INTEL TODAY DIARY — May 17 2017

Former CIA claims Iran helps North Korea — WannaCry may have North Korea link — Donald Trump allegedly revealed highly classified information to Russia — Trump divulges “codeword classified” information with the Russian ambassador

Donald Trump with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the White House

Former CIA agent says Iran aiding North Korea as new missile test emboldens Pyongyang — CNBC

A former CIA analyst said Monday the Iranians are continuing to help North Korea with weapons technology as Pyongyang’s new missile test over the weekend was described as “a significant advance.”

North Korea’s launch of an intermediate ballistic missile test on Sunday appears to be a new model and shows an improved capability to reach U.S. military bases on Guam. Also, experts said the new missile is a mid-range ballistic missile and suggests Pyongyang maybe getting more proficiency with reentry technology that could be used for longer-range missiles.

“It was a significant advance in terms of missiles that seem to be able to carry a fairly heavy warhead and carry it a fairly significant distance,” said Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst and now senior vice president for policy and programs with the Center for Security Policy, a national security think-tank based in Washington.

At the same time, Fleitz said there’s “pretty credible information” that the North Koreans have received help in their missile program from Tehran. “It’s going in both directions,” he said.

WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack ‘may have N Korea link’ — BBC

Who was behind the huge global cyber-attack? One prominent theory right now is North Korea – but what we know is far from conclusive.

You may not have heard of the Lazarus Group, but you may be aware of its work. The devastating hack on Sony Pictures in 2014, and another on a Bangladeshi bank in 2016, have both been attributed to the highly sophisticated group.

It is widely believed that the Lazarus Group worked out of China, but on behalf of the North Koreans.

Security experts are now cautiously linking the Lazarus Group to this latest attack after a discovery by Google security researcher Neel Mehta. He found similarities between code found within WannaCry – the software used in the hack – and other tools believed to have been created by the Lazarus Group in the past.

It’s a mere sliver of evidence, but there are other clues to consider too.

Trump ‘shared highly classified information with Russian officials’ — Guardian

Donald Trump allegedly revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minster Sergei Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting last week.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump shared details of intelligence gathered about an Isis threat that had been closely guarded within the United States government and among close US allies.

The report said that while Trump did not describe the specific source used to gather the intelligence, he provided highly classified details, apparently connected to an Isis plot related to the use of laptops on board passenger aircraft.

Top administration officials who attended the meeting swiftly pushed back on the allegations on Monday, saying Trump’s meeting with Lavrov consisted only of broad discussions surrounding counter-terrorism.

Can President Donald Trump share top secret information? — BBC

Donald Trump has once again found himself at the centre of a storm – this time for reportedly sharing “codeword classified” information with the Russian ambassador.

The information, which related to the use of laptops on aircraft, is understood to have been passed to the Americans by an ally who had apparently chosen not to share it with Moscow.

Mr Trump said he “had the absolute right” to tell the Russians “acts pertaining to terrorism and airline safety”.

Any other government employee would probably have lost security clearance, or even be charged under espionage laws.

But US presidents enjoy wide latitude in declassifying information under their powers, which means Mr Trump’s alleged disclosure was not illegal.

As Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy specialist with the Federation of American Scientists, told the New York Times: “It is an expression of presidential authority, and that means that the president and his designees decide what is classified, and they have the essentially unlimited authority to declassify at will.”

However, Mr Trump could have damaged an intelligence-sharing partnership if he revealed information without permission from the ally who provided it.

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INTEL TODAY DIARY — May 17 2017

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