence panel, accused Trump and other Republicans of refusing to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over the...
    President Joe Biden on Thursday warned Vladimir Putin he will hit back if Russia interferes with American democracy after the United States issued a series of tough sanctions on Moscow.  Biden also reiterated his offer to Moscow to hold a summit between the two leaders in Europe this summer and, in brief remarks at the White House, said there were areas the two nations could work together.  But the president also warned Putin that the series of US sanctions announced Thursday - hitting the Russian government and some entities and individuals with financial penalties - could have been far tougher.  But, the president said, he didn't want to escalate the already high tensions with Moscow. 'I was clear with President Putin we could have gone further, but I chose not to do so. I chose to be proportionate. The United States is not looking to kick off a cycle of escalation and conflict with Russia. We want a stable predictable relationship,' he said. But, he warned, if Russia hit back, the US would strike harder.  'I urged [Putin] to respond...
    The United States is set to hit Russia with fresh sanctions for alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election, a sweeping cyberattack against American government and corporate networks and other activities. The sanctions are expected to be announced on Thursday and include expelling Russian diplomats from the U.S. and blacklisting more than 20 Russian entities, according to one U.S. official and a second source familiar with the matter. The news was first reported by Bloomberg. The sanctions will come a month after President Joe Biden publicly promised retaliation against Russian President Vladimir Putin for a range of malicious activities that Washington blames on Moscow. Biden has characterized Putin as a “killer” and said he would “pay the price” for these actions. Russia denies all of these charges, including calling the allegations over the 2020 election “baseless accusations.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov suggested Moscow would respond in kind to any “illegal” sanctions imposed by the U.S. “We condemn any intentions to impose sanctions, consider them illegal, and in any case the principle of reciprocity operates in this area,” he said Thursday...
    (CNN)The entire 30-member NATO alliance was united in its concern about the massive buildup of Russian forces near Crimea and along Ukraine's borders, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday."What was striking today was every single ally expressed the same concerns," said Blinken, speaking alongside US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Ukraine estimates that Russia has amassed as many as 50,000 troops in the region, while the current US assessment is that the Russian military has moved more than 40 battalion tactical groups into the border area, which could total up 40,000 troops. It is the largest buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine since 2014, when Russian forces invaded the country and occupied the Crimean Peninsula."It is a part of a broader pattern of Russian aggressive action, which raises very serious concerns," said Stoltenberg. "Allies fully support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and we call on Russia to de-escalate immediately, stop its pattern of aggressive provocations and respect its international commitments." Biden proposes meeting with Putin amid rising Ukraine tensionsOn Tuesday,...
    A new annual threat assessment the Director of Intelligence issued Tuesday warns that Russia and China continue to try to assert themselves at the expense of the U.S. – with lesser powers Iran and North Korea also joining the fray.  The 27-page report by DNI Avril Haines warns that China's great power ambitions, along with the coronavirus pandemic and even climate change, will converge to present the U.S. with security challenges. 'Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, and Pyongyang have demonstrated the capability and intent to advance their interests at the expense of the United States and its allies, despite the pandemic,' according to the new 2021 Annual Threat Assessment.  The office of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines released its 2021 annual threat assessment showing Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran are intent to 'advance their interests at the expense of the United States and its allies' The report dropped on a day the White House said President Biden spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia's military buildup along the Ukrainian border, and Iran said it would enrich Uranium at...
    (CNN)Secretly shot video tells the story of an alleged spy ring at work in Bulgaria's capital. A woman in a white jacket arrives at the Russian embassy in Sofia; she is seen in animated conversation with someone unidentified. Inside a government office, a surveillance camera catches a man counting money at his desk, apparently the reward for his espionage. And in an intercepted phone call, the alleged leader of the group is heard telling an accomplice how his father cried when Stalin died. Then they talk money.The recordings, made by Bulgarian investigators, were released on Friday as prosecutors announced charges against six Bulgarians -- several of them senior or former defense officials -- on suspicion of spying for Russia.Prosecutors alleged that the group "posed a serious threat to national security by collecting and handing to a foreign country state secrets of Bulgaria, NATO and the European Union." They also released a memo allegedly written by the group's leader, in a mixture of Bulgarian and Russian, setting out the spy ring's priorities, which included gathering information on NATO meetings, EU policy...
    The Government of Russia has called its ambassador to the United States for consultations to analyze the future of bilateral relations, hours after the US intelligence will again point to Moscow for alleged electoral interference and that the president, Joe Biden, described his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, as a “murderer”. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zajarova has confirmed in a statement that Ambassador Anatoli Antonov will soon travel to Moscow for “analyze how and where to move forward in relations with the United States“according to the official Sputnik news agency. Hours later, the diplomatic mission in Washington has confirmed through a statement that it will be on the 20th when Antonov will travel to Moscow, where he will meet with the Foreign Ministry and “other entities” to “discuss ways to normalize Russian relations. -Americans who are in a crisis. “ According to the Embassy, ​​”certain statements that US leaders make without even thinking Put already excessive confrontational relationships at risk of destruction“between the two countries, while he pointed out that Washington has an” unconstructive “policy towards Russia, which has...
    Washington (CNN)The US intelligence report released Tuesday detailing foreign election interference in the 2020 election contradicts repeated statements from former President Donald Trump and senior members of his administration that China -- and not Russia -- was the top foreign threat to the integrity of the election. The report also raises questions about the effort from Senate Republicans to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine, a probe that examined many of the same allegations about the Bidens and Ukraine that the Russian-linked officials were pushing, according to the intelligence community report.The report, compiled by the US intelligence community and declassified and released by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines on Tuesday, assessed that the Russian government meddled in the 2020 election with an influence campaign "denigrating" President Joe Biden and "supporting" Trump. In addition, the report said China did not interfere and "considered but did not deploy influence efforts intended to change the outcome of the US Presidential election." That assessment flies in the face of the public comments from Trump and members of his administration, including former Attorney General William...
    March 17, 2021 10:08 AM | With information from DPA 15 minutes. US President Joe Biden called his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a “murderer” and assured that he would “pay a price” for allegedly interfering in the presidential elections held in November 2020 in the country. In an interview with the television network ABC, the president warned of a possible “response” from your Administration. “He will pay a price,” he said before saying they “had a long conversation” in January. “I know him relatively well. The conversation started with something like: I know you and you know me. If we can prove this happened, get ready“, he asserted, without offering more details on the matter. When asked whether Putin is a “murderer”, Biden, who said he believes he “has no soul”, nodded: “Yes, I do.”. However, he indicated that it is possible that both “can go with the flow” to work in areas of “mutual interest.” His words come after the publication of an intelligence report that indicates that both Russia and Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, tried to influence the...
    Washington — Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations that sought to damage President Biden's candidacy during the 2020 election and boost former President Donald Trump, according to an unclassified report from the U.S. intelligence community on foreign threats to the 2020 elections released Tuesday. The report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, outlined five key judgments on efforts by foreign actors to influence or interfere in U.S. elections, including Moscow's attempts, directed by the highest echelons of the Russian government, to undermine public confidence in the electoral process and sow division among Americans.  "A key element of Moscow's strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives — including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden — to U.S. media organizations, U.S. officials, and prominent U.S. individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration," the declassified report stated. The intelligence community assessed with "high confidence" that Russia and Iran used misinformation to undermine public confidence in election processes and results. There were no...
    (CNN)A new US intelligence report that finds Russia interfered in the 2020 election to help Donald Trump and hurt Joe Biden also underscores a fundamental truth: The gravest threat to US democracy comes from within.The report, released by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, finds that Moscow sought to inject misleading information about Biden into the campaign through officials and others close to Trump.The real bombshell it contains is not the confidence of the spy agencies that Russia hoped to subvert American democracy. It is that US intelligence experts effectively confirmed that for the second election in a row, Trump acolytes repeatedly used, knowingly or otherwise, misinformation produced by the spies of one of America's most sworn foreign adversaries to try to win a US election.And given the advantage of hindsight, the latest intelligence assessment is not just an isolated example of incriminating evidence against Russia and its efforts to create chaos and discord within the United States.For all of the stale US debate about whether Trump and his aides "colluded" with Russia, there are now multiple reports, intelligence assessments...
    Washington — Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations that sought to damage President Biden’s candidacy during the 2020 election and boost former President Donald Trump, according to an unclassified report from the U.S. intelligence community on foreign threats to the 2020 elections released Tuesday. The report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, outlined five key judgments on efforts by foreign actors to influence or interfere in U.S. elections, including Moscow’s attempts, directed by the highest echelons of the Russian government, to undermine public confidence in the electoral process and sow division among Americans.  “A key element of Moscow’s strategy this election cycle was its use of proxies linked to Russian intelligence to push influence narratives — including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden — to U.S. media organizations, U.S. officials, and prominent U.S. individuals, including some close to former President Trump and his administration,” the declassified report stated. The intelligence community assessed with “high confidence” that Russia and Iran used misinformation to undermine public confidence in election processes and results. There were no indications,...
    Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government in Moscow, Russia, on February 5, 2020.Aleksey Nikolskyi | Sputnik | Kremlin | Reuters Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin authorized intelligence assets to promote misinformation about President Joe Biden through U.S. media and people close to then-President Donald Trump to try to boost Trump's election chances, an American intelligence report said Tuesday. In particular, the report said that Putin "had purview over the activities of Adriy Derkach, a Ukrainian legislator who played a prominent role in Russia's election influence activities." Derkach, who has ties to Russian intelligence, is known to have met with Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to Trump, who for months promoted discredited allegations against Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The findings are the second "key judgment" in the declassified report by the National Intelligence Council. That section says: "We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organizations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in...
    Russian intelligence agencies have been working to undermine public confidence in Western coronavirus vaccines for months, according to a new report citing US officials.   The Wall Street Journal report published Sunday describes how the Russian intelligence agencies mounted a disinformation campaign through online publications that posted numerous articles questioning the development, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, including those from Pfizer and Moderna.   The US State Department's Global Engagement Center (GEC) identified at least four outlets that have served as fronts for Russian intelligence, an official leading the probe told WSJ.   The articles published by the outlets injected 'false narratives' about the vaccines, the newspaper reported, in part by highlighting the speed of Pfizer's development process and playing up the risk of side effects.   While the outlets' readership is small, the official said the articles helped amplify those false narratives in Russian and international media.  Russian intelligence agencies have been working to undermine public confidence in Western coronavirus vaccines for months, according to a new report citing US officials (file photo) 'We can say these outlets are directly linked...
    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R.) MLADEN ANTONOV,TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images Russia’s Vladimir Putin is cracking down hard on the movement around Alexei Navalny. In an interview Friday, a Kremlin source said to expect an even harder line in future. Intelligence sources told Insider Putin likely took note from from other leaders whose harsh crackdowns paid off. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. Russian President Vladimir Putin is waging a crackdown on opposition figure Alexei Navalny and his supporters, intentionally choosing the most brutal playbook, according to intelligence officials and hints from the Kremlin itself. Per sources who spoke to Insider, Putin is likely taking inspiration from events in Venezuela and Belarus, where embattled leaders responded to uprisings in brutal fashion – and are still in power today. Navalny’s supporters have been protesting his detention, which culminating in a long prison sentence this week after he was convicted of breaking his parole while recovering in Germany from being poisoned....
    Investigators have revealed the massive suspected Russian cyber attack that preyed on government agencies and blue-chip businesses may be far greater than first realized, as a third of victims had not even installed the software previously thought to have been used to carry out the 'Pearl Harbor of hacks'.  Brandon Wales, the acting director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency which is investigating the attack, said a staggering 30 percent of federal agencies and private firms now known to have been breached had no direct connection to SolarWinds.  Several victims had already fallen foul to the attack long before SolarWinds even deployed its network management software Orion which was corrupted by the highly sophisticated hackers.  Wales said there is evidence hackers used Microsoft's cloud software as a way into some systems, sparking fears that millions of individuals, businesses and government agencies may have been vulnerable to the attack. In late December, the nation's top security agencies including the FBI and the Pentagon were rocked by an unprecedented breach when it emerged SolarWinds had been hacked. The attackers, which US...
    WASHINGTON — In a briefing with reporters on Tuesday afternoon White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed President Biden was set to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Psaki said the call was scheduled at the same time as her briefing and described some of the president’s plans for the conversation, which included addressing “matters of concerns” stemming from Kremlin policies. Among the issues on the agenda were arms control and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Biden “called … President Putin this afternoon with the intention of discussing our willingness to extend New START for five years and also to reaffirm our strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of … Russia’s ongoing aggression,” Psaki said. New START is a nuclear arms reduction treaty that is set to expire next month. Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, which led to a sharp deterioration in relations between Moscow and Washington. Other matters discussed included “the SolarWinds hack, reports of Russia placing bounties on United States soldiers in Afghanistan, interference in the 2020 election, the poisoning...
    Russian news agencies reported on Saturday that George Blake, the 98-year-old British double agent who spied for Soviet intelligence in the 1950s. The side of the last British spies who worked secretly in support of the Soviet Union was a disgrace to British intelligence at the height of the Cold War. Sergei Ivanov, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, told the DOS news agency that “the famous intelligence agent … George Blake left us. He loved our country sincerely and praised the achievements of our people during World War II.” The Kremlin issued a message of condolence in which President Vladimir Putin said Blake was an expert with special courage and courage and that his contribution to equality and peace in the world was invaluable. He added, “The memory of this famous character will be alive in our hearts.” 2001 photo of British double agent George Blake According to Reuters, Blake was born in 1922 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to a Dutch mother and an Egyptian Jewish father, who became a British citizen. He fled the...
    U.S. and European officials are likely to fall back on the conventional tools of sanctions and prosecutions to punish Russia for the recently discovered cyberattack while continuing to investigate the full ramifications of the hack. “We still don’t know the extent of the damage,” said Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Mark Montgomery, a retired admiral who chaired the congressionally mandated Cyberspace Solarium Commission. “It’s hard to describe the seriousness of the attack, of the incident, and discuss what’s the appropriate response without knowing what happened.” The hack went undetected for months after thousands of federal government agencies and private companies downloaded compromised software from an IT management company. That breach affected not only the United States but also “governments across the world,” according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who identified Russia as the likely culprit. The width of the net, paired with the European Union’s newfound willingness to impose sanctions for cyberattacks, raises the likelihood of a transatlantic effort to punish Moscow. “These kind of response measures have, hopefully, some deterrent effect,” said a European...
    Alexei Navalny did not even have to alter his voice to convince the man on the line that he was a senior intelligence official – Pavel Golovkin/AP Alexei Navalny on Monday released an audio confession from one of the men allegedly behind his near-fatal poisoning, following a sting operation in which he called the man up and posed as a Russian intelligence official.  The confession further adds to the acute embarrassment of the Russian intelligence community after an independent investigation into Mr Navalny’s poisoning came out last week detailing a full-fledged state-run operation to try to kill the opposition leader. The 44-year-old Kremlin critic fell suddenly ill on a plane from Siberia to Moscow in August before it made an emergency landing at a nearby airport. Mr Navalny was eventually transferred to a hospital in Germany and lay in a coma for weeks. Several European laboratories have since confirmed that he was poisoned with the Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent. Mr Navalny on Monday published a staggering recording of his 49-minute sting call to Konstantin Kudryatvev, an alleged Russian intelligence...
    By Andrew Osborn and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that Russia was responsible for a cyber attack that embedded malicious code inside U.S. government software systems and those of other governments and companies across the world. The Kremlin has always denied Moscow's involvement in cyber attacks against the West. It has said that Russia had nothing to do with this latest assault. Here is some information about Russia's possible motives for such an attack, and details about Russian cyber offensive and information warfare capabilities. POSSIBLE RUSSIAN MOTIVE The Kremlin has said many times it wants to improve ties with the United States, which are at a post-Cold War low and strained by issues from Ukraine to Syria. But it also openly views the United States as Russia's main geopolitical adversary and as a threat to its national security. President Vladimir Putin has accused Washington of starting a new arms race and NATO of moving military infrastructure closer to Russia's borders, and has complained about U.S. sanctions, part of what Putin casts...
    A U.S. intelligence community assessment in 2017 determined that Russia was behind a massive and sophisticated campaign to attack the 2016 presidential election and exploit divisions among Americans. After the operation was exposed, the perpetrators went dark. Americans thought the maneuver was over, but it was only the beginning. The seeds of another wave were already sprouting, but would not fully bloom until 2020. In the years since the initial interference took place, the divisions have exploded into violent protests, armed occupation of government buildings — even plots, this year, to kidnap and murder elected officials. The objective of the initial operation, according to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was to “flood the zone with disinformation.” The scheme was comprised of outright lies and partial truths about U.S. politics, candidates in the 2016 election and many areas of American culture. The “zone” Warner referred to was social media, and, according to investigations by Facebook and Twitter, the propaganda was devoured by Americans, believing it was true. Warner said “it was an unprecedented attempt by...
    President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign, along with many in the media, dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop story, which emerged in October as part of a Russian disinformation operation, without evidence. Concerns about the younger Biden erupted into the broader sphere this week after multiple outlets reported that he is being investigated in connection to his taxes and overseas business dealings with China and other countries in an inquiry opened as far back as 2018. Earlier this year, during a presidential debate, Joe Biden had dismissed the laptop emails as part of a “Russian plan” and inaccurately cited a letter from dozens of former intelligence officials. Biden declared: “There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said that what [Trump's] accusing me of is a Russian plan [or plant]." Trump retorted, “You mean the laptop is now another 'Russia, Russia, Russia' hoax?” Biden said, “That’s exactly what I was told.” Biden was referring to a Politico report that over 50 ex-intelligence officials, including Obama CIA Director John Brennan, signed a letter in an article by Natasha Bertrand...
    A RUSSIAN superspy posed as an artist while stealing secrets from the White House, FBI, CIA, and NATO in a career spanning 32 years, the Kremlin has claimed. Yuri Shevchenko, who died aged 81 last week, worked in numerous countries around the world and claimed to have obtained information from the highest levels of Western intelligence. 5Yuri Shevchenko purportedly posed as an artist while working as an Russian intelligence officer in the WestCredit: TV Zvezda 5Russian state media claimed Shevchenko stole secrets from the highest levels of the US governmentCredit: Alamy 5He also claimed to have stolen information from the FBICredit: Corbis His death was announced by the SVR, Moscow’s foreign intelligence agency. His career for the SVR and the KGB as an “illegal” agent - operating without diplomatic cover - reportedly lasted from 1969 to 2001, spanning the collapse of the USSR. He continued to work training new agents for another decade. While working in the West, he was “assigned to control espionage operations at the US president's administration, CIA and FBI, the State Department, and NATO...
    (CNN)The investigative group Bellingcat has uncovered new details about Russia's development of the Novichok nerve agent, which was used against the former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in England in 2018 and the Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny in August.After analyzing phone and travel records of Russian research scientists and officials, Bellingcat found frequent contacts between the director of a military science research institute in St. Petersburg and the agents accused of poisoning Skripal and his daughter Yulia with Novichok in the English city of Salisbury in March 2018. A British couple, Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley, were also exposed to the agent; Sturgess subsequently died.The new Bellingcat report, published Friday, finds that scientists previously working for the Russian Ministry of Defense "were dispersed into several research entities which continued collaborating among one another in a clandestine, distributed R&D program."The Kremlin has consistently denied involvement in both of those high-profile attacks.The St Petersburg institute -- the Experimental Institute for Scientific Research in Military Medicine -- was one of three Russian establishments, Bellingcat says, charged with developing new forms of chemical warfare....
    Russian hackers have recently targeted dozens of state and local governments and have stolen data from at least two servers, according to U.S. officials. A joint bulletin from the FBI and the Homeland Security Department was posted on Thursday and comes less than two weeks away from Election Day and months after an initial warning was released by intelligence officials regarding disinformation campaigns and election security risks coming from Russia, China, and Iran. The warning didn't mention any of the specific victims who were targeted, but officials said they don't have any knowledge of election or government operations being affected. "However, the actor may be seeking access to obtain future disruption options, to influence U.S. policies and actions, or to delegitimize (state and local) government entities," the advisory added. Chris Krebs, director of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said that the alert was issued to scan country networks for any holes or vulnerabilities in their system, adding that there was access in a couple limited cases to election-related networks. During a press conference on Wednesday, Director of...
    THE FBI is reportedly in possession of a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, which contains emails revealing his foreign business dealings. FBI and Justice Department officials also concurred with an assessment from Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who claimed the laptop is not part of a Russian disinformation campaign, according to Fox News. 5 A laptop belonging to Hunter Biden is in FBI possession, according to reports 5 Last week a 'smoking-gun' email between a Ukrainian businessman and Hunter caused a media storm Biden's laptop has been the subject of a media storm over recent days, after the New York Post published a "smoking-gun" email that it alleged reveals how Hunter Biden introduced his father to a Ukrainian businessman, Vadym Pozharskyi, when Joe Biden was Vice President. Some Republicans have claimed that the elder Biden then pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma, an energy firm Pozharskyi was an advisor to and Hunter Biden was on the board of. The Biden campaign has strongly denied these claims. Democrats such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam...
    Hunter Biden's laptop has been seized by the FBI, which has supported earlier claims that his emails are not part of a Russia disinformation campaign, according to reports.  Senior federal officials confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that the bureau is now in possession of the computer allegedly containing emails that could purportedly implicate Joe Biden in his son's international business dealings during his time as vice president.   Federal law enforcement reportedly said that the emails in question are 'authentic', the news station reported.  Insiders said both the FBI and the Department of Justice have also concurred with National Intelligence John Ratcliffe's assessment on Monday that there is no evidence to support the files are part of a Russian disinformation scheme. Joe Biden and his son Hunter are facing renewed scrutiny related to Hunter's business dealings overseas after his abandoned laptop was found to hold e-mails that allegedly show Joe Biden was in on Hunter's deals. Joe Biden's campaign has denied any wrongdoing Here's Hunter: The Democratic candidate's son's photos were part of the laptop which was obtained by Rudy Giuliani's attorney and...
    HUNTER Biden's signature allegedly appears on the receipt from the laptop repair shop where he is claimed to have dropped off the computer at the center of the emails, crack and sex scandal. Documents show a signature of which appears to read "RHB" - Robert Hunter Biden - which shares some similarities to other publicly available versions of his scrawl. ⚠️ Follow our US election 2020 live blog for the latest news & updates 12Hunter Biden is under fire over the laptop scandal 12Documents appear to show a signature similar to Hunter Biden's on the laptop docsCredit: Fox News The authenticity of the signature has not been proven as the scandal continues to swirl around Hunter and his dad, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. It emerged last week that the copy of a hard drive containing emails allegedly proving Hunter had introduced Joe to a Ukrainian oil exec had been handed to Donald Trump ally Rudy Giuliani. Files were then handed to The New York Post, who also reported the hard drive contained a 12-mintue video of Hunter...
    The Justice Department has charged six Russian intelligence officers with involvement in an extensive hacking campaign, including the notorious Petya ransomware attacks that targeted Ukraine in 2015. According to the indictment, the efforts also targeted the country of Georgia, the French elections, the 2018 winter Olympics, and investigations into the poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal. Many of the specific incidents in the indictment have been previously reported, but no law enforcement agency has publicly charged Russia’s GRU with orchestrating the attacks. Russia’s primary military intelligence agency, the GRU has previously been associated with a wide range of cyberattacks dubbed “Fancy Bear” by private-sector researchers. In this case, prosecutors even pin the operation down to a specific GRU building located at 22 Kirova Street in Moscow, which the indictment refers to as “the Tower.” The indictment follows previous prosecutions concerning GRU campaigns against the 2014 Olympics or the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign. One of the six defendants, Anatoliy Kovalev, was also named in the DNC indictments. But Monday’s indictment reaches further, alleging an international...
    (CNN)President Donald Trump is a consistent creature in a lot of respects, especially when it comes to helping Russia and hurting the US. For years, Trump has engaged in behavior that makes Russian President Vladimir Putin's job of sowing discord, spreading disinformation and undermining our democracy a lot easier -- especially when Trump thinks it might benefit him. Trump has also signaled that he's open to receiving dirt on a political rival from a foreign country. What's more, no other President has a friends-and-family list so littered with people with connections to Russia. Samantha VinogradTrump associates "presented attractive targets for foreign influence, creating notable counterintelligence vulnerabilities," according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report released in August. But Trump has refused to change his own behavior -- let alone tell his team to clean up their counterintelligence posture. That's why new reports that US intelligence agencies warned the White House last year that Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was being targeted by Russian intelligence come as no surprise. US intelligence officials-- according to four former officials, cited by the Washington...
    The nation’s spy chief has sent the intelligence community’s watchdog an investigative referral related to a 2018 Republican-led House Intelligence Committee report that critiqued some of the tradecraft in the Obama-era Intelligence Community Assessment of 2017 on Russian interference in the 2016 election. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe sent a letter to acting Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Thomas Monheim asking him to review an investigative referral first sent to the CIA’s watchdog by then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes after the committee led by the California Republican released its Russian meddling report in 2018. Ratcliffe, who has overseen the nation’s 17 spy agencies since May, said he had also begun the declassification process for the secretive intelligence underlying the Nunes referral. “Pursuant to the request of Ranking Member Nunes, and consistent with my obligation to transmit allegations of wrongdoing to your office for review, I am attaching the enclosed Oversight Investigation and Referral regarding concerns with the completion of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election published...
    US intelligence had picked up chatter of an 'October surprise' where Russia would leak stolen emails from Ukrainian energy company Burisma alongside forged materials to damage Joe Biden's election campaign one month before the release of content allegedly taken from Hunter Biden's laptop, according to sources.   People familiar with the matter told the New York Times that US intelligence analysts had raised concerns of a Russian hack similar to the one that occurred during the French 2017 election, where a trove of Emmanuel Macron's emails were leaked along with fake emails just two days before the country went to the polls.   The sources' claims cast doubt on the authenticity of the emails released early Wednesday morning by the New York Post that were allegedly taken from Hunter Biden's laptop.  The explosive New York Post story said emails from the hard drive showed Hunter introduced his father to a top executive at Burisma, less than a year before the then-Vice President put pressure on Ukraine to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the company.  US intelligence had picked up chatter of an 'October surprise'...
    Evan Vucci/AP For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.In any other time, it would have been front-page news and ignited days or weeks of controversy. But last week, when a former top government official accused the president, for whom he once worked, of treasonous conduct, the story lasted nanoseconds and was blown away by the never-ending firehose of craziness and disinformation generated by the commander-in-chief and his crew. The tragedy here is not merely that Donald Trump escaped yet another scandal. It is that a fundamental and dire threat to the security of the United States did not receive sufficient attention and that American democracy remains in immediate danger.  I am referring to an interview retired General H.R. McMaster, who served as Trump’s national security adviser after Michael Flynn was bounced, gave to MSNBC, in which he said that Trump was acting like a traitor. This sounds hyperbolic. But how else to frankly characterize McMaster’s remarks? He stated that Trump “is aiding and abetting Putin’s efforts” to intervene in...
    John Brennan pushed back on allegations that he was somehow part of an underhanded “deep state” plot to undermine President Donald Trump during a Tuesday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. The former CIA Director under the Obama Administration is at the center of a curiously timed political scandal now that current DNI John Ratcliffe released several recently declassified documents, including one that features Brennan’s handwritten notes on Russian intelligence alleging that Hillary Clinton was potentially stirring up a scandal on Donald Trump to distract from her email scandal. Tapper asked Brennan, “What can you tell about these notes you wrote about this Russian intelligence, and what do you make of them being released right now?” “John Ratcliffe is anything but an intelligence professional. It is appalling his selective declassification of information,” Brennan replied. “It is designed to advance the political interests of Donald Trump and Republicans who are aligned with him.” “These were my notes from the 2016 period when I briefed President Obama, and the rest of the national security council team about what the Russians were up...
    US President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin speak to the media during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland. Chris McGrath/Getty Images President Donald Trump’s 2018 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was “soul crushing” for the special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, according to a new book by Andrew Weissmann, who worked in Mueller’s office. Following their bilateral summit, Trump publicly sided with Putin over the US intelligence community and said he didn’t see any reason why Russia would have interfered in the 2016 election.  The summit came days after Mueller’s office indicted 12 Russian military intelligence officers for orchestrating a “hack-and-dump” operation to meddle in the 2016 race and hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Weissmann wrote that after Trump sided with Putin, Mueller voiced his suspicion that if “the president was in the tank with Putin, ‘It would be about money.'” Trump walked his comments back amid widespread outrage, but Weissmann wrote that it was clear to...