Showing posts with label Intelligence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Intelligence. Show all posts

Sunday, June 04, 2023

A secret meeting of the leaders of the world's major intelligence services in Singapore

    Sunday, June 04, 2023   No comments

Five people told Reuters that senior officials from about two dozen of the world's top intelligence agencies held a secret meeting on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Security Dialogue meetings in Singapore earlier this week.

They added that these meetings are organized by the Singapore government and held secretly in a separate location, as well as the security summit for several years. These meetings have not been previously disclosed.

US Director of National Intelligence Avril Heinz participated in the secret meeting representing the United States, while China was among the countries present, despite the state of tension between the two great powers.

An Indian source said Samant Goel, director of India's intelligence service, Research and Analysis Wing, also attended the meeting.

“The meeting is an important component of the international shadow agenda,” said a person familiar with the discussions. “Looking at the group of countries involved, this is not an intelligence meeting, but rather a way to advance a deeper understanding of the intent.”

"There is an unspoken code among the intelligence services that they can talk when they find it difficult to communicate and engage in diplomacy," he said. "It's a very important factor during times of tension, and the Singapore meeting helps reinforce that."

The five sources who discussed the meetings declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.

A spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Defense said that while attending the Shangri-La Security Dialogue, "participants, including senior officials from intelligence agencies, take the opportunity to meet with their counterparts".

He added, "The Ministry of Defense in Singapore may facilitate some of these bilateral or multilateral meetings... Participants consider that these meetings held on the sidelines of the (dialogue) are useful."

Monday, May 01, 2023

Iran’s Inside man who sold secret information to Britain's MI6 for power and greed

    Monday, May 01, 2023   No comments

 In April of 2008, a senior British intelligence official traveled to Tel Aviv, in addition to several European capitals, with the aim of conveying unusual information to his counterparts.

The British official said that Britain has a spy in Iran who has access to the country's nuclear and security secrets.

The identity of the spy remained unknown for many years, but at the beginning of this year, with the execution by hanging of former Deputy Minister of Defense Ali Reza Akbari, who was convicted of espionage, what had been kept secret for 15 years was revealed, as Akbari was the British spy.

In a comprehensive investigative article published by The New York Times, in which journalist Ronen Bergman, a journalist for Yedioth Ahronoth, participated, it was revealed that Akbari was responsible for delivering the most important piece of information that came from Iran, which is the existence of an underground enrichment site in Fordo, according to the “Acre” website.

Over the years, Akbari lived a double life. He was known to the Iranian public as a religious fanatic, political hawk, senior commander in the Revolutionary Guards, deputy defense minister, and later moved to London and the private sector, but he never lost the confidence of the leadership in Tehran.

  But in 2004, according to sources, he began sharing Iran's nuclear secrets with Britain's MI6 intelligence service.

European intelligence officials said Akbari provided important information, and continued to do so for years. The intelligence proved crucial to dispelling suspicions in the West that Iran was indeed seeking nuclear weapons. The information Akbari provided convinced the world to impose heavy sanctions on Tehran.

Akbari was arrested in 2019 after Iran discovered with the help of Russian intelligence that he was the one who revealed the existence of a secret Iranian nuclear program deep in the mountains near Tehran.

In addition to revealing nuclear and security secrets, Iran claimed that Akbari revealed the identity and activities of more than 100 high-ranking officials, the most important of whom was Mohsen Fahrzadeh, “the father of the Iranian nuclear program,” who was liquidated in 2020 in an operation attributed to Israel.

Britain has never publicly admitted that Akbari, who became a British citizen in 2012 and has been described by Iranian media as a "veteran spy", had spied for it.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said: "We do not comment on intelligence matters, as this has always been our policy."

The US State Department and the US National Security Council did not respond to questions on this matter.

In September 2019, The New York Times reported that the source of the intelligence about the Purdue nuclear site was a British spy.

Britain transferred that information to Germany, the United States and Israel.

Akbari was a teenager at the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979, and he joined the army and left it after six years. Akbari also advanced quickly in the leadership ladder until he was appointed Deputy Minister of Defense and worked as an advisor to the Supreme National Security Council, and he had close relations with two senior figures in Iran, namely the nuclear scientist Fahrzadeh, Ali Shamkhani, former defense minister and head of the Supreme Security Council.

In eight short videos shown on state television after his execution, Akbari is seen describing his espionage operations and how he was recruited by Britain.

The motives behind his actions remain unknown, but he said in one of the videos that he did so out of “greed and power” while denying that he was in financial difficulty.

In the videos, Akbari said he was recruited in 2004 and a year later he traveled to Britain and met his handler at MI6.

In the years that followed, Akbari opened companies in Austria, Spain and Britain to serve as a cover for his meetings with his operators, and Iran said MI6 paid Akbari $2.4 million.

Akbari retired from his official duties in 2008, but continued to serve as an advisor to Shamkhani and other officials.

Akbari's brother said that in the same year Akbari was arrested for four months on charges of spying for Britain, but several senior officials testified on his behalf and he was released on bail and the case was closed.

According to a former senior German intelligence official, in April 2008 Britain received information about the Perdue site, a uranium enrichment site built on a mountainside that was part of Iran's plan to develop a nuclear reactor.

The Perdue revelations changed the world's understanding of Iran's nuclear program and led to the development of military and cyber programs to deal with it.

In September 2009, then-US President Barack Obama revealed that Fordo is an enrichment site.

Western intelligence agencies had long known about it from satellite images showing underground construction work in Fordo but thought it was a military equipment storage facility and did not know it had become a secret nuclear site.

Akbari was a frequent traveler between Tehran and London, and in 2010 he claimed that he had a heart attack and remained living in London, and then his wife and two daughters joined him and he was subsequently granted citizenship.

During his confession, Akbari said he faked his heart attack in order to stay in Britain, and subsequently traveled to Iran at least three times.

In 2019, Akbari traveled to Iran for the last time, and this happened after the head of the Supreme National Security Council, Shamkhani, informed him that the council needed him in an urgent security and nuclear issue. A few days after his arrival in Tehran, he was summoned by the intelligence and arrested.

According to Iranian officials who spoke to the New York Times, it was the Russian intelligence services that revealed to Iran that Akbari was a spy and he was the one who revealed the secret of the Fordo enrichment site.


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