Russia and The CIA

Who Was the Fourth Man on the Inside?

Cristal M Clark 

When we think of the spy game, we more often than not tend to romanticise the notion of being a spy. The realities are a bit more harsh and well not so romantic. According to a new book, a mole hunt for the “fourth man,” the individual who was suspected of being a CIA officer, began in the 1990s, but no one has ever been arrested or charged in the case. Secret details of that investigation are being disclosed for the first time in “The Fourth Man,” a new book by former CIA officer Robert Baer.

To better understand we need to go back to the1980s, in the final decade of the Cold War, 3 Americans in fact, spied for the Soviet Union, CIA officers Edward Lee Howard and Aldrich Ames and FBI agent Robert Hanssen. They are known to have helped Moscow identify, arrest, and imprison or execute most of the Soviet agents who were secretly spying for the United States. Quite shameful if I do say so myself. 

Ames and Hanssen were eventually caught and arrested and today remain in federal prison, while Howard defected to Moscow, where he died in 2002. This caused quite a bit of a problem for the US because as you might imagine having no spies in the Soviet Union meant that we were blind. 

A mole hunt for the “fourth man,” who was suspected of being a CIA officer, began in the 1990s, but no one has ever been arrested or charged in the case. “The story of the Russian double agent in the CIA who got away may sound like some unfinished piece of business from the Cold War,” Robert Baer writes in his book. But “it’s starting to look more like the mystery of the fourth man is a lot more historically significant than an old-school spy tale. It’s part of the much larger story of how America completely missed Putin and the KGB’s resurrection.”

He is not wrong in that assumption either. 

But, to be clear U.S. officials believe there was a “fourth man” inside the CIA was first disclosed in 2003 in “The Main Enemy,” by former CIA officer Milt Bearden. Robert Baer has now provided a wealth of new details about the case, including the key role of a KGB agent who supplied crucial information to the CIA on the fourth spy. 

“Absolutely there was a fourth man,” John Lewis, former FBI assistant director for national security. “We had a lot of unexplained things that couldn’t be explained by the three others.”

In 1988, a CIA officer stationed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, first met a KGB officer named Alexander Zaporozhsky. The CIA gave Zaporozhsky the code name “GTZORRO” and nicknamed him “Max.” As a series of CIA officers continued to meet Zaporozhsky over the years, he began to provide clues revealing that the KGB had moles inside U.S. intelligence, according to Robert Baer. At some point, Zaporozhsky suggested that the KGB had two moles, one in the CIA and another in the FBI, although he didn’t know their names. One was known inside the KGB as “Karat,” and the other as “Rubine.”

In 1994, Aldrich Ames was arrested and charged with spying for Moscow, thanks in part to the information Zaporozhsky had provided. 

In 1996, a CIA officer met again with Zaporozhsky, this time in Tbilisi, Georgia. He told the CIA that he believed he had come under suspicion in Moscow. But he also said he had heard that Russian intelligence had recruited another American CIA officer. This officer had been recruited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was now assigned to “the Farm,” the CIA’s training center outside Williamsburg, Virginia. With Zaporozhsky’s information, the CIA was quickly able to identify CIA officer Harold Nicholson as a Russian spy, and he was arrested in November 1996.

After Ames was arrested, the CIA secretly created a new counterintelligence team to try to determine whether there were any losses that could not be explained by Ames or Howard, who had defected to Moscow in 1985. The agency’s team, Baer writes, included CIA officers Laine Bannerman, Diana Worthen, and MaryAnn Hough. They began to sift through old tips, leads, and other evidence relating to compromised agents and operations that couldn’t be explained by either Ames or Howard. Eventually, they became convinced that there were at least two more moles. Some of their evidence pointed toward Hanssen, who was arrested in 2001. Robert Baer’s book discloses that the team still believed there was another, fourth mole thus coming to the same conclusion as Zaporozhsky. This was confirmed to The Intercept by one of the now-retired CIA investigators: “I do believe there is a fourth man,” said Worthen in an interview this week.

Sadly, they never found the fourth mole, is he/she still deeply embedded in the ranks of the CIA or FBI? Did they retire, move away, fall off the face of the earth perhaps? No one knows except for Russia and good luck getting that lot to speak unless you were to find a double agent who is not all that happy about the going ons over in the Ukraine. 

It’s anyone’s guess who the fourth mole is, or was and if the CIA is still in fact looking. It is a fact that the US spy organisation is truly and remarkably impregnable and weak. 

As for Zaporozhsky, some time after he had been relocated to the US by the CIA, he made the mistake of going back home for a little visit and was swiftly arrested and jailed.

Cristal M Clark

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Donald Trump – Of Course Iran Didn’t Arrest 17 US Spies

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Donald Trump The All Knowing

Cristal M Clark

According to Donald Trump, Iran’s claim that it has captured 17 people spying for the U.S. is “totally false.” On Monday, a senior Iranian intelligence officer told reporters in Tehran that Iran has detained CIA-trained Iranian nationals who were attempting to gather information on the country’s military and nuclear capabilities.

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“The rulings for these spies have been issued and a number of them will be executed as corruptors on Earth,” said the intelligence officer, who was not identified. Iran’s semiofficial news agency Fars describes him as the director-general of the intelligence ministry’s counterespionage department.

Of course, Trump had to say something on the matter in usual fashion, through Twitter.

“The Report of Iran capturing CIA spies is totally false. Zero truth. Just more lies and propaganda (like their shot down drone) put out by a Religious Regime that is Badly Failing and has no idea what to do, their Economy is dead, and will get much worse. Iran is a total mess!”

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According to Iran, the U.S. recruited spies at scientific conferences around the world, then made promises that included money, a job in the U.S. or medical aid. The Iranian nationals would allegedly be tasked with collecting information for the U.S. Which, makes total sense.

What’s more is how in the bloody hell would Trump know anything with regards to this matter, he barely gives any credit to nor pays much attention when his own intelligence community offers up any intel, on any matter. Then you have the obvious question, why would the intelligence community even inform Donald Trump of any spies they might have recruited from Iran given Trump’s tenacious ability to inform world leaders of US intel.

U.S. tensions with Iran have been escalating in the wake of the U.S. pulling out of the international agreement to try to stem Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which the US is failing at, rather horribly. We also recently ramped up sanctions against Iran. On Thursday, it said one of its Navy ships took down an Iranian drone but, according to Iran that intel is not entirely accurate.

Trump’s rather ill thought out tweet yesterday further shows his reluctance to either work with or hammer down on Iran. So far, Iran is winning the war of words.

Cristal M Clark

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Iran Killing US Spies?

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U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

Cristal M Clark

Iranian officials have announced today that 17 people have been captured who were all spies who happened to be working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. That’s a rather unusual number of spies to have captured and subsequently killed and/or jailed.

Yes, Iran admitted that some have been sentenced to death while others are imprisoned. Iran claims that each of the individuals were trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and they claim to know just how that happened considering all of the so-called US spies are actually Iranian citizens.

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At the briefing held by Iran’s head of counter espionage, an official claimed the 17 accused were lured into spying while applying for or renewing U.S. visas or while attending conferences abroad with promises of money and opportunities to work in the United States. While the United States seems a little weary of talking about CIA recruitment abroad, not to mention that U.S. officials have not yet responded to the allegations.

The accused were given surveillance equipment by handlers to place in sensitive government locations and received “extensive training” by the CIA in order to communicate from Iran without being detected, officials claimed. They were also given fake identification. Some of those captured agreed to cooperate with Iranian authorities and are now helping to work against the U.S., officials said.

NBC News has obtained a copy of the files that they say include audio exchanges between alleged CIA operatives and their Iranian sources, business cards and photos of alleged CIA officers and their families, and a copy of an Iranian documentary that claims to uncover the identities of the alleged spies.

On Friday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

Senior U.S. defense officials said that U.S. Marines jammed an Iranian drone in the Gulf of Hormuz on Thursday, bringing it down and destroying it.

A U.S. surveillance drone was also shot down last month by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. In the aftermath of the incident, President Donald Trump confirmed that he was “cocked and loaded” to strike Iranian targets but decided to call the strikes off, saying the loss of life would make it a disproportionate response.

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This news breaks as tensions rise between the US and Iran, and who is to say what the US will do if anything given Trump’s rather lackadaisical take on such matters. If anything, Iran is showing the world that they are a forced not to be fucked about with.

As to the spies Iran claims to have, it would appear that the US as per the norm will quietly walk away and leave them to figure it out on their own.

Cristal M Clark

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CIA Manages to Let Classified Records Slip Out The Door

 

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Jerry Chun Shing Lee Arrested for Keeping Classified Records

Once again one of America’s spy agencies has managed to lose classified records.

I am not sure if I should be surprised or just laugh at this juncture, these agencies just cannot seem to keep classified information from slipping right out of the front door.

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After Jerry left the CIA in 2012, he more or less kept classified intel that should not have left with him.

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The FBI had obtained a warrant for ‘unknown’ (but a little bird told me it was because Jerry, was suspected of compromising Chinese Informants) reasons and searched his luggage at a hotel room after Jerry had flown with his family from Hong Kong to Northern Virginia.

Upon the search that was conducted for again, ‘unknown’  reasons the FBI found a couple of handwritten notes that may have contained the names and numbers of covert CIA employees and the locations of covert facilities.

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Of course after the CIA looked into the situation and discovered that in fact, Jerry had intel that was both secret and top secret in nature.

Oddly, Jerry had been interviewed on 5 separate occasions prior to his arrest by the FBI and failed during each and every interview to disclose that he had these handwritten books.

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Jerry was a case officer for the CIA from 1994-2007 where he was trained in surveillance detection, recruiting, handling assets, and the handling of classified information (which he learned well considering his arrest), and he worked at several overseas offices.

Jerry has not been charged with espionage, he has only been charged with illegal retention of documents.

Again, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not Jerry had any intention of using the information in order to turn a profit regardless of the fact that he is suspected of compromising informants, he has not been proven guilty yet.
Then Again, maybe he did because perhaps his retirement plan was a little too lean for his comfort level.

Cristal M Clark

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CIA source code from a spy tool called Hive – Now Available to the Public

 

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WikiLeaks – US Central Intelligence Agency

In a rather lovely and not so surprising turn of events WikiLeaks has released a source code that the CIA seemed rather fond of once, called Hive.

 

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The release is part of Vault 8, which releases the code from the CIA hacking tools revealed as part of Vault 7.

This little gem is designed to to control the CIA’s or the US Government’s own malware once installed onto a network or device.

So Hive provides a covert communications platform for a whole range of CIA malware to send exfiltrated information to CIA servers and to receive new instructions from operators at the CIA.

Lovely, so here we have more intel that seemingly walked out of the doors of a yet another US Agency.

 

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The reality here is, that the United States Government at every level is one big leaking faucet of intel.

Yet, the US Government seems to be shocked, surprised and concerned over Russian Election interference?

Should they learn to keep their intel from oh I don’t know landing on the front page of every news publication world wide, least of all keep the source code from the hands of WikiLeaks?

What’s truly frightening is that we simply have no idea whatsoever who else might have the source code to Hive as well as other malware and tools that the US Government built and once utilized.

So, does the US Government want to hand out anything else to the general public, the world that may again come back to haunt them in the form of yet another major worldwide cyber attack?

Cristal M Clark

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Kim Jong-Un Survives US Assassination Plot?

 

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CIA Tries & Fails to Assassinate Kim Jong-Un?

 

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The state-run Korea Central News Agency (better known as a propaganda news agency for the country’s ruling Workers’ Party, like FoxNews is for Trump here in the US), has laid out a pretty serious accusation here, according to them the CIA tried and failed to assassinate the North Korean leader earlier this year by using a chemical or biological poison to take out the beloved Kim Jong-Un.

 

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This is what they had to say in the newly published report:

“In May this year, a group of heinous terrorists who infiltrated our country on the orders of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US and the South Korean puppet Intelligence Service with the purpose of carrying out state-sponsored terrorism against our supreme headquarters using biological and chemical substance were caught and exposed. This palpably shows the true nature of the US as the main culprit behind terrorism.”

The North Korean government claims that in fact, back in May that it had foiled a US and South Korean plot to kill its Supreme Leader.

They captured a  man  who happened to be going by the name of  “Kim” (I give them a zero for creativity here). They went on to say that “Kim” had been paid to carry out an attack with biological substances.

In all honesty, really guys over at the CIA, what did you send ‘heinous’ rookies in to do a man’s job or something?

By the way, it should be noted that North Korea has a history of making false statements, accusations and basically just making shit up that cannot be verified.

The CIA has basically not comment on this one, no doubt likely due to laughing hysterically over the accusation.

All kidding aside, if the CIA had wanted Kim Jong-Un dead (which a lot of people do let’s just be honest here), Kim Jong-Un, would be dead.

The CIA does not screw around with assassination attempts, they are pretty serious and if they feel that they need to attempt one, it’s a fairly slim chance that you’d ever know the CIA would have been behind it.

And Kim Jong-Un is a fairly easy target.

Too many people on the inside can be bought in particular, on the inside of North Korea’s regime many people can be bought for the right price.

If Kim is under some misguided delusion that anyone is really loyal to him, he may want to sit down and really think that one through.

No one is truly loyal to Kim Jong-Un, no one.

Fear of being murdered at the request of your country’s leader and loyalty are two very different things my friend.

Cristal M Clark

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Kim Jong-Un’s Mental State Finally Called into Question?

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North Korea – Kim Jong-Un

 

Not sure if anyone caught some the recent headlines the past couple of days with regards to Kim Jong-Un’s mental frame of mind.

If not, I guess some have questioned it which is odd to me but whatever.

 

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We all know that he and Trump are loose cannons, yet while I do question at times Trump’s frame of mind, I have never doubted that Kim is clear, concise and making moves that would ensure that his legacy lives on and thrives.

 

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At any rate, the CIA felt compelled to chime in on the subject recently stating:

“”Waking up one morning and deciding he wants to nuke, he wants to rule for a long time and die peacefully in his own bed.”

I would tend to agree with that as I have pretty much said it before. North Korea is not and will not strike first unless they are provoked enough into doing that.

Which is why they have subtly at times attempted to provoke others into starting a war. For  North Korea, starting a war with America or any of her allies is suicide and North Korea is fully aware of that.

 

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So the reality is they will continue to test missiles and cause fear among everyone. It is after all one of the most basic rules of war, make others believe that you are more powerful than you truly are.

It’s all about instilling fear here.

North Korea also poses a significant cyber threat to America which is not something you see in the news often. North Korea has a second internet link from (it’s not China), TransTeleCom, a state owned provider from Russia.

 

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In fact the US attempted a pretty big DDoS attack on North Korea recently and Russia gave them more bandwidth so as to help cope with that.

The funniest part of that news is that, the contract between North Korea and TransTeleCom was put together and signed off on a few years back.

While some do not really think much of that, the reality is, if you are a sane ruler making intellectual decisions and long term goals…it would make sense to get a contract in place prior to pissing off the entire world with talk and threats of nuclear devastation.

I guess DDoS attacks are legal and perfectly okay when it is the United States Government launching such an attack on another country…just don’t try to launch one on the United States because then you become a criminal or a nation who has committed a crime against the United States.  

 

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No one should be surprised by Russia here either, they do after all like to play all of the sides.

As for Kim, he’s like a child in some aspects where he is testing the waters, pushing buttons, seeing how far he can take things before it’s taken too far in an attempt to get what he really wants.

It will be interesting to see how it eventually plays out here because in the long run, while I believe that Kim is not some delusional murderous maniac, I do not believe that he really understands what playing with fire is like.

That fire just so happens to be Donald Trump and Trump is at times more irrational than a two year old whose blankie is in the dryer.

Cristal M Clark

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HighRise – Intercepting and Redirecting Your Text Messages

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The CIA’s dirty laundry, dirtier than we thought

In Thursday’s WikiLeaks dump it was revealed that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has yet another creeper-peeper tool, this one a little bit more on the disturbing side of things.

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They are utilizing a rather nasty piece of malware codenamed “HighRise” aimed specifically at Android devices that can intercept and redirect your text messages.

In all reality this is not shocking, it is exactly what one would expect an intelligence agency to have and to use.

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HighRise acts as a proxy server for text messages, and it was designed with one major flaw, HighRise must be manually installed onto a device, meaning that an agent would have to come into direct contact with the device in order to install HighRise.

So after getting to the point of handling a device, once installed, an application named TideCheck shows up in the list of apps on the device. TideCheck just so happens to house HighRise. The agent has to then open the app to start the program, then run a special code by entering the word “inshallah,” you’ll love what that means: “God willing” in Arabic. The code word is typed into a textbox that is disguised to look like it’s asking for an activation code for the app. Once the code is entered, the agent will have access the app’s settings.

After all of those hurdles the agent must go through, the initial installation kicks in and  HighRise runs in the background to perform its task. The application starts automatically every time the phone is powered on, so it could continue to intercept texts for more than a single cycle.

What is not clear is if the CIA is even still using the malware or if it’s been updated to work with newer android devices.

Again, not a shocking little piece of malware the CIA developed although what shocked me the most was how user unfriendly it is for any agent tasked with deploying it originally and I say originally because again, we have no idea whether or not the US Central Intelligence Agency has improved the product.

I would assume that they have, meaning it no longer would have to be manually installed on a device.

Not to worry however because, if the CIA didn’t improve it, someone else will or already has.  

Think about that one next time you are texting your beloved images of your naughty bits.

Cristal M Clark

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CIA hacking air-gapped networks?

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US Central Intelligence Agency – Brutal Kangaroo

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A newly released dump of intel by WikiLeaks details how the CIA developed a way to hack an air-gapped network using a USB and some creative malware. Technically speaking, this is not in anyway new information. It has always been known that one could hack an air-gapped network using a USB so as to either:

  1. Steal intel on the USB or;
  2. Download some type of malware so as to infect the network promoting the network to send out the requested data should the malware detect any open internet connection.

How does it work you ask?

The software consists of four specific applications:

Shattered Assurance

Drifting Deadline

Shadow

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And Finally my personal favorite, Brutal Kangaroo.

Shattered Assurance is the server-side of the code that forms the basis of the attack system and infects the USB drives that are plugged into an infected computer with the Drifting Deadline malware.

Once an infected thumb drive is plugged into a target computer that is set up to autorun its contents and is using Windows 7 as an operating system and running .Net 4.5, Drifting Deadline deploys Shadow malware onto the system.

Shadow is a much older piece of code that has both client and server versions and it is highly configurable for specific targets.

The operator can set it up to collect system data of up to 10% of the system’s memory, watermark all data it collects, and store it on an encrypted partition on the infected computer’s hard drive.

Once the infection has been achieved, Shadow will look for other connected systems and infect those too. It can be set up to put the pilfered data onto any new thumb drives that are installed in the system, or send it as a burst if it detects an open internet connection.

The final app in Brutal Kangaroo was once called Broken Promise, which is a tool used to examine the stolen data easily and quickly. Taken together, the Brutal Kangaroo suite could be very useful for defeating air-gapped machines and is certainly more feasible than more esoteric methods.

Or one can just get a job working for the NSA and walk out the door with data and intel. Take your pick right?

At any rate, this should not come as a huge surprise to anyone, you would expect the CIA an intelligence agency to have this sort of tool what does however surprise me is the vivid detail that WikiLeaks released about how the malware works, the data dump details just how each app works together in order to gain the needed or wanted access to intel.

I am all for transparency when it comes to our Governments, but at what point do we begin to question the amount of intel released to the public?

Some of the documentation released in the latest WikiLeaks dump could cause problems later down the road because it fell into the wrong hands and if someone modified one or all of the app’s capabilities making it a worldwide problem like for instance with WannaCry?

Sometimes in our effort to keep our Government’s honest, we manage to create more of a problem than we do good. Anything having to do with Cyber-Security, Cyber-Warefare, Malware and the like, being detailed and released to the world under the guise of keeping our Government’s in check, is simply not accomplishing those efforts.

Cristal M Clark

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