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Finding one person or one nation to blame is just going to waste time.  Focus is on the here and now, and then recovery.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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Although not strictly a National Security risk considered within the realms of MI6 or MI5 jurisdiction at least, with COVID-19, almost everything is a National Security risk.  It is after all a foreign body that is killing British Citizens, so it sort of fits the bill.  A potential problem we have been keeping a watchful eye on is the condition of the prisoners and the prison system in general.  We have only just had our first confirmed case of Coronavirus in a Prison, Strangeways in Manchester, which is remarkable. Not because its in Manchester, but that this has not happened well before now.  Other countries have reacted differently, with some releasing prisoners for fears of ‘cluster amplification’.  A term used by Professor Richard Coker, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and quoted in a

 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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At times like these, finding someone to blame or accusing various Governments or Organisations of acting too late or irresponsibly is a luxury one can only afford in times..... not like these.  Of course, there will be criticisms, there will conspiracy theories and who knows, maybe some of them might be true.  But what remains, is what it is.  So the UK Government will be trying to find a fair balance between delivering some positive soundbites (the 'noble lies' we referred to) and keeping order, and the mammoth task of committing resources at the right time and in the right places.

 

Of course, this is a war.  It is a war we have been preparing for and a war which unlike in previous years

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OSINT and HUMINT Software..Why wait...start 'panning' now!

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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Open Source Intelligence and Human Intelligence are two data gathering sources the intelligence services use to find relevant information.  As the name implies, OSINT will consist of data sets normally found in sources freely available, and more specifically, on the web.  Connectivity and cross-analysis are also terms synonimous with these methods of intelligence gathering and the aim of the Intelligence Officer will be to join the dots to increase the probability of relationships existing and having greater statisitical significance. 

If you are considering a career in Intelligence, and specificlly in a role as a Data Analyst or Intelligence Officer for MI6, then start becoming familiar with OSINT software, for example Maltego 4.2.  It doesn't have to be that one in particular, but Paterva have designed a highly functional platform here to really drill down the data sets, and find maps and graphs that are easily interchangeable and allow useful visual cues as to the importance of different variables in an investigation.  So, our advice would be to START NOW.  You will need to do as much as you can to put yourself ahead, so speaking several languages and wanting to change the world may not simply be enough. Graduates are a fiercely competitive bunch and so if this is a career you are serious about, then start familiarising yourself with some of the basic tools.  Of course as you enter through the gates of the Vauxhall building (or Manchester or wherever you are stationed), you will of course eventually get access to the Aladdins cave of analysts treasure in the form of closed sources of intelligence.  MI6's own vault containing the really interesting data and tools for assessment.  But, baby steps, and no more so than starting with the wide array of intelligence gathering software already available on the market.  Take your time to research what you want to use and most importantly, what it is you want to get out of the software.

In essence, the goal should be to seemlessly bridge the gap between human sourced intelligence (HUMINT) and the mountains of data you have available.  If the future is data, and data really is more valuable now than gold, then think of using these sources and software as panning for gold.  It will sift away the dirt and useless material and leave you (hopefully) with something that will assist you and your fellow officers to achieve your goals. For the 'developers' out there, this is an ever expanding area, full of demand for new ways of improving the software available as processes and technologies change.  So, familiarity with what is available now on the open market (in essence the already 'old stuff') can do no harm.

The 'tap on the shoulder works'. Don't call us, we'll call you.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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There are some very good, and more obvious reasons why the tap on the shoulder method of recruitment works. It has been used since the begiining and will continue to be used in the future.  It works.  Why?  Apart from the obvious i.e the avoidance of "walk in's" which therefore eliminates the prospects of a double agent entering the organisation, there are less obvious, more subtle (less Policitcally Correct) benefits.  We recently wrote about the "Buddhist Spy" and highlighted how removing temptation from an Intelligence (or Operational) Officer as well as an Agent, was often critical in aiding autonomy in the field, as well as trust.  The process of targeting an asset for recrutiment is of course completley different and conducted by entirely different people compared to those involved in the more 'vanilla' graduate recrutiment campaigns.  That said, there are some cross-overs.  There are also some serious deficiencies and limitations to the more exclusionary Oxbridge focussed pool of candidates.  In essence there is no one way.  There are lots of types needed to fit into an organisation like MI6 or MI5, and representatives from all walks of life and parts of society will be included.  The days of Kim Philby certainly highlighted how 6 can get caught with their draws down in Oxford and Cambridge, and indeed they did...in some cases literally.  Things probably have not changed that much and there will still be the ususal contingent of 'Russian Reps' walking the cobbled paths of Trinity.  It all depends on the job in hand. 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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Cultural Intelligence is an aspect of our work that is going to become increasingly important.  There is something of a paradox at play in the tech and fintech world at the moment which means that we are bound to see borders (geographical and metaphorical) blurred more and more as markets promote decentralisation.  At the same time, the nature of technology is going to then create individuals who are essentially technological and data driven power houses. As decentralisation develops and we see banks

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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Exponential Intelligence¹ is a term we coined to represent the application of current models of Exponential Digitization and the 6 D's, to specific practical use within the Intelligence Services.  More pertinently perhaps, our studies have allowed us to develop a clearly defined process which builds on mainstream models but applies to the future of secret intelligence and how to be better armed.  Stacking the odds in your favour, is one way of describing it.  Some will argue that Exponentialism is not a concept the human mind can truly comprehend, however, 'we' do understand process and ironically for us, historically, predicitve tools have always been based on linear thinking. Put simply, if we know that exponential growth is unpredictable given its rate of change, we can atleast start with the basic truth, that future growth will be unpredicatble and will not be defined so greatly on past events.  From that vanilla premise, we can build.  And we have. That is what we refer to as Exponential Intelligence (EXINT). 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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There are many ways to recruit a spy.  Certainly too many to cover in an article such as this. It really depends on who the particular intelligence agency is looking for, which organization, and what its objective is. Different Intelligence Agencies really do have different cultural DNA and veer from the military focussed, regimented, top heavy structures, to more philosophical, poetic, thougtful agencies who prefer the creative media digitised world.  It take all sorts as they say.  I know what I think works best, but really the only measure is success and nothing much else.  It will come as no surprise that some methods are more or less well publicized than others.  For SIS in particular, given that the organization did not officially exist until 1994, many of the methods used for recruitment are, for obvious reasons, still closely guarded secrets.  Graduate recruitment is one thing, but developing a potential (currently operational) agent is another, especially if they are already in full time professional employment or indeed, working for another intelligence agency. 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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The anonyminityy aspect of Cryptocurrency was certainly mis-sold to quite a large degree on inception.  At the very least it was exaggerated. Of course even with blockchain, onion routing, ring signatures and public ledger obscurity, law enforcement got access and by-passed them all.  So, the war on data continues. They want privacy, we don't want them to have it (well, not officially any way).  In the same way it did with drugs, there will always be an element of 'tail catching'.  If you can't stop a war and the sheer existence of the goal perpetuates it, then accept it.  Perhaps settling to steer its direction is more achievable and resource saving insread?  If a party is private, and it is going to happen regardless, then isn't it better to get an invitation, meet the guests, see who's who, but still enjoy the odd amuse bouche? Monero and Zcash are the latest entrants, which almost certainly means they are already old hat. In any event, the money transfers that really need to be kept private...are kept private, Read More.

Courtesy of Prof. Juan Carmena (Virutalenses Inc,).  Contact for further details.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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The concept is not particularly new, but as with all concepts, it takes time for the technology to catch up.  In the 1960's the battle was on for Space.  Now, the battles are fought daily and in boardrooms and labs from East to West.  With DARPA on the one hand facilitating research into Neurprosthetics in the US, on the other the "Military-Civil" fusion in China works on Research through the China Defence Universities, a concern for most Intelligenvce Agencies, and undoubtedly doing the same.  Somewhere inbetween, the 'cash-strapped' Russians play catch-up.  Of course the UK has had its own waterered down version of DARPA through Innovate UK (sorry...but it is).  This  is set to change and has been on the cards for many years, but on this occassion it looks like Boris Johnson will be the one to unveil the new entity.  Whatever form it takes, it really needs to ensure the seals are tight on this one, as there are no room for leaks in todays Innovation Wars.  ........

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So, what is a visual neuroprosthetic? The audio version is probably more well known as the Cochlear Implant i.e. a relay between the hearing aid and neural network in the Cochlear to aide hearing.  The same is the case with a visual neuroprosthetic.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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How to be honest and diplomatic at the same time.  Recruiting an MI6 employee is relativley easy compared to keeping an MI6 employee,  or indeed within any intelligence service....maybe with the exception of MOSSAD (they may well have their own less liberal incentive structures).  Think of an MI6 employee as a pilot in the Airforce.  The taxpayer spends millions on training them, they love the thought of flying and a good dogfight, serving their nation, they train for years, then end up flying charter aircraft for tourists to Tenerife every summer, retire with high blood pressure and wonder what the hell happened.  It's life  It will happen to most people in a hard profession.  Ideology is a luxury.  Having it, implies choice.  Not everyone has choice.  Joining for these reasons alone, will not keep you in MI6.  When ideology goes it has to be replaced with another luxury item.  Money? Ego? Power? Maybe even Revenge.  Cynical comments maybe, but quite possibly simply realistic ones.  Losing an MI6 employee of sufficient rank is a huge risk and one which has faced MI6 since its inception.  In todays climate, ideology is watered down when compared to the sheer 

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Contributors

At SISS we have taken the decision to include contributions from experts and influencers in fields related to the Intelligence Community.  We invite contributions from academics, researchers, industry professionals and journalists to publish their work anonymously.  That is after some editorial checks.  In the past we have had written input from senior members of the Worlds largest Intelligence Agencies as well as some smaller, less known organisations.  The list is growing, and we still welcome contributions from PIA's and independantly run Business Intelligence firms and managers, who have something to say that might be of interest.  As with all the content and services on our site, there are no charges and the information where appropriate is for public consumption.  If you would like to becomes part of the contributors team, then please click here.

Biometric ID's and Biospoofing..

with one comes the other.

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Contributor 34_1 - Senior Researcher (Biotech)
SISS  March 2019

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Would you give your bank card PIN number to a nurse or a receptionist at your local GP’s surgery?  If you were involved in an accident, apart from the doctors and nurses who help you, what about the people who clean the debris off the road or the ambulance driver? 

 

What if you were in a crowded place and felt a small pin prick sensation on your arm? Maybe this all sounds a bit too far-fetched?  The problem is, if someone has thought about it, then the chances are it’s already being planned and dealt with.  What if any one of these examples is tantamount to giving potential hackers direct access to you bank account? 

 

At any point in time human beings rely on ‘currency’ in some form or another i.e. having something you do not just own, but have in your possession, that is of value to someone else.  Furthermore, a currency does not just rely on physically having control of a possession of value, it is useless without transportation of some description.  That is to say, if you have an item, whether it is a £50 note, a computer you’re looking to sell, or even an online account with funds in it; it is all worthless unless you can transport, or transfer, ownership to someone else.  To take an extreme example, if you want to sell your house to release some capital, having the house and agreeing to sell it is pointless unless you sign on the dotted line and exchange deeds.  It seems obvious right? Well it sort of is, at least the problem is.  The solution is a little more complicated.

So, going back to those graphic examples at the beginning, the development of biometric systems will mean your blood could easily satisfy the definition of a currency just like any other.  Think about it, we know it can be transported, so that’s the first box ticked, and if we assume most people have a bank account with money in it, then it is also valuable.  That is, if your bank account can be accessed using biometric data from your DNA or blood samples.  Which if it isn’t now, is certainly going to be in the not too distant future in some form or another.

 

These concerns have given rise to various schools of analysis covering a topic of something now called “biometric spoofing”.  It is as the name suggests.  It is the use of biometric data gathered from sources such as fingerprints, facial recognition, blood samples and iris recognition (to name just a few), to securely identify an individual and verify access.  Academic studies both here and in the US as well as countries in Europe such as Sweden are trying to analyse the potential consequences of security breaches which may well ensue.  At the same time, the enemy they are fighting is not just the ‘spoofer’ or the ‘hacker’, it is time itself.  As technology grows at a faster and exponential pace, then scientists and strategists are going to struggle to keep pace with these changes.  In industries or organisations where security is paramount to human safety, it is not enough to analyse the consequences of the steep exponential growth curve.  Instead, it must do all it can to stay ahead of it.  In this article we examine some of the relevant data associated with this topic and the possible implications. Read More.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

Politcal but more importantly, public, changes in Europe, notably Italy, Poland, Germany and others over recent years are causing increasing concern.  The rise of the far right 'neo-fascist' movements is gathering momentum and the usual diplomatic routes to entry are not having enough success.  When compared to the US, Europe in terms of size and number of (federal' like countries) is tiny.  However, the difference in political ideology goes much further than any Route 66.  Their brains tick differently and their histories are such, that even the closest of their neighbrours, struggles to learn what drives them, although clearly in the case of Poland, religion is a huge driver.  One well known far right rperesentative recently told his members that the reason Poland did not have much in the way of terrorism was because of their belief in God and more importantly, their family values.  Seemingly in a time warp, these are commonly held views and ones that will drive the current movements.  On the flip side, the country is riddled with alchoholism, drug related crime and (as with nearly all mainly Catholic countries) has a burgeoning and influential organised crime network.  Which is quite possibly more responsible for low terrorism levels than God himself?  Either way, there is a vast difference between Poland and even its more tech savvy neighbour Estonia and friends across the river in Helsinki.  Many of their neighbours are moving forward and constantly looking to reform and develop, as opposed to the Poles who remain very much a defensive nation.  One, which quite understandably, still bears the scars of both wars.  So, in these sorts of countries, especially ones with such strategic geo-political importance, intelligence gathering on the ground will prove more successful than current conventional cyber strategies.  Let's not forget also, it was not that long ago that the UK had its own issues with the trade unions and, in our case, far left movements which also required physical infiltration, a long time before cyber-surveillance.  So there are comparisons.  If the time bombs are ticking in countries like Italy, Germay and Poland, then the Intelligence Agencies will have planned and prepared for these events well before now. Read More

SIS MISSION STATEMENT

The Secret Intelligence Service works secretly overseas, and develops foreign contacts to gather intelligence that makes the UK safer and more prosperous. SIS helps the UK pick out and develop opportunities as well as manage risks to national security, military resources and the economy.

 

SIS works worldwide to counter terrorism, resolve international conflict and help stop the spread of nuclear and other non-conventional weapons. SIS is here to help protect the UK’s people, economy and its interests.

In terms of its Mission, the Secret Intelligence Service describes it as:

"Our mission is to provide Her Majesty's Government with a global covert capability. We collect secret intelligence and mount operations overseas to prevent and detect serious crime, and promote and defend the national security and economic wellbeing of the United Kingdom. We work closely with the MI5 and GCHQ, and the secret nature of our work means we operate within a strict legal framework and report to government ministers. It takes people from a wide range of backgrounds with a variety of different skills to help counter the increasing number of threats to the UK. But they all share the same mission – to protect the country, its people and interests."​

THE SECRET INTELLIGENCE SERVICE

To echo the words of the Chief Mr Alex Younger, SIS is working hard to prepare for the next generation of intelligence work in an ever changing technology driven world.  Artificial Intelligence, 3D Printing, Robotics, Bio-metric systems, driverless cars and a global eco-system are all examples of the key areas of development growing at exponential rates.  The seemingly seamless secret shift to singularity?  Maybe we are not quite there yet, but the success of global intelligence rests on truly understanding and harnessing the potential of exponential, digitised, growth.  Unlike corporate counterparts, intelligence agencies are going to become increasingly reliant on firstly, accurately measuring the rate of exponential growth and its direction, and secondly, being able to stay ahead of the 'exponential curve' in what is an unforgiving business.  Read more about how SIS can reserve its seat on the inevitable journey towards singularity as it uses all its resources to keep our country safe and prosperous. 

UK Government & Intelligence Structure

Prime Minister
Boris Johnson
Foreign Secretary
Dominic Raab
Home Secretary
Priti Patel
Defence Secretary
Ben Wallace
Cabinet Secretary
Sir Jeremy Heywood
Secret
Intelligence
Service
External Threats
GCHQ
Code Breaking & Encryption
Security Service (MI5)
Internal Threats
Defence
Intelligence
Staff
Threat Assessment
Joint
Intelligence
Committee
Set Priorities

THE UK INTELLIGENCE NETWORK

MI5 - Military Intelligence (Section 5)

Director General - Andrew Parker, reports to Home Office Minister Sajid Javid

MI5's states that its "mission is to keep the country safe, both now and in the future. The organisation's values contribute to that mission: Its singular focus on the mission, striving for real results that make the country safer.

 

Working as one as MI5, bringing together in common purpose the best that everyone can give, supporting colleagues and treating each other with respect, and forging close partnerships and teams with others we depend upon." It operates under the highest standards of integrity, objectivity and sense of proportion, using great skills, expertise and experience; to produce high quality information management, a strong security culture and commitment to the rule of law.  Ethical conduct, accountability and compliance within its own procedures, is a cornerstone of MI5's mission and culture.  The service is constantly seeking new ideas and different approaches to advance its capabilities, improve its ways of working, and overcome obstacles to its success. Learning and development and sharing knowledge is embedded in this culture and is vital towards the success of MI5.

MI6 - Secret Intelligence Service (Section 6)

Chief - Alex Younger CMG, reports to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

 

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), commonly known as MI6, is the foreign intelligence service of the government of the United Kingdom, tasked mainly with the covert overseas collection and analysis of human intelligence (HUMINT) in support of the UK's national security. SIS is a member of the country's intelligence community and its Chief is accountable to the country's Foreign Secretary.

 

Formed in 1909 as a section of the Secret Service Bureau specialising in foreign intelligence, the section experienced dramatic growth during World War I and officially adopted its current name around 1920.  The name MI6 (meaning Military Intelligence, Section 6) originated as a flag of convenience during World War II, when SIS was known by many names; it is still commonly used today. The existence of SIS was only officially acknowledged in 1994 with the introduction of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 (ISA), which placed the organisation on a statutory footing for the first time and provides the legal basis for its operations. Today, SIS is subject to public oversight by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

GCHQ - Government Communications Headquarters

Director - Jeremy Fleming, reports to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is an intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the government and armed forces of the United Kingdom. Based in "The Doughnut" in the suburbs of Cheltenham, GCHQ is the responsibility of the country's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, but it is not a part of the Foreign Office and its director ranks as a Permanent Secretary.  GCHQ was originally established after the First World War as the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and was known under that name until 1946. During the Second World War it was located at Bletchley Park, where it was responsible for breaking of the German Enigma codes. Currently there are two main components of the GCHQ, the Composite Signals Organisation (CSO), which is responsible for gathering information, and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is responsible for securing the UK's own communications.

GCHQ is led by the Director of GCHQ, currently Jeremy Fleming, and a Corporate Board, made up of executive and non-executive directors. Reporting to the Corporate Board is:​

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  • Sigint missions: comprising maths and cryptanalysis, IT and computer systems, linguistics and translation, and the intelligence analysis unit

  • Enterprise: comprising applied research and emerging technologies, corporate knowledge and information systems, commercial supplier relationships, and biometrics

  • Corporate management: enterprise resource planning, human resources, internal audit, and architecture

  • Communications-Electronics Security Group​​

DIS - Defence Intelligence Staff

Chief - Air Marshal Philip Osborn, reports to Ministry of Defence and Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt

Defence Intelligence (DI) is an organisation within the United Kingdom intelligence community which focuses on gathering and analysing military intelligence. It differs from the UK's intelligence agencies (MI6, GCHQ and MI5) in that it is not a stand-alone organisation, but is an integral part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The organisation employs a mixture of civilian and military staff and is funded within the UK's defence budget. The organisation was formerly known as the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), but changed its name in 2009.

 

The primary role of Defence Intelligence is that of 'all-source' intelligence analysis. This discipline draws information from a variety of overt and covert sources to provide the intelligence needed to support military operations, contingency planning, and to inform defence policy and procurement decisions. The maintenance of the ability to give timely strategic warning of politico-military and scientific and technical developments with the potential to affect UK interests is a vital part of the process. DI's assessments are used outside the MoD to support the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) and to assist the work of other Government departments (OGDs) and international partners (such as NATO and the European Union). It is this 'all-source' function which distinguishes Defence Intelligence from other organisations such as SIS and GCHQ which focus on the collection of 'single-source' Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) respectively. As such Defence Intelligence occupies a unique position within the UK intelligence community.  Defence Intelligence also performs an intelligence collection function, primarily through the military capabilities lodged within the Joint Forces Intelligence Group (created in 2012 from what was formerly known as the Intelligence Collection Group or ICG).

Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)

Chair - Charles Farr

 

The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) is an interagency deliberative body responsible for intelligence assessment, coordination and oversight of the Secret Intelligence Service, Security Service, GCHQ and Defence Intelligence. The JIC is supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation under the Cabinet Office.

The JIC is responsible for:

  • assessing events and situations relating to external affairs, defence, terrorism, major international criminal activity, scientific, technical and international economic matters and other transnational issues, drawing on secret intelligence, diplomatic reporting and open source material

  • to monitor and give early warning of the development of direct and indirect threats and opportunities in those fields to British interests or policies and to the international community as a whole

  • to keep under review threats to security at home and overseas and to deal with such security problems as may be referred to it

  • to contribute to the formulation of statements of the requirements and priorities for intelligence gathering and other tasks to be conducted by the intelligence agencies

  • to maintain oversight of the intelligence community’s analytical capability through the Professional Head of Intelligence Analysis

  • to maintain liaison with Commonwealth and foreign intelligence organisations as appropriate, and to consider the extent to which its product can be made available to them

 

The JIC has three functions:

  • Advising the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers on intelligence collection and analysis priorities in support of national objectives.

  • Periodically scrutinises the performance of the Agencies in meeting the collection requirements placed upon them.

  • Assuring the professional standards of civilian intelligence analysis staff across the range of intelligence related activities in Her Majesty's Government.

The Private Intelligence Agency - A U.S Phenomenon?

According to a New York Times article, 70% of the USA’s intelligence budget now goes to private sector intelligence companies.  This is a relatively new phenomenon and does not hold true in the UK to that degree. Most people spend many years working in intelligence in the public sector, including typical agencies such as the CIA or MI6 but also military or police operations, before transferring to the private sector.  The private intelligence sector can be harder to break into than public intelligence and most people break into the private sector first having worked publicly, although there are entry-level jobs as well. Intelligence requires very specific personalities. Much, if not most, of the work is research based. These jobs will often involve some travel and an extensive amount of regional and country knowledge. Find out more about job opportunities.  Read More. 

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

There have been many many articles written on this subject, and documentaries made.  It will sell until the cows come home for one reason.  It is about us.  Attempts have been made, some more for appearance, in assessing the dangers of another US election being affected.  Many meetings have been held at senior levels and suggestions made as to how we can avoid it happening again.

 

Here’s one hypothesis.  It will never stop happening.  It is far too late for that.  Cruz was the loss leader, the one the pushers used to get the US hooked on the data drug, and the Trump administration piled in.  The relationship between money, greed and power (and therefore information) has probably been around since the beginning of time.  Why on earth would we be surprised if this continued, and not only continued, but got more sophisticated?  Julian Wheatmand, the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica was recently quoted as saying “I’m pretty sure nobody’s thinking of trying to start it up again under a different guise”.  The word that stands out there is “pretty”.  Come on Julian, who are you trying to kid?

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Institute for Economics & Peace. Global Terrorism Index 2019: Measuring the Impact of Terrorism, Sydney, November 2019. Available from: http://visionofhumanity.org/reports

The latest Global Terrorism Index data shows Incidents of far-right terrorism have been increasing in the West, particularly in Western Europe, North America, and Oceania and the three largest politically motivated terrorist attacks in the West in the last 50 years have been perpetuated by far-right extremists.Full Report

The current environment will open up opportunities for leaders, corporations and individuals to oush through hidden agenda..In plain sight, yet not seem.

 

Where the virus came from and why it happened when it did, is so far an unanswered question.  At this stage however, those sorts of questions are secondary.  The focus has to be on what is happening now and ensuring the pandemic protocols are being adhered to whilst at the same time, flexible enough to allow for unexpected events.There seems to be a consensus in the medical world that this was not a result of any advanced bioweapon designed at the bio level super laboratory in Wuhan.   Without the facts, it is simply speculation. What has been concerning is witnessing how different sections of the hugely influential social media are dealing with this.  In an age of ever-increasing mistrust, especially from the younger generation and their view of Government, social media companies including Facebook take on board a social responsibility, albeit unaccountable. 

AML Loopholes - Update

We are pleased that Paxful, the company we mentioned in our reports, some 18 months ago, seem to have filled in the AML gaps in their processes.  We had highlighted the ease with which anyone could simply purchase gift cards (in reasonable size) and convert them to bitcoin through their peer-to-peer software. It was 100% untraceable if done correctly.  There are still other methods being used out there, but Paxful have added a simple additional, needed layer, to confirm ID.  So well done Youssef, this was something they had not done before. Paxful (Youssef) began not as silicon valley entreprenneurs, but more socially conscious Robin Hoods.  Now with stricter AML in place, they don't have to do business with the Sherrif of Nottingham any  more.

The Snowden Assange Legacy..

If they managed to get the US Govt. to do one thing following the mass surveillance watershed, it was to kick-start a rise of PIA's and specilaist firms such as Cambridge Analytica, to do what they could no longer get away with.  But,  apart from the 'consent' technicality, was data gathering on indivduals really that bad?  Wasn't it just scaled up market research?

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

How to be honest and diplomatic at the same time.  Recruiting an MI6 employee is relativley easy compared to keeping an MI6 employee,  or indeed within any intelligence service....maybe with the exception of MOSSAD (they may well have their own less liberal incentive structures).  Think of an MI6 employee as a pilot in the Airforce.  The taxpayer spends millions on training them, they love the thought of flying and a good dogfight, serving their nation, they train for years, then end up flying charter aircraft for tourists to Tenerife every summer, retire with high blood pressure and wonder what the hell happened.  It's life  It will happen to most people in a hard profession.  Ideology is a luxury.  Having it, implies choice.  Not everyone has choice.  Joining for these reasons alone, will not keep you in MI6.  When ideology goes it has to be replaced with another luxury item.  Money? Ego? Power? Maybe even Revenge.  Cynical comments maybe, but quite possibly simply realistic ones.  Losing an MI6 employee of sufficient rank is a huge risk and one which has faced MI6 since its inception.  In todays climate, ideology is watered down when compared to the sheer 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

Ask the man (or woman) on the street what the Internet Society is and what it does.  It might go quiet. There are a handful of companies globally that influence the direction of internet and telecommunications, for example, the Project Coordination Group (PCG) is one, and of course, the Internet Society est. 1991 whose motto is "The internet is for everyone". Well ok that’s not strictly true though is it.  Ask the 100’s of people banished from Twitter for ever, for seemingly innocuous non-pc comments.  Nestled only 2Km from the Penatgon, the IOS states its aim (as with many non-profit organisations) is to develop leadership in internet-related standards, education, access, and policy.  But it only has 65,000 members and according to Wikipedia it has $1.1bn in cash holdings (unaudited) and a hefty $42m endowment from numerous sources.  So there is a very large amount of money, which presumably has some flow through it too, but with a membership base which is not exactlyvery representative.  Also, The Internet Society is a U.S. 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization.  So, we have money in size.  We have flow¹, presumably in size too, a relaitvely non-accountable body, charged with shaping the future of the internet, next door to the US Goverment and CIA .  What could possibly go wrong?  In the interests of well thought out research and objective work, let’s remove the head gasket and work our way down to the pistons of this particular machine. Full Article

¹ The term 'flow' refers to the flow of money or assets, generally in size.  Flow is sought out by larger instituional investors on the global markets for legitimate pruposes eg. to enter or exit a market or investment without having problems with placement or prices quoted.  It is often a sign of a healthy market and economy.  That said, criminal organisations also require flow in order to 'hide' their transactions so they appear inconsequencial, or 'remora like' i.e people use flow to hide in the shadows.

Is this a taster before the main course?

SISS  22.03.20
Secret Intelligence - Politics

Being cynical is not attractive.  It's certainly not a character trait most politicians would choose to display publicly.  No one likes a dull, gloomy politician after all, especially one who is only interested in facts, tangible evidence, logic and is a team player.  That is why there is a civil service which, although not the core ‘check or balance’ of the executive, is in reality a crucial layer that stands between ego and the manifestation of that ego, which is normally influenced by populism.  Without the cynics, realists, skeptics, what ever you want to call them, the machine really would grind more slowly in times of trouble like these.  Being the ever cautious type might result in being wrong nine out of ten times, but when the type of decisions being talked about are so monumnetaloly important, one would settle for being right just one of those times.  Rather a bruised ego for only getting one out of ten, but a fair price given the reward.  From such characteristics contingency plans are born.  Which is one reason we cannot hand on heart, or even with a responsible logical  head on, discount the prospect that atleast some element of this may have been orchestrated and then simply got out of control

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Either way whatever your position, one cannot help but feel this is the ‘warm up’ act.  Without wanting to sound flippant, if this was the ‘amuse bouche’ with the main course still yet to come. Then what lessons are being learnedt?  Given that nearly every corner of the world has had the success or failure of its contingency arrangements tested, then the answer would have to be, a great deal.  This particular strain of Corona is new for sure and is said to be 10-15 times deadlier than seasonal flu, but compared to other pandemics, the fatality rate is still relatively low.  A politician would never be heard saying that though.  Instead, all measures must be put into action to help the weakest members of society, and even the stronger and younger members, to ride through this.  But let us not kid ourselves.  You can guarantee that, as in all wars, collateral damage has been factored in and any emotion or sentiment has to be put aside.  Such is the job of ‘those in charge’.  With that in mind, the most valuable outcome of the COVID-19 virus will be data.  Invaluable data which will be used for the ‘big one’.  May be this writer is cycnial and skeptical and even the mere suggestion things are not as they seem is tantamount to irresponsibility.  But hopefully the corridors of power both here and throughout most sane responsible governments around the globe are filled with people who question, question, and then question some more.  To answer those questions requires a steady hand and most importantly of all, intelligence and data. 

Blockchain. Crypto was the warm up....how tech development works in the real world.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

Blockchain technology is now entering its teenage years, and yet the general public still either knows very little about it, or assumes it is "something to do with bitcoin". (that's the most common one).  The exact origins will probably never be known for sure, but its application in numerous other industries and systems is more certain.  If we simply follow the money, we can see where the investment is currently taking place and it is not just financial markets.  Plans are already in the pipeline for the next generation where blockchain laid the foundations, and where aspirations go somewhat higher than just bitcoin. 

The Human Stock Market....

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SISS  22.03.20
Secret Intelligence - Politics

Replace “Human Being” with “Data Packet”.  You may well have heard the oft used phrase that ‘data is now as valuable as Gold’.  The question is how and if so, where is this heading?  We will come on to that a little later, but for now it would be useful to familiarize ourselves with some other key issues in the world of human data first. We have already written about the problem, and what will likely be, the increasing problem of Bio Spoofing or Bio Leaks.  In short, this is the stealing of a person’s biological identity in order to gain illegal access to money, data, facilities etc.  The most well-known forms are recognition systems which use retinal imagery, facial or fingerprint identity, and perhaps fewer known sources such as your veins, heartbeat speeds and the DNA from your blood. 

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Finding one person or one nation to blame is just going to waste time.  Focus is on the here and now, and then recovery.

Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20

At times like these, finding someone to blame or accusing various Governments or Organisations of acting too late or irresponsibly is a luxury one can only afford in times..... not like these.  Of course, there will be criticisms, there will conspiracy theories and who knows, maybe some of them might be true.  But what remains, is what it is.  So the UK Government will be trying to find a fair balance between delivering some positive soundbites (the 'noble lies' we referred to) and keeping order, and the mammoth task of committing resources at the right time and in the right places.

 

Of course, this is a war.  It is a war we have been preparing for and a war which unlike in previous years

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The 'tap on the shoulder works'. Don't call us, we'll call you.

There are some very good, and more obvious reasons why the tap on the shoulder method of recruitment works. It has been used since the begiining and will continue to be used in the future.  It works.  Why?  Apart from the obvious i.e the avoidance of "walk in's" which therefore eliminates the prospects of a double agent entering the organisation, there are less obvious, more subtle (less Policitcally Correct) benefits.  We recently wrote about the "Buddhist Spy" and highlighted how removing temptation from an Intelligence (or Operational) Officer as well as an Agent, was often critical in aiding autonomy in the field, as well as trust.  The process of targeting an asset for recrutiment is of course completley different and conducted by entirely different people compared to those involved in the more 'vanilla' graduate recrutiment campaigns.  That said, there are some cross-overs.  There are also some serious deficiencies and limitations to the more exclusionary Oxbridge focussed pool of candidates.  In essence there is no one way.  There are lots of types needed to fit into an organisation like MI6 or MI5, and representatives from all walks of life and parts of society will be included.  The days of Kim Philby certainly highlighted how 6 can get caught with their draws down in Oxford and Cambridge, and indeed they did...in some cases literally.  Things probably have not changed that much and there will still be the ususal contingent of 'Russian Reps' walking the cobbled paths of Trinity.  It all depends on the job in hand. 

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Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
Secret Intelligence - Politics
SISS  22.03.20
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