May 16th, 2012
02:03 PM ET

How do you fire a spy?

Suzanne Kelly goes on the set of the hit series ‘Burn Notice’ in Miami to find out whether a spy can really be ‘burned’. Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westin, a CIA spy who has been fired, burned, black-listed and is tying to find a new life relying on his old skills. Suzanne brings in a former covert officer for the CIA to find out whether a spy can really ever be burned. The hit show airs on USA network.

Filed under: Intelligence • Spying
April 18th, 2012
07:38 PM ET

Sex and espionage: A long and sordid history

By Tim Lister, CNN

Call it the flip-side to torture: using seduction to extract valuable information. It’s as old as the Old Testament – literally. Delilah used deception and seduction to find out the secret of Samson’s strength. His hair was never to be cut. So off she went to tell the Philistines – and his precious braids were shaved as he slept.

The lure of sex has been the stuff of both spy fiction and real-life scandals ever since.

“Let's face it, historically women — and prostitutes in particularly — have been used to infiltrate or get information," Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said Tuesday, referring to the unfolding scandal over the conduct of Secret Service agents in Colombia.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) chimed in: "Who were these women? Could they have been members of groups hostile to the United States? Could they have planted bugs, disabled weapons or in any other (ways) jeopardized security of the president or our country?"

Nothing has been made public to suggest information about President Barack Obama’s visit to Colombia was sought or given during the encounters between Secret Service personnel and the Colombian women they met – either in the Play Club or subsequently at the agents’ hotel.

But whether from conviction or for profit, women – and men – have traded sex for secrets for centuries. FULL POST

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Filed under: Spying
Creating a classified cloud for spies
The architects: Kelly Miller, NSA; Jeanne Tsinger, CIA; Grant Schneider, DIA; Al Tarasiuk, ODNI; Jill Tummler Singer, NRO; Keith E. Littlefield, NGA
March 28th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Creating a classified cloud for spies

By Suzanne Kelly

The Intelligence Community (IC) is undergoing its biggest technological change ever as a team of hundreds works to build a computer system that links together nearly all of the 17 intelligence entities through a series of classified servers. To call it an ambitious project might be an understatement. The architects of the undertaking aim to get an initial version going by the end of the year.

The chief information officers at the most prominent agencies of the Intelligence Community were assigned the mission last summer when Director of National Intelligence James Clapper began to brace for budget cuts that would hit the community hard. For the first time in a decade, the IC would be forced to downsize under the strain of a budget that could no longer maintain the expansive growth the community had experienced since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

By last fall, Clapper was paraphrasing a favorite quote by a New Zealand physicist Earnest Rutherford who, in the midst of his own country's budget deliberations in 1927, said, “We’re running out of money so we must begin to think.”

Pulling back the curtain of secrets: The 'Case File' on NSA's Fran Fleisch
March 25th, 2012
02:29 PM ET

Pulling back the curtain of secrets: The 'Case File' on NSA's Fran Fleisch

by Suzanne Kelly

Editor's note: In the Security Clearance "Case File" series, CNN national security producers profile the key members of the intelligence community. As part of the series, Security Clearance is focusing on the roles women play in the U.S. intelligence community.

She is the highest-ranking woman entrusted with the National Security Agency's most-guarded secrets. Inside Fran Fleisch's mind are the details of the country's most delicate and sophisticated intelligence-gathering operations, intertwined with the knowledge and experience needed to run the world's most secretive spy agency.

As executive director of the NSA, Fleisch is No. 3 in the management chain, reporting to Deputy Director John "Chris" Inglis. He recently assumed more responsibilities when Director Keith Alexander took on the extra job of heading U.S. Cyber Command, which is dedicated to the growing national security threat posed by those using keyboards and servers as their weapons of choice. FULL POST

January 17th, 2012
06:34 PM ET

Canadian intel officer charged with spying

By CNN's Paula Newton

Canadian police have charged a naval intelligence officer with leaking government secrets to "a foreign entity," the first time such charges have been laid under a secrecy law passed in Canada after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle is charged with breach of trust and communicating safeguarded information to "a foreign entity" without lawful authority, police said. Delisle is set to appear in a Halifax, Nova Scotia, courtroom for a bail hearing on January 25. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

In a statement released to CNN, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Bob Paulson wrote, "Notwithstanding the seriousness of these charges, the RCMP is not aware of any threat to public safety at this time from this situation. This investigation demonstrates that Canada is not immune to threats posed by foreign entities wishing to undermine Canadian sovereignty."


Filed under: Russia • Spying
2011: A wild ride for the CIA
Compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama bin Laden was killed
December 30th, 2011
02:31 PM ET

2011: A wild ride for the CIA

By CNN's Pam Benson

The year has been a rollercoaster ride for the CIA–incredible highs coupled with significant lows. But those dramatic ups and downs also underscored how intelligence is evolving and the agency is changing to keep pace. Keeping secrets is becoming more difficult and what the agency now does is sometimes more visible. And– the enemy is getting better.

On the critical counterterrorism front, 2011 was a momentous year. The crowning moment–maybe of even the last decade–was the CIA finally pinning down the location of enemy number one, Osama bin Laden, and then overseeing the raid by Navy special forces on a safehouse in Pakistan which led to his death, bringing an end to the nearly ten year pursuit of America's most wanted terrorist.

The raid is a prime example of the new warfare the CIA is engaged in. The counterterrorism battle is frequently being waged by CIA officers and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) forces working side by side. Former CIA Director Mike Hayden said "it's clear the Agency and JSOC are now in a privileged position in terms of how we want to fight this war." The retired Air Force general referred to the CIA today as looking more like the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the World War two-era intelligence service that had a more operational, paramilitary role.


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Filed under: 9/11 • Al Qaeda • Analysis • Anwar al-Awlaki • Arab Spring • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • drones • Intelligence • Kim Jong Il • Middle East • Military • Navy SEALs • North Korea • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Panetta • Panetta • Pentagon • Spying • Terrorism • Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab
WikiLeaks founder keeps tabs on Army hearing
December 21st, 2011
05:58 PM ET

WikiLeaks founder keeps tabs on Army hearing

By Charley Keyes

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been 4,000 miles away from the military courtroom where Army prosecutors have rolled out their espionage case against Pfc. Bradley Manning.

But Assange's name has come up repeatedly and his lawyers have been in the third row of the spectator pews in the Fort Meade, Maryland, courthouse, listening to as much as they can and fighting to gain additional access.

It is one of the bizarre legal twists in this complicated case that the man responsible for posting the secrets Manning allegedly stole is fighting to be able to listen in, through his lawyers, to details of the leaked documents.

The government still considers those documents so secret that it repeatedly closes the courtroom to journalists and the public, and holds many discussions in the judge's chambers.

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Filed under: Army • Bradley Manning • Intelligence • Iraq • Lawsuit • Legal • Military • Pentagon • Spying • UK
Next war could be a click away
CNN Photo
November 7th, 2011
10:27 PM ET

Next war could be a click away

By Senior National Security Producer Larry Shaughnessy

DARPA, the agency that really did invent the Internet, is now looking at ways the Web might be used to fight the next war.

DARPA stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Pentagon office that researches everything from cutting-edge cybersecurity to hypersonic airplanes.

The agency's director, Regina Dugan, told a gathering of cybersecurity experts Monday that "DARPA will focus an increasing portion of our cyber research on the investigation of offensive capabilities to address military specific needs."

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Filed under: Budget • Cybersecurity • DARPA • Homeland Security • Spying • weapons
Finally, a word about national security (a debate, actually)...
November 7th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

Finally, a word about national security (a debate, actually)...

Without question, the public's attention in the race for the White House has centered on the economy and domestic issues.  It’s a sign of how things have changed since the start of these post-September 11th times.  In 2004 and 2008, a good portion of the discussion focused on keeping American safe and foreign policy. But things began to shift as the 2008 election was wrapping up and the economy was hurting.

Now there is no question the campaign talk has moved from 9/11 to 9-9-9 (and other economic plans). A fact not lost on the Republican candidates who spend little time talking about national security issues.  Debate after debate, interview after interview, domestic issues have dominated the campaign so far.  Until now.

On November 22, CNN, along with AEI and The Heritage Foundation, will host a Republican candidate debate focused on national security topics.

In the run-up to the debate, Security Clearance asked both the sponsoring conservative think tanks to look at the key foreign policy issues and tell us what they want to hear candidates address. From Afghanistan toIraq,ChinatoSyria, cybersecurity to defense spending, the folks at Heritage Foundation and AEI will make sure you are fully prepped for the big debate.

The first in the series will publish today on Security Clearance.  For more coverage of the campaign, don't forget to read CNN's Political Ticker and our political section on

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Filed under: 2012 Election • 9/11 • Afghanistan • Africa • Al-Shabaab • Analysis • Anwar al-Awlaki • Arab Spring • Asia • Bachman • bioterrorism • Budget • Cain • China • CIA • Congress • Cybersecurity • debate • Debate Preps • Defense Spending • Diplomacy • drones • Egypt • EU • Foreign Policy • Gingrich • Gitmo • Haqqani • Homeland Security • Huntsman • Iran • Iraq • ISI • Israel • Libya • Living With Terror • Middle East • Military • NATO • Nuclear • Obama • Opinion • Osama bin Laden • Pakistan • Palestine • Paul • Pentagon • Perry • Politics • Republican • Romney • Russia • Santorum • Saudi Arabia • Secretary of State • South Korea • Spying • State Department • Syria • Taliban • Terrorism • Think tank • United Nations • weapons
Syrian-born American pleads not guilty to spying on protesters
Court exhibit showing Mohamad Soueid with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
October 28th, 2011
03:15 PM ET

Syrian-born American pleads not guilty to spying on protesters

By CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden and CNN Sr. Producer Carol Cratty

A Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he spied on anti-Syrian government protesters in the United States.

Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid, 47, allegedly provided video and audio recordings of demonstrators to Syrian intelligence officials, according to the indictment against him.

U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ruled that Soueid could be a flight risk and will remain in jail pending his trial, which is scheduled for March 5, 2012.

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Filed under: Assad • Security Brief • Spying • Syria
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