jerryking + security_&_intelligence   458

The Extra-Secret White House Computer System, Explained - The New York Times
The White House uses a web of computer systems to store delicate information.CreditCreditAl Drago for The New York Times
By Charlie Savage, Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman
Oct. 1, 2019
classified_information  code_words  covert_operations  Donald_Trump  memorialization  NSC  secrets  security_&_intelligence  transcripts  Ukraine  White_House 
12 days ago by jerryking
Whistle-Blower Is a C.I.A. Officer Who Was Detailed to the White House
Sept. 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Julian E. Barnes.

Agents, officers and analysts from the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities routinely work at the White House. Often, they work on the National Security Council or help manage secure communications, like calls between the president and foreign leaders.

The C.I.A. officer did not work on the communications team that handles calls with foreign leaders, according to the people familiar with his identity. He learned about Mr. Trump’s conduct “in the course of official interagency business,” according to the complaint, which was dotted with footnotes about machinations in Kiev and reinforced with public comments by senior Ukrainian officials.

Officials regularly shared information to “inform policymaking and analysis,” the complaint said. The complaint raises the prospect that the whistle-blower was not detailed to the White House either during the events in question or when he learned about them......The call with Mr. Zelensky was originally thought to be a routine matter, the complaint said, and the White House did not restrict it, meaning a number of officials and note takers listened.

But the whistle-blower said that afterward, White House officials “intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call,” putting them in a highly classified system meant for discussing covert actions. One White House official called that an abuse because the transcript contained no classified material.

Notes and rough transcripts of White House calls are typically stored on a computer system that allows senior officials in different departments and agencies to access them, to better coordinate policy.

Some White House colleagues told the whistle-blower that they were concerned they had witnessed “the president abuse his office for personal gain,” according to the complaint.

His complaint went beyond the call. During his time at the White House, the whistle-blower became deeply unnerved about how he believed Mr. Trump was broadly seeking to pressure the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could benefit him politically.

“Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president’s 2020 re-election bid,” the complaint said of Mr. Trump.

After the call, multiple officials told the whistle-blower that future talks between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky would depend on whether the Ukranians would “play ball” on the investigations he sought.

The whistle-blower, who lodged his concerns with the inspector general for the intelligence community, has identified at least a half-dozen government officials — including several who work for the White House — who he believes can substantiate his claims. The inspector general has interviewed some of them and found the whistle-blower’s claims credible.
Campaign_2020  CIA  Donald_Trump  impeachment  intelligence_analysts  Joe_Biden  policymaking  security_&_intelligence  Ukraine  whistleblowing  White_House 
18 days ago by jerryking
Opinion | The Spy Business Is Booming and We Should Be Worried - The New York Times
By Bill Priestap
Mr. Priestap led the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence division from 2015 through 2018
counterintelligence  espionage  security_&_intelligence 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
How China’s formidable cyber capabilities sparked a tech cold war
July 22, 2019 | | Financial Times | Geoff Dyer.

Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping, by Roger Faligot, translated by Natasha Lehrer, Hurst, RRP£30, 568 pages.... the mercantilist mindset of the US administration and partly in the insecurities of a section of Washington’s foreign policy establishment, prompting the search for new demons to slay. But it is also an inevitable reaction to the aggressive intelligence and surveillance capabilities that China has installed.
Roger Faligot’s history of spying in the Chinese Communist party highlights the turbocharged growth in the nation’s intelligence services......Spying has been baked into the fabric of the Chinese Communist party since its earliest days......Faligot’s subject is the Chinese Communist party and its efforts to develop what he describes as the largest intelligence service in the world. He places particular emphasis on the state security ministry, known as the Guoanbu, the biggest of the non-military spying agencies......The central figure was Zhou Enlai, China’s premier from 1949 to 1976. Zhou’s early career is known more for the diplomatic skills he demonstrated during the second world war but he also developed a taste for clandestine activities as a young man in his twenties in Paris.
......Returning to China in 1928 after a spell at the GRU spy school in the Lenin Hills outside Moscow, Zhou established a series of intelligence networks which, Faligot writes, have a “direct link” with “today’s service”......Two themes, in particular, come through. First, right from the outset, China’s spy agencies latched on to the internet — both as a powerful weapon and as a tool for greater social control....As well as overseas intrusion, the intelligence agencies have been “given a mission to organise a vast system of control of the Chinese population”. Many of the new techniques were first developed in Xinjiang and Tibet, including the compulsory registration of internet users, which has been used to root out cyber-dissidents. ....The second theme is the way that these capabilities have now been harnessed by one all-powerful leader............Xi has conducted a sweeping anti-corruption drive whose biggest scalp was Zhou Yongkang, who in 2015 became the first ever former member of the politburo standing committee to be convicted of serious crimes and sentenced to life in prison. Arresting Zhou allowed Xi to take out a political rival. But it also allowed him to orchestrate a putsch of the security services, which Zhou had been in charge of in the previous administration. During his period as China’s effective spy chief, Zhou had set up what Faligot calls a “parallel diplomacy service” and had also been snooping on all the other senior Chinese leaders. The purge of “the old Zhou Yongkang system,” Faligot concludes, allowed Xi “to retake control of the CCP, the PLA and the secret services.”
books  book_reviews  China  Chinese_Communist_Party  Cold_War  cyberattacks  cyber_warfare  GRU  Guoanbu  new_tech_Cold_War  security_&_intelligence  Tibet  turbocharge  U.S.-China_relations  Xi_Jinping 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion: Ottawa seems to be out of ideas on devising a new kind of China policy
JUNE 19, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by DAVID MULRONEY. SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND
David Mulroney was Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012.

A new approach is needed to managing Canada’s relationship with China – one that’s alive to Canadian vulnerabilities as well as our national interests.....There are many smart reasons for engaging China, but flattering the leadership in Beijing isn’t one of them. Good ideas emerge from hard thinking about long-term Canadian interests. Even summoning the vision and courage to think strategically would mark a significant improvement over our current China policy, which appears to be conjured up from equal measures of wishful thinking and parliamentary politics.....Thinking strategically requires asking why China is being so assertive, (e.g. building a blue-water navy, militarizing rocks and shoals in the South China Sea)....These are part of a patient and persistent Chinese effort to push the U.S. out of Asia and achieve regional dominance – and that is clearly not in Canada’s interest. The U.S.’s commitment to Asia enabled regional balance and, with it, peace and rising prosperity. More to the point, a China-dominated Asia would hardly be friendly to Canadian values and ideas.
(1) Abandon our current policy of “comprehensive engagement” – the notion that we should say yes to just about anything related to China. Cancel the commitment of $256-million over five years to the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
(2) reassessment of our relationship with Taiwan.
(3) move from talking about human rights in China to actually doing something about them. We normally count on the United Nations to address major human-rights abuses, but the UN, anxious to avoid offending Beijing, has been silent in the face of the government’s mass detention of Uyghurs and its brutal assault on their religion, language and culture.
(4) do the same for China’s beleaguered Tibetans. Canada’s commitment would be a welcome signal to both communities that they haven’t been forgotten.
(5) investment at home, too. Put more money into domestic security, combatting Chinese interference more effectively. And we shouldn’t be afraid to name and shame perpetrators when we discover examples of meddling; Beijing won’t like it, but it will also probably tone down its more egregious activities.
(6) invest in China competence in Ottawa, where the commodity is alarmingly scarce. Future leaders in key departments, in the security agencies and in the Canadian Forces need to be far more aware of how China works and how it thinks. This isn’t about agreeing with China, but about understanding it – something that we’re having a hard time doing at present. To do so, Ottawa should create a special “China School” that not only offers language training but also exposes top people across government to the best thinking on China’s politics, economics and security issues.
AIIB  Beijing  bootcamps  Canada  Canada-China_relations  Canadian_Forces  China  China_rising  DND  human_rights  ideas  idea_generation  maritime  national_interests  op-ed  policymaking  policymakers  political_staffers  reinvention  security_&_intelligence  South_China_Sea  strategic_thinking  Taiwan  Tibet  Uyghurs  values  wishful_thinking 
june 2019 by jerryking
Spy tactics can spot consumer trends
MARCH 22, 2016 | Financial Times | John Reed.
Israel’s military spies are skilled at sifting through large amounts of information — emails, phone calls, location data — to find the proverbial needle in a haystack: a suspicious event or anomalous pattern that could be the warning of a security threat.....So it is no surprise that many companies ask Israeli start-ups for help in data analysis. The start-ups, often founded by former military intelligence officers, are using the methods of crunching data deployed in spycraft to help commercial clients. These might range from businesses tracking customer behaviour to financial institutions trying to root out online fraud......Mamram is the Israel Defense Forces’ elite computing unit.
analytics  consumer_behavior  cyber_security  data  e-mail  haystacks  hedge_funds  IDF  insights  intelligence_analysts  Israel  Israeli  Mamram  maritime  massive_data_sets  security_&_intelligence  shipping  spycraft  start_ups  tracking  traffic_analysis  trends 
april 2019 by jerryking
Andrew Marshall, Pentagon’s Threat Expert, Dies at 97 - The New York Times
By Julian E. Barnes
March 26, 2019

Andrew Marshall, a Pentagon strategist who helped shape U.S. military thinking on the Soviet Union, China and other global competitors for more than four decades, has died. He was 97. Mr. Marshall, as director of the Office of Net Assessment, was the secretive futurist of the Pentagon, a long-range thinker who prodded and inspired secretaries of defense and high-level policymakers.......Marshall was revered in the DoD as a mysterious Yoda-like figure who embodied an exceptionally long institutional memory.......... Marshall's view of China as a potential strategic adversary, an idea now at the heart of national defense strategy....Through his many hires and Pentagon grants..... Mr. Marshall trained a coterie of experts and strategists in Washington and beyond.....he cultivated thinking that looked beyond the nation’s immediate problems and sought to press military leaders to approach long-term challenges differently......His gift was the framing of the question, the discovery of the critical question..... always picking the least studied and most strategically significant subjects....Marshall’s career as a strategic thinker began in 1949 at the RAND Corporation, where his theory of competitive strategies took root. Borrowing from business school theories of how corporations compete against each other, Mr. Marshall argued that nations are also in strategic competition with one another. “His favorite example was if you can pit your strengths against someone else’s weakness and get them to respond in a way that makes them weaker and weaker, you can put them out of business without ever fighting,”....He had early insight into the economic troubles the Soviet Union was having, and helped develop strategies to exacerbate those problems and help bring about the demise of the Soviet Union....In 2009, Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, asked Mr. Marshall to write a classified strategy on China with Gen. Jim Mattis, the future defense secretary.
adversaries  assessments_&_evaluations  China  China_rising  classified  economists  éminence_grise  future  futurists  inspiration  institutional_memory  long-range  long-term  obituaries  Pentagon  policymakers  problem_framing  RAND  rising_powers  Robert_Gates  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  threats  trailblazers  uChicago 
march 2019 by jerryking
An Impeccable Spy — a thrilling biography of Stalin’s secret agent
March 22, 2019 | Financial Times | by Victor Sebestyen.

An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent, by Owen Matthews, Bloomsbury, RRP£25, 448 pages

He was defeated by a problem spies have faced from the Battle of Actium to modern-day Iraq. Often leaders hear only what they want to hear and act on information they find politically useful to them. As such this is a highly relevant book for today.

Richard Sorge was the Soviet spy who stole one of the biggest secrets of the second world war: the precise details of Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Through brilliant espionage “tradecraft” that involved penetrating the highest military and political levels in Germany and Japan, Sorge supplied Moscow with the battle plans of Operation Barbarossa weeks before it happened.

History is full of what ifs. Sorge and his spy ring might have changed the direction of the war. But Stalin would not believe Hitler was planning to invade. Though he was also receiving similar warnings from other Soviet sources, as well as British and US ones, the most suspicious of men would not see he could be betrayed.

The Soviet leader distrusted Sorge, convinced his most able and loyal agent was a traitor on the verge of defecting. Stalin relied more than most dictators on secret intelligence but seldom trusted his spies — especially if they told him something he didn’t want to hear.
biographies  books  book_reviews  espionage  Joseph_Stalin  Nazis  security_&_intelligence  spycraft  WWII 
march 2019 by jerryking
Canada must develop a backbone in its dealings with China - The Globe and Mail
CHARLES BURTON
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 1 DAY AGO

China’s spurious excuse for suspending some Canadian canola imports this week makes it clear that Ottawa needs to get serious about asserting Canada’s interests in diplomatic engagement with this rising global power.....This isn’t about canola. China is resolved to intimidate and coerce Canada, and wants us to realize this beyond any doubt.........China wants to abate any loss of face with a succession of get-tough measures that exterminate any goodwill remaining in the avaricious hearts of Canada’s business elite and their political friends.....The thing is, China no longer wants to comply with the Westphalian system of equal sovereign countries that underlies a rules-based international order, and that is hard for Ottawa to accept. Mr. Trudeau was seriously misled when he thought China would accede to international standards on environmental, gender and labour rights to get a trade deal with a Group of Seven country, but none of his incompetent advisers suffered any consequences for the ensuing fiasco........Ottawa’s feckless appeal to Beijing’s moral decency over the Chinese fentanyl manufacturers, whose product kills thousands of Canadians, was met with a Chinese demand to allow a police liaison officer to be installed in China’s Vancouver consulate – a request that was rejected over national-security concerns. This impudence squares with Beijing’s insistence that Canada allow Huawei equipment to run our telecommunications networks even though China fiercely restricts foreign components in its telecom systems.

Canada must change the channel, immediately. The current dynamic is poisonous to future Canada-China relations...We made a good start by removing John McCallum as ambassador......Ottawa missed a huge opportunity when it learned that China was blatantly violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by pressing Michael Kovrig, under severe duress. Mr. Kovrig would have been party to confidential files as part of the Five Eyes intelligence consortium when he had served as a Canadian diplomat. We should have immediately expelled some of the large cohort of Chinese security agents operating semi-openly in Canada.......But again, by our own design, CSIS is weak and misinformed on China. The best we could do was a pathetic exhortation to “please cease and desist.”Canadian law-enforcement agencies have established that the fentanyl that is killing Canadians is almost entirely from southern China factories, sent here via shipping containers or in the mail. Surely we must have the spine to initiate slow, thorough inspections of all Chinese mail and shipments into Canada, until Beijing takes serious, verifiable measures to address this scourge on our national well-being.

We also need to stop laundering, through Canadian casinos and urban real estate, the corrupt earnings by persons associated with senior levels of China’s Communist Party. We have laws that address this sort of thing, we need to enforce them.

And we can no longer stand idly by as China detains a million or more Uyghurs in its cultural genocide “re-education” internment camps. We have a Magnitsky law list of gross violators of human rights who are unwelcome in Canada. Why are there no Chinese names on it?

Canada’s years of appeasing China’s Communist regime, in the hope of obtaining economic favour, has led us to this horrendous mess.
acquiescence  appeasement  Canada  Canada-China_relations  Charles_Burton  China  China_rising  CSIS  cultural_genocide  fentanyl  Huawei  international_system  intimidation  Meng_Wanzhou  money_laundering  new_normal  reprisals  resolve  rules-based  security_&_intelligence  Uyghurs 
march 2019 by jerryking
Canada must not be naive when dealing with China’s authoritarian regime
March 4, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HUGH SEGAL, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Claws of the Panda, Jonathan Manthorpe’s new best-selling book, a meticulous and well-researched highly readable history of decades of Canada-China relations, is important because it's a primer on the central challenge of our era – how democracies address the scope and depth of an authoritarian wave now picking up momentum.....The Communist Party of China, its presumption of sovereignty not only at home, but also over ethnic Chinese worldwide, is not about to relinquish or dilute its central and presumptive power and control. It certainly won’t do this as a result of peaceful entreaties from middle powers, however respectful or well-meaning.....while the People’s Republic of China has every right to manage its internal affairs without interference, we also have the right to pursue our own national interest without undue Chinese influence......Manthorpe’s work clearly underlines is the economic, social and political equation at China’s core: Prosperity is the result of central control, focus and a clearly defined Communist Party and state-driven purpose. Qualities we hold as important – the right of dissent, democratic pluralism, freedom from fear – are seen by the Chinese government as weaknesses in our democratic societies to be exploited in the new great game of global trade and diplomatic competition.......Our challenge, in terms of diplomatic, trade and strategic policy, is with the Communist Party and the government and forces it controls, not with the Chinese people.........In assessing the intent of any global competitor, contextual awareness is one of the first requirements for tactical understanding and strategic planning. The revelations of Claws of the Panda offer a clear set of contextual conclusions for a well meaning middle power like Canada......We need new rules of the road.

Our engagement with China must set aside the temptations of presuming fair minded universal intent on the part of Chinese state-controlled instruments, economic, diplomatic or military. We must be more focused on the protection of our own security and freedoms from Chinese subversion, including the freedoms of our fellow Canadians of Chinese extraction. Countries that wish access to our resources, technology and investment on normative terms do not get to launch cyber attacks against us, from military and intelligence units controlled by the state. We must invest more with our allies in counter-intelligence and joint naval, air and cyber capacity in the Asian Pacific, not to threaten China’s legitimate regional dominance, or peaceful global economic aspirations, but to preclude illegitimate adventurism which a Chinese communist authoritarian regime might well pursue if costs and risks to them are unclear.
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Claws of the Panda gives a detailed description of the CCP's campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia. The party's aims are to be able to turn Canadian public policy to China's advantage, to acquire useful technology and intellectual property, to influence Canada's international diplomacy, and, most important, to be able to monitor and intimidate Chinese Canadians and others it considers dissidents.
authoritarian  alliances  Asia_Pacific  authoritarianism  books  Canada  Canada-China_relations  centralized_control  China  China_rising  Chinese  Chinese-Canadians  Chinese_Communist_Party  counterintelligence  cyberattacks  economic_protectionism  history  Hugh_Segal  maritime  mercantilism  middle-powers  naivete  new_rules  primers  rules_of_the_game  situational_awareness  worldviews  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  security_&_intelligence 
march 2019 by jerryking
Russian General Pitches ‘Information’ Operations as a Form of War - The New York Times
By Andrew E. Kramer
March 2, 2019

MOSCOW — The chief of Russia’s armed forces endorsed on Saturday the kind of tactics used by his country to intervene abroad, repeating a philosophy of so-called hybrid war that has earned him notoriety in the West, especially among American officials who have accused Russia of election meddling in 2016.
cyber_warfare  information_warfare  Russia  security_&_intelligence 
march 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | Putin’s One Weapon: The ‘Intelligence State’ - The New York Times
By John Sipher
Mr. Sipher, a former chief of station for the C.I.A., worked for more than 27 years in Russia and other parts of Europe and Asia.

Feb. 24, 2019
security_&_intelligence 
february 2019 by jerryking
Can Trump Handle a Foreign Crisis?
Feb. 7, 2019 | WSJ | By Peggy Noonan.

He’ll face one eventually, and there’s good reason to worry the administration will be unprepared.

Someday this White House will face a sudden, immediate and severe foreign-policy crisis..... past and present officials of this administration are concerned on how the White House would handle a crisis......History resides in both the unexpected and the long-predicted. Russia moves against a U.S. ally, testing Washington’s commitment to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty; a coordinated cyber action by our adversaries takes down the American grid; China, experiencing political unrest within a background of a slowing economy, decides this is a good time to move on Taiwan; someone bombs Iran’s missile sites; Venezuela explodes in violence during a military crackdown; there’s an accidental launch somewhere..... historian Margaret MacMillan said ....“I think we should never underestimate the sheer role of accident.”....Everything depends on personnel, process and planning. The president and his top advisers have to work closely, with trust and confidence, quickly comprehending the shape of the challenge and its implications. There must be people around him with wisdom, judgment, experience. They must know their jobs and be able to execute them under pressure. Clear lines of communication are key between both individuals and agencies.....keep their eyes on the million moving pieces, military and diplomatic, that comprise a strategy.......During the Berlin airlift, thought at the time to be the height of the Cold War, Secretary of State George C. Marshall, who’d been Army chief of staff during World War II, was asked how worried he was. “I’ve seen worse,” he replied. He had. ......“No administration is ready for its first crisis,” says Richard Haass, who was a member of George H.W. Bush’s NSC and is author of “A World in Disarray.” “What you learn is that the machinery isn’t adequate, or people aren’t ready.” First crises trigger reforms of procedures so that second ones are better handled. ......There is no way, really, to simulate a crisis, because you don’t know what’s coming, and key people are busy doing their regular jobs. And all administrations, up until the point they’re tested, tend to be overconfident. What can they do to be readier? Think, study, talk and plan.....For a modern example of good process, personnel and management, there is the Cuban missile crisis. .....the stakes couldn’t have been higher.......It might be good to have regular situation-room meetings on what-ifs, and how to handle what-ifs, and to have deep contingency planning with intelligence, military and civilian leaders discussing scenarios. “Put yourself in a position,” says Mr. Haass, “where you’re less unread when a crisis does occur.”.......Margaret MacMillan again: People not only get used to peace and think it’s “the normal state of affairs,” they get used to the idea that any crisis can be weathered, because they have been in the past. But that’s no guarantee of anything, is it?
adversaries  chance  contingency_planning  crisis  Donald_Trump  U.S.foreign_policy  JFK  Margaret_MacMillan  overconfidence  Richard_Haass  security_&_intelligence  unexpected  White_House  unprepared  accidents  Cuban_Missile_Crisis  luck  Peggy_Noonan  preparation  readiness  George_Marshall  normality  unforeseen 
february 2019 by jerryking
The Offbeat Genius of a Great American Spy - WSJ
By Sam Walker
Jan. 26, 2019

this experiment in deception and illusion became the central pillar of a unique operational mindset known as “the Moscow Rules.” By learning to outfox the KGB, the Moscow station not only connected with TRIGON, it scored some the biggest espionage coups in American history.
CIA  deception  espionage  illusions  obituaries  security_&_intelligence  spycraft 
january 2019 by jerryking
U.S. Weaponizes Its Criminal Courts in Fight Against China and Huawei
Jan. 17, 2019 | WSJ | By Chuin-Wei Yap.

The federal pursuit of theft charges adds pressure on Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. by further involving the criminal-justice system in the fight against China’s alleged encroachment on intellectual property. It is the second case in four months where federal prosecutors have built criminal allegations on civil litigation, risking uncertain outcomes as a verdict isn’t guaranteed.........The Trump administration wants to use indictments, along with export controls and other policy tools, as part of an arsenal to counter Chinese theft of trade and technology secrets, which U.S. officials increasingly view as part of national security.....That has meant a more aggressive effort to convert corporate squabbles into criminal charges.....the entry of federal prosecutors ratchets up global attention and the stakes in what had until then been less noticed civil filings.....High-profile prosecutions are part of a range of weapons the U.S. can call on to shape global perceptions of China’s state-corporate behavior, as well as China’s perception of how its options might be dwindling.....Other tools include sanctioning exports and redefining “emerging technologies” as a national security concern.....“The U.S. will pursue critical Chinese companies in any form possible,” ...... “The U.S. is aiming at creating a kind of sinking feeling for China. That is, no matter what China does, there will still be new angles for the U.S. to contain it.”.....an advantage of using the justice system is that it makes it difficult for China to feign ignorance when faced with a barrage of detailed allegations and corroboration.
China  criminal_justice  Department_of_Justice  hackers  Huawei  intellectual_property  legal_strategies  policy_tools  theft  trade_secrets  security_&_intelligence 
january 2019 by jerryking
The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies - Bloomberg
October 4, 2018, 5:00 AM EDTILLUSTRATOR: SCOTT GELBER FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK
By and October 4, 2018, 5:00 AM EDT

In 2015, Amazon.com Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental Technologies, a potential acquisition to help with a major expansion of its streaming video service, known today as Amazon Prime Video. Based in Portland, Ore., Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology had helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Elemental’s national security contracts weren’t the main reason for the proposed acquisition, but they fit nicely with Amazon’s government businesses, such as the highly secure cloud that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was building for the CIA......investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines. Multiple people familiar with the matter say investigators found that the chips had been inserted at factories run by manufacturing subcontractors in China.

This attack was something graver than the software-based incidents the world has grown accustomed to seeing. Hardware hacks are more difficult to pull off and potentially more devastating, promising the kind of long-term, stealth access that spy agencies are willing to invest millions of dollars and many years to get.......Over the decades, the security of the supply chain became an article of faith despite repeated warnings by Western officials. A belief formed that China was unlikely to jeopardize its position as workshop to the world by letting its spies meddle in its factories. That left the decision about where to build commercial systems resting largely on where capacity was greatest and cheapest. “You end up with a classic Satan’s bargain,” one former U.S. official says. “You can have less supply than you want and guarantee it’s secure, or you can have the supply you need, but there will be risk. Every organization has accepted the second proposition.”
China  cyber_security  cyber_warfare  hacks  semiconductors  security_&_intelligence  supply_chains  infiltration 
january 2019 by jerryking
Harold Brown, Defense Secretary in Carter Administration, Dies at 91
Jan. 5, 2019 | The New York Times | By Robert D. McFadden.

Harold Brown, a brilliant scientist who helped develop America’s nuclear arsenal and negotiate its first strategic arms control treaty, and who was President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of defense in an era of rising Soviet challenges, died on Friday at his home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. He was 91.....As defense secretary from 1977 to 1981, Mr. Brown presided over the most formidable power in history: legions of intercontinental ballistic missiles and fleets of world-ranging bombers and nuclear submarines, with enough warheads to wipe out Soviet society many times over......In retrospect, experts say, the Carter administration and Mr. Brown maintained the strategic balance, countering Soviet aircraft and ballistic innovations by improving land-based ICBMs, by upgrading B-52 strategic bombers with low-flying cruise missiles and by deploying far more submarine-launched missiles tipped with MIRVs, or multiple warheads that split into independent trajectories to hit many targets......By the time he joined the Carter administration, Mr. Brown had played important roles in the defense establishment for two decades — in nuclear weapons research, in development of Polaris missiles, in directing the Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar weapons research program, and in helping to plot strategy for the Vietnam War as secretary of the Air Force.....He had been a protégé of Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb, and his successor as head of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in California. He had been president of the California Institute of Technology; had worked for Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon; and had been a delegate to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I). As the first scientist to become defense secretary, Mr. Brown knew the technological complexities of modern warfare. He began the development of “stealth” aircraft, with low profiles on radar. He accelerated the Trident submarine program and the conversion of older Poseidon subs to carry MIRVs. And, with an eye on cost-effectiveness, he and President Carter halted the B-1 bomber as a successor to the B-52. Mr. Brown laid the groundwork for talks that produced the Camp David accords, mediated by Mr. Carter and signed in 1978 by President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel. ......In 1980, Mr. Brown helped plan a mission to rescue American hostages held by Iranians who seized the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979.......Harold Brown was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1927, the only son of Abraham Brown, a lawyer, and Gertrude Cohen Brown. From childhood he was considered a genius. At 15, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science with a 99.52 average. At Columbia University, he studied physics and earned three degrees — a bachelor’s in only two years, graduating in 1945 with highest honors; a master’s in 1946; and a doctorate in 1949, when he was 21.....From 1961 to 1965, he was director of defense research and engineering, the Pentagon’s third-ranking civilian, responsible for weapons development, and one of Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara’s “whiz kids.” He was the Air Force secretary from 1965 to 1969, and over the next eight years he was president of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

After leaving the Pentagon in 1981, Mr. Brown taught at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University for several years, and from 1984 to 1992 he was chairman of the school’s foreign policy institute.

Since 1990, he had been a partner at Warburg Pincus, the New York investment firm.
'60s  '70s  Caltech  Colleges_&_Universities  Jimmy_Carter  leadership  obituaries  Pentagon  physicists  SAIS  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  the_best_and_brightest  Vietnam_War  whiz_kids  Cold_War  public_servants 
january 2019 by jerryking
Year in a Word: Thucydides’s trap
December 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Gideon Rachman |

Thucydides’s trap

Coined by Harvard professor Graham Allison to capture the idea that the rivalry between an established power and a rising one often ends in war....The ancient Greek historian Thucydides had observed that the Peloponnesian war (431BC-404BC) was caused by “the growth of Athenian power and the fear that this caused in Sparta”....
Graham_Allison  op-ed  rivalries  Thucydides_trap  China  China_rising  conflicts  endgame  Huawei  security_&_intelligence  superpowers  rising_powers  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S.-China_relations  post-Cold_War  Donald_Trump  confrontations 
december 2018 by jerryking
America, China and the art of confrontation
December 17, 2018 | Financial Times | Gideon Rachman.

Tell me how this ends? was the despairing question attributed to American generals as they contemplated the quagmires in Vietnam and Iraq. The same question needs to be asked by US policymakers now, as they consider the escalating tensions between America and China.

The world’s two most powerful countries are locked into confrontations on a range of issues, including trade, technology, espionage and control of the South China Sea. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of interpreting these clashes. The first is that Donald Trump’s administration is determined to reset the US-China relationship. The second is that the US has now embarked on an effort to block China’s rise.

The first approach focuses on objectionable Chinese behaviour; the second objects to the very idea of China as a rival superpower.

These two ways of thinking point to very different potential endings. The first approach — the reset — ultimately ends with a deal. The second approach — blocking the rise of China — points to a prolonged and deepening antagonism......but, over the long term, both Washington and Beijing must think more profoundly about “how this ends”.

The Chinese need to recognise that there has been a profound and bipartisan shift in American thinking. So trying to hoodwink Mr Trump or wait him out will ultimately not work. Instead, China has to consider much more significant changes in its policies on everything from forced technology transfer, to the South China Sea. It could be its last chance to head off a long-term confrontation with the Americans.

The US also has some thinking to do. The hawks in Washington are relishing the more overt use of US power in their confrontation with China. But they too need to think about “how this ends”.

It is not realistic to think that the US can ultimately stop China’s rise.
China  China_rising  conflicts  endgame  Huawei  rivalries  security_&_intelligence  superpowers  Thucydides_Trap  rising_powers  grand_strategy  strategic_thinking  U.S.foreign_policy  post-Cold_War  Donald_Trump  confrontations  U.S.-China_relations 
december 2018 by jerryking
After a Hiatus, China Accelerates Cyberspying Efforts to Obtain U.S. Technology - The New York Times
By David E. Sanger and Steven Lee Myers
Nov. 29, 2018

Three years ago, President Barack Obama struck a deal with China that few thought was possible: President Xi Jinping agreed to end his nation’s yearslong practice of breaking into the computer systems of American companies, military contractors and government agencies to obtain designs, technology and corporate secrets, usually on behalf of China’s state-owned firms.

The pact was celebrated by the Obama administration as one of the first arms-control agreements for cyberspace — and for 18 months or so, the number of Chinese attacks plummeted. But the victory was fleeting.

Soon after President Trump took office, China’s cyberespionage picked up again and, according to intelligence officials and analysts, accelerated in the last year as trade conflicts and other tensions began to poison relations between the world’s two largest economies.

The nature of China’s espionage has also changed. The hackers of the People’s Liberation Army — whose famed Unit 61398 tore through American companies until its operations from a base in Shanghai were exposed in 2013 — were forced to stand down, some of them indicted by the United States. But now, the officials and analysts say, they have begun to be replaced by stealthier operatives in the country’s intelligence agencies. The new operatives have intensified their focus on America’s commercial and industrial prowess, and on technologies that the Chinese believe can give them a military advantage.
China  cyberattacks  cyber_security  espionage  intellectual_property  international_trade  U.S.  David_Sanger  industrial_espionage  security_&_intelligence  intelligence_analysts 
november 2018 by jerryking
Computer vision: how Israel’s secret soldiers drive its tech success
November 20, 2018 | Financial Times | Mehul Srivastava in Tel Aviv.
.... those experiences that have helped such a tiny country become a leader in one of the most promising frontiers in the technology world: computer vision. Despite the unwieldy name it is an area that has come of age in the past few years, covering applications across dozens of industries that have one thing in common: the need for computers to figure out what their cameras are seeing, and for those computers to tell them what to do next.........Computer vision has become the connecting thread between some of Israel’s most valuable and promising tech companies. And unlike Israel’s traditional strengths— cyber security and mapping — computer vision slides into a broad range of different civilian industries, spawning companies in agriculture, medicine, sports, self-driving cars, the diamond industry and even shopping. 

In Israel, this lucrative field has benefited from a large pool of engineers and entrepreneurs trained for that very task in an elite, little-known group in the military — Unit 9900 — where they fine-tuned computer algorithms to digest millions of surveillance photos and sift out actionable intelligence. .........The full name for Unit 9900 — the Terrain Analysis, Accurate Mapping, Visual Collection and Interpretation Agency — hints at how it has created a critical mass of engineers indispensable for the future of this industry. The secretive unit has only recently allowed limited discussion of its work. But with an estimated 25,000 graduates, it has created a deep pool of talent that the tech sector has snapped up. 

Soldiers in Unit 9900 are assigned to strip out nuggets of intelligence from the images provided by Israel’s drones and satellites — from surveilling the crowded, chaotic streets of the Gaza Strip to the unending swaths of desert in Syria and the Sinai. 

With so much data to pour over, Unit 9900 came up with solutions, including recruiting Israelis on the autistic spectrum for their analytical and visual skills. In recent years, says Shir Agassi, who served in Unit 9900 for more than seven years, it learned to automate much of the process, teaching algorithms to spot nuances, slight variations in landscapes and how their targets moved and behaved.....“We had to take all these photos, all this film, all this geospatial evidence and break it down: how do you know what you’re seeing, what’s behind it, how will it impact your intelligence decisions?” .....“You’re asking yourself — if you were the enemy, where would you hide? Where are the tall buildings, where’s the element of surprise? Can you drive there, what will be the impact of weather on all this analysis?”

Computer vision was essential to this task....Teaching computers to look for variations allowed the unit to quickly scan thousands of kilometres of background to find actionable intelligence. “You have to find ways not just to make yourself more efficient, but also to find things that the regular eye can’t,” she says. “You need computer vision to answer these questions.”.....The development of massive databases — from close-ups of farm insects to medical scans to traffic data — has given Israeli companies a valuable headstart over rivals. And in an industry where every new image teaches the algorithm something useful, that has made catching up difficult.......“Computer vision is absolutely the thread that ties us to other Israeli companies,” he says. “I need people with the same unique DNA — smart PhDs in mathematics, neural network analysis — to tell a player in the NBA how to improve his jump shot.”
Israel  cyber_security  hackers  cyber_warfare  dual-use  Israeli  security_&_intelligence  IDF  computer_vision  machine_learning  Unit_9900  start_ups  gene_pool  imagery  algorithms  actionable_information  geospatial  mapping  internal_systems  PhDs  drones  satellites  surveillance  autism 
november 2018 by jerryking
Tech companies targeted in mission to develop new spy tools
SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 | Financial Times | David Bond, Security Editor.

an £85m venture capital fund backed by intelligence chiefs. The National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) was announced by chancellor Philip Hammond in last year’s budget to boost investment in the UK’s security technology sector.

This week, the government-owned British Business Bank, which is running the fund, will begin to encourage private fund managers to promote the programme with a view to raising additional money from fund managers and private investors.

It is thought to be the first time the UK’s main intelligence and security agencies, led by the foreign intelligence service MI6, have actively looked to invest in the private sector....To guide companies considering applying for funding, the government has set out 11 “technology areas” that are of greatest interest to the UK national security community, which also includes the domestic security service MI5, digital and signals intelligence agency GCHQ and the National Crime Agency.

These include data analytics and artificial intelligence, technologies to track financial information and new computing tools that highlight or obscure identifying information about individuals and groups.....Warner said last week there was nevertheless “an aversion among civil servants to working with start-ups for fear they will fail”.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Warner added: “Singapore and Norway have shown it is possible for governments to act more like venture capitalists, using sovereign wealth funds to back innovative new players.”
GCHQ  security_&_intelligence  technology  tools  United_Kingdom  venture_capital  InQtel  MI5  MI6  start_ups 
september 2018 by jerryking
Facebook’s Security Chief to Depart for Stanford University
Aug. 1, 2018 | The New York Times| By Sheera Frenkel and Kate Conger.

Alex Stamos, Facebook's Security Chief, will exit this month to join Stanford University in September as an adjunct professor and become part of a faculty working group called Information Warfare where he will examine the role of security and technology in society.....In an internal Facebook post from January Stamos wrote that the company’s security team was being reorganized and would no longer operate as a stand-alone entity. Instead, he wrote, Facebook’s security workers would be more closely aligned with the product and engineering teams and focus either on protecting the company’s corporate infrastructure or its users......Stamos had been working with the Stanford cyberpolicy program for several years and had piloted a “hack lab” class this past spring.....At Stanford, he plans to study the upcoming midterms and the role of technology, as well as election security more broadly and the topic of disinformation. He said he would also look at subjects as basic as passwords and try to reimagine how they could be made more secure.........Mr. Stamos also said Information Warfare was a new working group at Stanford with about 14 faculty members across academic disciplines. The group, which will begin meeting this fall, plans to research information warfare tactics and to develop countermeasures. Mr. Stamos said he planned to teach a class for law and policy students on how hackers attack, with the goal of familiarizing future policymakers with common hacking techniques......Stamos wants to address issues including online child safety and the naming of a country or group responsible for a cyberattack.
cyberattacks  cyber_security  Colleges_&_Universities  disinformation  Facebook  information_warfare  security_&_intelligence  Sheryl_Sandberg  Stanford  political_influence  C-suite  countermeasures  hackers 
august 2018 by jerryking
Why is America so bad at information wars?
JULY 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Gillian Tett.

In his new book Messing With the Enemy, Clint Watts, a former FBI agent, describes this exchange as the first “international-terrorist-versus-counter-terrorist Twitter battle”......One way to make sense of today’s extraordinary cyber battles with the Russians is to look at how jihadi groups developed such campaigns years earlier — not least because this oft-ignored parallel shows how the US government has done a poor job fighting its enemies in cyberspace. “America sucks at information warfare,” Watts laments. “Absolutely sucks.”.....US officials attempted to fight back against Isis’s social media campaigns. Watts reveals that in 2013 while at the FBI — and later as a security consultant — he engaged in a long Twitter duel with American-born terrorist Omar Hammami. Other US intelligence groups tried to develop psychological-operations campaigns to fight the extremists. Some of the experimental techniques used to profile social media users were later deployed in the ad-tech industry by companies such as Cambridge Analytica.

However, the US military was simply too bureaucratic, slow moving and rule-laden to match its enemies. And the country that seemed to learn the most from the social media extremists was Russia: Watts describes how he inadvertently witnessed Russian-backed groups populating American social media from the autumn of 2015 onwards, copying some of the tactics of the Islamists....Watts’s proposed remedy is just as startling: he believes that US government agencies are now so ill-equipped to fight in these type of social media wars that it is time for non-government groups to take the lead instead.....many leading figures in Silicon Valley furtively express similar views. Indeed, some appear to be quietly funding civilian “volunteers” to do exactly what Watts suggests: namely, hunt for ways to counter Russian attacks by infiltrating enemy cyber groups.

Who knows whether this type of grass-roots action will work, or how widespread it might be — everything is deeply murky in the arena of cyberspace and information wars.
Gillian_Tett  information_warfare  U.S.  security_&_intelligence  Twitter  al-Shabab  books  cyber_warfare  Russians  hackers  Russia  disinformation  persuasion  trolls  politics  delegitimization  destabilization  deception  infiltration 
july 2018 by jerryking
Globalised business is a US security issue | Financial Times
Rana Foroohar YESTERDAY

there is a much broader group of people in both the public and the private sector who would like to reverse the economic integration of China and the US for strategic reasons..... a two-day event sponsored late last month by the National Defense University, which brings together military and civilian leaders to discuss the big challenges of the day. Dozens of experts, government officials, and business leaders gathered to talk about the decline in the post-second world war order, the rise of China, and how the US could strengthen its manufacturing and defence industries. The goal would be to create resilient supply chains that could withstand not just a trade war, but an actual war......“If you accept as your starting point that we are in a great power struggle [with China and Russia], then you have to think about securing the innovation base, making viable the industrial base, and scaling it all,”....Included on the event’s reading list was Freedom’s Forge, which outlines the role that US business — notably carmakers — played in gearing up the US for war in the early 1940s. At that time, because of the depth and breadth of the auto industry’s manufacturing and logistical might, the sector was viewed as being just as important to national security as steel and aluminium.

That is not to say the US security community is pro-tariffs or trade war .... But there is a growing group of thoughtful people who believe that American national security interests will require a forcible untangling of the investment and supply chain links between the US and China. They point to high-tech areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, financial technology and biotech as important not only to the military but also for private sector growth.....While America’s military is still figuring out how make sure its supply chains are not controlled by strategic adversaries, the Chinese have played a much more sophisticated long game. The difference can be summed up in two words: industrial policy. China has one. The US doesn’t. The US has always steered away from a formal policy because critics see it as the government “picking winners”. But the Chinese don’t so much pick winners as use a co-ordinated approach to harnessing the technologies they need. They do it not only through investments and acquisitions but also through forced joint ventures, industrial espionage, and cybertheft [jk: predatory practices].....many multinationals were shortening their supply chains even before the current trade conflicts.

It is a trend that will probably speed up. Multinational companies, much more than domestically focused ones, will suffer collateral damage from tariffs. They will also be a major target of Chinese backlash. Anecdotally, this is already leading some groups to shift production from China to other countries, like Vietnam. If the military-industrial complex in the US has its way, those supply chains might move even closer to home.
adversaries  anecdotal  automotive_industry  books  China  China_rising  collateral_damage  cybertheft  economic_integration  industrial_espionage  industrial_policies  military-industrial_complex  multinationals  predatory_practices  Rana_Foroohar  WWII  security_&_intelligence  supply_chains  trade_wars  U.S.  U.S.-China_relations 
july 2018 by jerryking
The AI arms race: the tech fear behind Donald Trump’s trade war with China | Financial Times
Shawn Donnan in Washington YESTERDAY

While the headlines about the Trump administration’s trade war with Beijing often focus on raw materials such as steel, aluminium and soyabeans, the underlying motivation of the new protectionist mood is American anxiety about China’s rapidly growing technological prowess.......
At a time when the US is engaged in a battle for technological pre-eminence with China, the ZGC project is exactly the sort of state-backed Chinese investment that American politicians across the political spectrum view with scepticism.

“China has targeted America’s industries of the future, and President Donald Trump understands better than anyone that if China successfully captures these emerging industries, America will have no economic future,” .....US tariffs on $34bn in imports from China that are due to take effect on Friday as part of a squeeze intended to end what the US says has been years of state-endorsed Chinese intellectual property theft. But it is also part of a broader battle against what the White House has labelled China’s “economic aggression”......Viewed from America, President Xi Jinping’s Made in China 2025 industrial strategy is a state-led effort to establish Chinese leadership in the technologies of the next generation of commerce and military equipment — notably AI, robotics and gene editing.

Many US officials are now questioning one of the basic assumptions about how the American economy operates: its openness to foreign investment....While some technology executives extol the potential for co-operation in areas such as AI, the Washington establishment increasingly sees them as central to a growing geopolitical competition....Many Chinese investors are looking for US companies that they can help move into China. .....Even though Mr Trump’s focus on Chinese technology has strong bipartisan support in Washington, its tactics have been heavily criticised. The biggest blunder, many critics argue, has been the Trump administration’s willingness to wage concurrent trade wars. The IP-driven tariffs push against China has been accompanied by one that has hit allies such as Canada and the EU that might have joined a fight against Beijing.

........“We’re treating the Chinese better than we are treating our friends,” says Derek Scissors, a China expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who sees the tariffs Mr Trump is threatening against European car imports as a similar bit of malpractice.
arms_race  artificial_intelligence  China  CFIUS  Donald_Trump  economic_warfare  economic_aggression  FDI  geopolitics  international_trade  investors  investing  intellectual_property  industrial_policies  protectionism  politicians  robotics  One_Belt_One_Road  security_&_intelligence  Silicon_Valley  SOEs  start_ups  theft  U.S.  venture_capital  Washington_D.C. 
july 2018 by jerryking
Quantum Computing Will Reshape Digital Battlefield, Says Former NSA Director Hayden - CIO Journal. - WSJ
Jun 27, 2018 | WSJ | By Jennifer Strong.

In the ongoing battle between law enforcement and Apple Inc. over whether the company should assist the government in cracking into iPhones, Mr. Hayden says it “surprised a lot of folks that people like me generally side with Apple” and its CEO Tim Cook.

Do you believe there’s a deterrence failure when it comes to cyber threats?

Yes, and it’s been really interesting watching this debate take shape. I’m hearing folks who think we should be more aggressive using our offensive cyber power for defensive purposes. Now that’s not been national policy. We have not tried to dissuade other countries from attacking us digitally by attacking them digitally.

What are your current thoughts on quantum encryption or quantum codebreaking?

When machine guns arrived it clearly favored the defense. When tanks arrived? That favored the offense. One of the tragedies of military history is that you’ve got people making decisions who have not realized that the geometry of the battlefield has changed because of new weapons. And so you have the horrendous casualties in World War I and then you’ve got the French prepared to fight World War I again and German armor skirts the Maginot Line. Now I don’t know whether quantum computing will inherently favor the offense or inherently favor the defense, when it comes to encryption, security, espionage and so on, but I do know it’s going to affect something.

What other emerging technologies are you watching?

Henry Kissinger wrote an article about this recently in which he warned against our infatuation with data and artificial intelligence. We can’t let data crowd out wisdom. And so when I talk to people in the intelligence community who are going all out for big data and AI and algorithms I say, “you really do need somebody in there somewhere who understands Lebanese history, or the history of Islam.”
Michael_Hayden  codebreaking  security_&_intelligence  quantum_computing  NSA  Apple  cyber_security  encryption  cyber_warfare  Henry_Kissinger  wisdom  national_strategies  offensive_tactics  defensive_tactics 
june 2018 by jerryking
Letters responding to Secrets and spies: can espionage ever be justified? | Financial Times
Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy ad...
letters_to_the_editor  espionage  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  politicians  tools  confirmation_bias  Pakistan  François_Mitterrand  from notes
june 2018 by jerryking
Secrets and spies: can espionage ever be justified? | Financial Times
John Lloyd JUNE 22, 2018

The Secret World: A History of Intelligence, by Christopher Andrew, Allen Lane, RRP£35, 896 pages

Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence, by David Omand and Mark Phythian, Georgetown University Press, RRP$32.95/£20, 304 pages

A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean, by Roland Philipps, Bodley Head, RRP£20, 448 pages.

States need information on what their enemies are thinking. But — since “hostile” and “allied” are fluid categories — this applies to friends too. Hence spying has been inseparable from civilisations......The ancient origins of intelligence networks are rarely discussed. ...In the 20th century, and into the 21st, intelligence became organised, routinised and massively funded, especially under the Nazi and Soviet dictatorships. That did not always deliver the intended benefits.
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security_&_intelligence  espionage  books  book_reviews 
june 2018 by jerryking
Trudeau urged to probe Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s role in Canada - The Globe and Mail
ROBERT FIFE , SEAN SILCOFF AND STEVEN CHASE
OTTAWA
PUBLISHED MAY 27, 2018

Andy Ellis, now chief executive of ICEN Group, said the Prime Minister should assemble a team of deputy ministers and top security officials to examine what − if any − threat that Huawei poses in its drive to scoop up and patent 5G technology that draws heavily on the work of Canadian academics.

“If I was Mr. Trudeau, I would say I want all of you in the intelligence community to tell me the length and breadth of what is going on here and to recommend to me some actions that mitigate it … [and] if we are at risk,” he said in an interview Sunday.
5G  Canada  Canadian  security_&_intelligence  telecommunications  China  Chinese  cyber_security  Justin_Trudeau  Huawei  intellectual_property  threats  patents  Colleges_&_Universities 
may 2018 by jerryking
What Keeps Xi Jinping Awake at Night - The New York Times
By Chris Buckley and Paul Mozur

May 11, 2018

The recently released 272-page book of Mr. Xi’s remarks on “national security” includes previously unreleased comments that give a starker view of the president’s motivations than found in most Communist Party propaganda. Here is a selection.

Winning the Technology Race
The recent trade dispute between China and the United States has brought new attention to China’s zeal to become technologically self-reliant. The book shows that Mr. Xi was determined that China master its own microchips, operating systems and other core technologies well before this recent quarrel.

Taming the Internet
Since the introduction of the internet, Chinese Communist Party leaders have worried about its deployment as a means of subversion and spying. A speech on propaganda that Mr. Xi gave in August 2013 suggested he was alarmed by the United States’ surveillance capabilities that were exposed by Edward Snowden.

Racing for a Military Edge
China has been spending heavily to upgrade its military. In a December 2014 speech, though, Mr. Xi warned Chinese military officials that they risked being eclipsed technologically by the United States.

Hidden Financial Risks
China’s leadership has become increasingly forthright about the need to defuse financial risks from growing debt, and comments Mr. Xi made in December 2016 explain why.

Unrest Over Pollution
Mr. Xi has stepped up the Chinese government’s efforts to reduce smog, soil contamination and other pollution. Remarks that Mr. Xi made in May 2013, when China was in the midst of a smog crisis, showed how alarmed he was about public anger and protests, which Chinese officials call “mass incidents.”
Xi_Jinping  China  China_rising  threats  Edward_Snowden  security_&_intelligence  self-reliance  books  Chinese_Communist_Party  financial_risk  subversion  semiconductors  operating_systems  pollution 
may 2018 by jerryking
Are you mentally prepared for a cyber attack?
JULY 5, 2017 | FT | by Madhumita Murgia.

“Cyber attacks are not benign. Even when no one suffers physical harm, the opportunity to cause anxiety and stress, instil fear and disrupt everyday life is immense,”.......journalists write about how companies and governments struggle to cope with the fallout from a cyber attack, but the longer-lasting impact on the human psyche has remained largely unexplored. Clearly, the anxiety prompted by cyber attacks is different from that associated with “traditional” acts of terrorism that cause deaths and injury to civilians. .... “Our analysis suggests that the psychological harm of cyber war can affect wellbeing nonetheless.” Identity theft, online threats of personal harm and the disclosure of confidential data such as medical records can cause significant distress........
........Samir Kapuria, a senior executive at Symantec, a global cyber-security company, is at the frontline of damage control, often helping clients after a cyber crime. He admitted that the corporate world was “in a state of urgency” when it came to dealing with the scale and virality of cyber attacks.

“The early 2000s was an era of mass cyber crime, when viruses like Stuxnet were released to disrupt with criminal intent. Today, with attacks like WannaCry and Petya, we are entering the era of intelligence,” says Kapuria, “moving from locks to surveillance to early detection.”
cyber_security  hackers  cyberthreats  malware  cyberattacks  psychology  panic  viruses  security_&_intelligence  Symantec  identity_theft  left_of_the_boom  surveillance  human_psyche  stressful  disaster_preparedness 
may 2018 by jerryking
Opinion | Michael Hayden: The End of Intelligence - The New York Times
By Michael V. Hayden

Mr. Hayden is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

April 28, 2018
Donald_Trump  Michael_Hayden  security_&_intelligence 
april 2018 by jerryking
Cyberattacks Put Russian Fingers on the Switch at Power Plants, U.S. Says
MARCH 15, 2018 | The New York Times | By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER.

The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.....Russian hacks had taken an aggressive turn. The attacks were no longer aimed at intelligence gathering, but at potentially sabotaging or shutting down plant operations.....Though a major step toward deterrence, publicly naming countries accused of cyberattacks still is unlikely to shame them into stopping. The United States is struggling to come up with proportionate responses to the wide variety of cyberespionage, vandalism and outright attacks.
Russia  security_&_intelligence  cyberattacks  vandalism  cyber_security  power_grid  infrastructure  NSA  vulnerabilities  hackers  U.S._Cyber_Command  David_Sanger  cyberphysical  physical_world 
march 2018 by jerryking
First Skripal, Then NATO - WSJ
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
March 13, 2018

London has long been a favorite place for Putin allies to stash their stolen wealth and conduct their rivalries. Since the attack last week on Sergei Skripal, a former head of Scotland Yard is now calling for investigation of 14 other mysterious, Russia-related deaths........ The West’s risk-aversion in dealing with Mr. Putin is understandable.
Russia  Vladimir_Putin  security_&_intelligence  United_Kingdom  risk-aversion 
march 2018 by jerryking
America’s intelligence agencies find creative ways to compete for talent - Spooks for hire
March 1, 2018 | Economist |

AMERICA’S intelligence agencies are struggling to attract and retain talent. Leon Panetta, a former Pentagon and CIA boss, says this is “a developing crisis”......The squeeze is tightest in cyber-security, programming, engineering and data science.....Until the agencies solve this problem, he says, they will fall short in their mission or end up paying more for expertise from contractors. By one estimate, contractors provide a third of the intelligence community’s workforce.....Part of the problem is the demand in the private sector for skills that used to be needed almost exclusively by government agencies, says Robert Cardillo, head of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). To hire people for geospatial data analysis, he must now compete with firms like Fitbit, a maker of activity-measurement gadgets. .....The NGA now encourages certain staff to work temporarily for private firms while continuing to draw a government salary. After six months or a year, they return, bringing “invaluable” skills to the NGA, Mr Cardillo says. Firms return the favour by quietly lending the NGA experts in app development and database security. .....
war_for_talent  talent  data_scientists  CIA  security_&_intelligence  cyber_security  Leon_Panetta  SecDef  Pentagon  geospatial 
march 2018 by jerryking
Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core
NOV. 12, 2017 | The New York Times | By SCOTT SHANE, NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER.

“These leaks have been incredibly damaging to our intelligence and cyber capabilities,” said Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “The fundamental purpose of intelligence is to be able to effectively penetrate our adversaries in order to gather vital intelligence. By its very nature, that only works if secrecy is maintained and our codes are protected.”
adversaries  data_breaches  hacking  vulnerabilities  counterintelligence  counterespionage  moles  malware  ransomware  Fedex  Mondelez  Edward_Snowden  security_&_intelligence  Russia  Leon_Panetta  NSA  cyber_security  cyber_warfare  cyberweapons  tools  David_Sanger  SecDef  CIA 
november 2017 by jerryking
David Ignatius — Charlie Rose
11/07/2017 | Charlie Rose Show|

David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post, talks about Saudi Arabia, President Trump's China visit, and his new spy novel, Quantum Spy.
G-2  China  Saudi_Arabia  David_Ignatius  U.S.-China_relations  U.S.foreign_policy  Charlie_Rose  interviews  security_&_intelligence  authors  books  quantum_computing  novels  fiction  CIA 
november 2017 by jerryking
Spies Like Us: A Conversation With John le Carré and Ben Macintyre
AUG. 25, 2017 | The New York Times |By SARAH LYALL.

Conversations between John le Carré and Ben Macintyre
fiction  espionage  security_&_intelligence  novels  John_le_Carré  nonfiction 
august 2017 by jerryking
Inside the World of Brad Thor
JULY 20, 2017 | The New York Times | By NICHOLAS KULISH.

The thriller writer Brad Thor, a regular guest, brandished a copy of his own latest volume, “Use of Force.”.....according to his publisher Mr. Thor has sold nearly 15 million copies of his books worldwide. That would be an absolutely extraordinary number in literary circles. In the world of mysteries, suspense novels and thrillers it means he still has a bit of work ahead of him to make that leap to the level of ubiquity and universal name recognition (and yes, Thor is his real name) of a Dan Brown or John Grisham......Ryan Steck, who runs the website The Real Book Spy, said that Mr. Thor’s fans are particularly passionate.
profile  fiction  espionage  security_&_intelligence  writers  novels  books  Brad_Thor 
july 2017 by jerryking
Hacks Raise Fear Over N.S.A.’s Hold on Cyberweapons - The New York Times
By NICOLE PERLROTH and DAVID E. SANGER JUNE 28, 2017

The Petya ransomware attack....was built on cyberweapons (i.e. hacking tools that exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft software) stolen from the NSA in 2016 by Shadow Brokers and made public in April 2017. Now those weapons are being deployed against various U.S. partners include the United Kingdom and Ukraine.....there is growing concern that United States intelligence agencies have rushed to create digital weapons that they cannot keep safe from adversaries or disable once they fall into the wrong hands..... the government “employs a disciplined, high-level interagency decision-making process for disclosure of known vulnerabilities” in software, “unlike any other country in the world.”....Officials fret that the potential damage from the Shadow Brokers leaks could go much further, and the agency’s own weaponry could be used to destroy critical infrastructure in allied nations or in the United States.

“Whether it’s North Korea, Russia, China, Iran or ISIS, almost all of the flash points out there now involve a cyber element,” Leon E. Panetta, the former defense secretary and Central Intelligence Agency chief.....viruses can suddenly mutate into other areas you didn’t intend, more and more,” Mr. Panetta said. “That’s the threat we’re going to face in the near future.”..... ransomware that recently gained the most attention in the Ukraine attack is believed to have been a smoke screen for a deeper assault aimed at destroying victims’ computers entirely. .....Mr. Panetta was among the officials warning years ago of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” that could bring down the American power grid. But he and others never imagined that those same enemies might use the N.S.A.’s own cyberweapons.....rogue actors actors, like North Korea and segments of the Islamic State, who have access to N.S.A. tools who don’t care about economic and other ties between nation states,”.....So long as flaws in computer code exist to create openings for digital weapons and spy tools, security experts say, the N.S.A. is not likely to stop hoarding software vulnerabilities any time soon.
adversaries  CIA  computer_viruses  cyberattacks  cyberthreats  cyberweapons  David_Sanger  exploits  hackers  Leon_Panetta  malware  NSA  North_Korea  Pentagon  power_grid  ransomware  rogue_actors  security_&_intelligence  SecDef  vulnerabilities 
june 2017 by jerryking
Liberals to create new watchdog to oversee spies, security agencies - The Globe and Mail
ANIEL LEBLANC AND MICHELLE ZILIO
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017
oversight  CSIS  CSE  RCMP  security_&_intelligence 
june 2017 by jerryking
U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS - The New York Times
By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT JUNE 12, 2017.

In 2016, U.S. cyberwarriors began training their arsenal of cyberweapons on a more elusive target, internet use by the Islamic State. Thus far, the results have been a consistent disappointment......The effectiveness of the nation’s arsenal of cyberweapons hit its limits against an enemy that exploits the internet largely to recruit, spread propaganda and use encrypted communications, all of which can be quickly reconstituted after American “mission teams” freeze their computers or manipulate their data..... the U.S. is rethinking how cyberwarfare techniques, first designed for fixed targets like nuclear facilities, must be refashioned to fight terrorist groups that are becoming more adept at turning the web into a weapon......one of the rare successes against the Islamic State belongs at least in part to Israel, which was America’s partner in the attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Top Israeli cyberoperators penetrated a small cell of extremist bombmakers in Syria months ago, the officials said. That was how the United States learned that the terrorist group was working to make explosives that fooled airport X-ray machines and other screening by looking exactly like batteries for laptop computers......ISIS' agenda and tactics make it a particularly tough foe for cyberwarfare. The jihadists use computers and social media not to develop or launch weapons systems but to recruit, raise money and coordinate future attacks.

Such activity is not tied to a single place, as Iran’s centrifuges were, and the militants can take advantage of remarkably advanced, low-cost encryption technologies. The Islamic State, officials said, has made tremendous use of Telegram, an encrypted messaging system developed largely in Germany......disruptions often require fighters to move to less secure communications, making them more vulnerable. Yet because the Islamic State fighters are so mobile, and their equipment relatively commonplace, reconstituting communications and putting material up on new servers are not difficult.
ISIS  NSA  security_&_intelligence  disappointment  Israel  encryption  disruption  London  London_Bridge  tools  cyber_security  cyberweapons  vulnerabilities  terrorism  Pentagon  U.S._Cyber_Command  campaigns  David_Sanger 
june 2017 by jerryking
C.I.A. Names the ‘Dark Prince’ to Run Iran Operations, Signaling a Tougher Stance
JUNE 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and ADAM GOLDMAN

Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the C.I.A.’s Iran operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, an appointment that is the first major sign that the Trump administration is invoking the hard line the president took against Iran during his campaign......Mr. D’Andrea took over the agency’s Counterterrorism Center in early 2006 and spent the next nine years directing the hunt for militants around the world........Iran has been one of the hardest targets for the C.I.A. The agency has extremely limited access to the country — no American embassy is open to provide diplomatic cover — and Iran’s intelligence services have spent nearly four decades trying to counter American espionage and covert operations.......Mr. Trump has appointed to the National Security Council hawks eager to contain Iran and push regime change, the groundwork for which would most likely be laid through C.I.A. covert action......Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, was an infantry commander during the early years of the war in Iraq, and he believes that Iranian agents who were aiding Iraqi insurgents were responsible for the deaths of a number of his soldiers. Derek Harvey, the senior director for the Middle East at the council, is also considered an Iran hawk.....
appointments  Iran  covert_operations  CIA  APNSA  security_&_intelligence  Al_Qaeda  NSC  H.R._McMaster  counterterrorism 
june 2017 by jerryking
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