INTEL TODAY DIARY — June 25 2017

From Russia With Blood — Why has Italy been spared mass terror attacks in recent years? — UK Parliament hit by cyber-attack — Ottawa to create new group to oversee all intelligence agencies’ activities

Russian secret service defector Alexander Litvinenko

From Russia With Blood — BuzzFeed

Lavish London mansions. A hand-painted Rolls-Royce. And eight dead friends. For the British fixer Scot Young, working for Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critic meant stunning perks – but also constant danger. His gruesome death is one of 14 that US spy agencies have linked to Russia – but the UK police shut down every last case. A bombshell cache of documents today reveals the full story of a ring of death on British soil that the government has ignored. (…)

The Russian secret service defector Alexander Litvinenko, who had fled to Britain under Boris and Badri’s protection, had been poisoned in central London. A public inquiry found that his killers were two FSB assassins, who slipped radioactive polonium 210 into his tea at the Millennium Hotel. The rare isotope would have killed Litvinenko without leaving a trace were it not for a team of British scientists who identified its unusual alpha rays and, in so doing, uncovered the glaring radioactive trail the two assassins had left all over London. Britain could not ignore such a blatant act of provocation, and authorities charged the two assassins with murder in absentia. Though Russia refused to extradite them and they have denied any involvement in the killing, the public inquiry found last year that the two men had been sent by the FSB to murder Litvinenko and that the operation had “probably” been approved by Putin.

Why has Italy been spared mass terror attacks in recent years?  — Guardian

Each time Youssef Zaghba landed in Bologna, there was someone waiting for him as he got off the plane. It was no secret in Italy that the 22-year-old Moroccan-born Italian, identified as one of three terrorists behind the London Bridge attack, was under close surveillance.

“They would talk to him at the airport. Then, during his stay, police officers would come a couple of times a day to check on him,” his mother, Valeria Collina, said in an interview with the Guardian. “They were friendly to Youssef. They would say: ‘Hey son, tell me what you have been doing. What are you doing? How are you?’”

In the weeks since the attack, Zaghba’s role has shone a light on the differences between how terror suspects are handled in Italy and the UK. Upon his arrival in London, Zaghba’s mother said, he was never once stopped at the airport or interrogated, even though Italian officials had warned British counterparts that he was a threat.

Franco Gabrielli, Italy’s chief of police, has said of Italy’s efforts to alert the UK: “Our conscience is clear.” Scotland Yard, in turn, has said Zaghba “was not a police or MI5 subject of interest”.

Parliament hit by cyber-attack — BBC

A number of MPs have confirmed to the BBC they are not able to access their parliamentary email accounts remotely.

It comes just over a month after 48 of England’s NHS trusts were hit by a cyber-attack.

The attack was publicly revealed by Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard on Twitter who had also asked his followers to send any “urgent messages” to him by text.

Henry Smith, Tory MP for Crawley, later tweeted: “Sorry no parliamentary email access today – we’re under cyber attack from Kim Jong Un, (Vladimir) Putin or a kid in his mom’s basement or something…”

The government’s National Security Strategy said in 2015 that the threat from cyber-attacks from both organised crime and foreign intelligence agencies was one of the “most significant risks to UK interests”.

The National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of intelligence agency GCHQ, started its operations in October last year.

The National Crime Agency said it was working with the NCSC but the centre was “leading the operational response”.

Ottawa to create new group to oversee all intelligence agencies’ activities — Canadian IT News

The creation of new Canadian security intelligence review committee that will oversee the activities of all federal security and intelligence agencies is one of the pieces of new national security legislation tabled this morning by the government.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters in a brief statement that the legislation, the National Security Act Bill C-59, comes after a  public consultation last fall that showed “Canadians unequivocally want accountability, transparency and effectiveness from their security and intelligence agencies. They also expect compliance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and respect for privacy.”

As a result the proposed legislation “will modernize and enhance our security and intelligence laws to ensure our agencies have the tools necessary to protect Canada, all within a legal and constitutional framework which safeguards our rights.”

The government has already proposed a committee of members of Parliament in Bill C-22 be created to scrutinize classified broad security and intelligence issues, which brings it in line with a number of other Western countries that have similar political oversight bodies.

The Canadian Security Intelligence (CSIS) already has a security intelligence review committee (SIRC), while activities of the Communications Security Establishment, the country’s electronic spy agency, are currently reviewed by the Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner. Meanwhile the RCMP’s national security activities are watched by the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC).

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INTEL TODAY DIARY — June 25 2017

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