Friday, September 28, 2007


If true, this would have to qualify as one of the greatest security breaches in the annals of intelligence:

The Macedonian intelligence agency denies claims made by the country's largest daily newspaper, Dnevnik, that one of its counter-intelligence analysts has stolen the agency's database on undercover operatives, fled the country and sold the information to Bulgarian secret services.


The Dnevnik report claims that the alleged theft of counter-intelligence information has compromised the entire Macedonian intelligence network and is likely to take two decades to rebuild. The story quotes unnamed sources within the Macedonian Interior Ministry, underscores longstanding tensions between Bulgaria and Macedonia and highlights potential instability within the Macedonian government.

This is a plot from which movies are made (see the first Mission: Impossible).

And while we're on the subject of Eastern European espionage ...

Turns out that everyone and their mother in the old East Germany was spying for the West:

It's a well-known fact that East Germany had agents crawling all over West Germany during the Cold War. Up to 6,000 of them, some in high places, were regularly passing information eastwards across the wall.

According to a new study published on Friday, though, when it came to recruiting spooks, the West Germans were even better. Fully 10,000 citizens of Germany's communist half were spying for Bonn. Not only that, but West Germany's intelligence agency the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) had a pretty good idea about the plans to build the Berlin Wall, but their bosses in Bonn simply didn't want to believe them.

Also noteworthy, hiring Nazis to do a little freelance spying ... not a very good idea:

The U.S. government apparently derived no clear benefit by recruiting ex-Nazis as Cold War spies, but potentially huge gaps remain in the public record of U.S. ties to World War Two war criminals, according to a report issued on Friday.

The report to Congress, by an interagency group that examined the United States' use of German and Japanese war criminals during and after the war, also said the CIA had no set policy for hiring former war criminals to spy on postwar foes including the Soviet Union.


Elizabeth Holtzman, a former New York congresswoman and member of the panel, said the group received files on about 60,000 former Nazi and Japanese war criminals but did not have the names of all collaborators, particularly those in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.


"It is not clear that Nazis provided us with any useful intelligence, and we know that in some cases at least they were a serious detriment to us," she added. "Given the intelligence failures of the Iraq war, it might be important for U.S. policymakers to understand that using very bad people for intelligence activities does not automatically get us very good results, and instead, may get us very bad results," Holtzman said.

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