Terror risk is ‘price paid for our freedom’, former GCHQ chief tells Shropshire audience — Otto Warmbier: How did North Korea holiday end in jail, and a coma? — Three killed in blast at Colombia shopping centre — Unedited Putin Interview Reveals A Missed Opportunity For Megyn Kelly and America
Sir David Pepper, who was director of the British intelligence agency between 2003 and 2008, made the comments in a wide-ranging talk at Coalbrookdale’s Enginuity Museum on Thursday evening.
Sir David, who joined GCHQ in 1972, offered an insight into the difficulties faced by the intelligence services in keeping the country safe, as well as the innovation required to stay one step ahead of their targets.
Sir David said that the internet would continue to pose problems and opportunities for spies.
He said: “The internet is in many ways the greatest opportunity the spies have ever known, however it is also the place that presents the greatest threat to our way of life.”
Sir David also talked about concerns over the impact of cyber attacks, using the example of the ‘stuxnet’ computer worm, as one of the ways in which government facilities can be targeted.
Although never officially confirmed it is believed that stuxnet was a jointly created American-Israeli cyberweapon.
It has been widely reported that the worm was used to attack the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Natanz in 2009. The worm was able to take control of centrifuges used in the enrichment process and damage them by raising and lowering the speed they operate at.
Sir David described the worm as “really quite a dangerous piece of software” and added: “One of our worries about national infrastructure is could an enemy disrupt our critical national infrastructure ahead of an attack?”
Otto is now back in the US after 15 months of captivity in North Korea. But he is in a coma, cannot understand language and has severe brain damage.
In the year-and-a-half since he threw that snowball, the life of a young man full of promise has been permanently altered.
Much remains unknown about how Otto’s health deteriorated. Doctors at Cincinnati Medical Center say they have seen no sign he was physically abused but they and his family also don’t buy North Korea’s story that he contracted botulism and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.
But how did a brilliant student from an Ohio suburb with hopes of becoming an investment banker end up imprisoned in a pariah state? And why was he released in a coma?
Three women have been killed in the Colombian capital, Bogota, in what the authorities say was a terrorist attack.
An explosion occurred at a shopping centre north of the city centre. Eleven other people were injured in the attack.
Bogota’s mayor Enrique Penalosa said that one of those who died was from France.
The authorities say they believe the explosion was caused by a small bomb in a ladies toilet.
The attack happened on a busy Saturday afternoon, when the shopping centre was full of people buying presents for Father’s Day, being celebrated on Sunday.
A 23-year-old French woman who had been working as a volunteer at a school in the south of the city was the first victim to be identified.
The last question Kelly asked Putin, which was not aired, was startling in its pandering. “We have been here in St. Petersburg for about a week now. And virtually every person we have met on the street says what they respect about you is they feel that you have returned dignity to Russia, that you’ve returned Russia to a place of respect. You’ve been in the leadership of this country for 17 years now. Has it taken any sort of personal toll on you?”
A former CIA Russia analyst who spoke to HuffPost was taken aback by the last question Kelly asked. “I can’t begin to tell you what this did for Putin’s ego, and I wouldn’t put it past the Kremlin to use it for propaganda purposes. Putin’s obsession is, by his definition, making Russia great again. He’s obsessed with the idea that he has returned the country to what he sees as the glory days of the USSR. He feels that since the breakup of the USSR, Russia has too often ceded ground where it shouldn’t have. And he’s obsessed with people seeing him as the one who brought dignity back to Russia.”
INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 19 2017