Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ten Travel Tips For Labor Day Travel

In light of the upcoming holiday weekend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) offers ten travel tips.

Labor day is fast approaching and we’ll be falling back and resetting our clocks before we know it! Whether you’re heading back to school or taking a trip for Labor Day, we wanted to provide you with some travel tips and information to help get you through our checkpoints and to your flights as easily as possible.
Arrive Early - The best advice we could ever give anybody is to arrive early when you can. You never know what kind of snag you’ll run getting to the airport. Whether it’s traffic, parking, airline, or security related, there are a number of unexpected ways you could be held up. To give you an idea of how busy the airports will be, here are the projected number of travelers during the Labor Day holiday period. Friday, August 31st will be the busiest day.
You can read the rest of the piece and watch a video via the below link:

U.S. Soldier Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Provide Material Support to ISIS

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:
Ikaika Erik Kang, 35, a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army stationed at Schofield Barracks, pleaded guilty today in federal court to four counts of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.  Kang was indicted on terrorism charges on July 19, 2017.  As part of a plea agreement reached with the United States, Kang agreed to serve 25 years in prison and at least 20 years, and up to life, of supervised release.  Kang will be sentenced on Dec. 10, by Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway.  If Judge Mollway accepts the plea agreement at that time, the 25-year term of imprisonment will be binding.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price for the District of Hawaii, and Special Agent in Charge Sean Kaul of the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office.
“Kang swore to defend the United States as a member of our military, but betrayed his country by swearing allegiance to ISIS and attempting to provide material support to the foreign terrorist organization,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “With today’s plea, he will be held accountable for his crimes.  I want to thank all of the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this case.”  
“This Office will vigorously prosecute anyone who attempts to provide material support to terrorists who seek to spread fear and cause mayhem in our communities through senseless acts of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Price.  “The prosecutors and law enforcement agencies who brought the defendant to justice in this case work shoulder-to-shoulder, every day, promoting our national security interests and keeping our communities safe.”
“This is the first case in the State of Hawaii where someone was convicted of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization,” Special Agent in Charge Kaul.  “This should serve as reminder that even though we are 2,500 miles from the U.S. Mainland, these crimes can and do happen everywhere.  I would like to personally thank the United States Attorney’s Office, the Unites States Army, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Honolulu Police Department, and the entire Joint Terrorism Task Force Community here in Hawaii for bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion.  Today, our community is a safer place due to their tireless efforts.”   
According to court documents and information presented in court, Kang became sympathetic to ISIS by at least early 2016.  He regularly watched ISIS propaganda videos online, including videos that depicted ISIS members violently executing civilian and military victims.  Kang made numerous statements in support of ISIS, expressed a desire to join ISIS, and spoke approvingly about committing acts of violence.  At the time, Kang made these statements, he owned an AR-15-style assault rifle and a pistol, both of which he kept at his residence on Oahu.  Kang was under ongoing physical surveillance by law enforcement from the beginning of the investigation until the time of his eventual arrest.
In late June and early July of 2018, Kang met numerous times with undercover FBI agents who he believed had connections to ISIS.  He provided them with sensitive, non-public military documents, some of which were classified at the SECRET level, which he intended that they later provide to ISIS.  The documents included, among other things: classified air traffic control documents that describe call signs, aircraft types, route points, directives, mission procedures, and radio frequencies; the U.S. military’s “weapons file,” which describes all the armament capabilities of the U.S. armed forces; details about a sensitive mobile airspace management system used by the U.S. military; and documents containing personally identifiable information of U.S. service members. 
Kang later provided the undercover agents with a commercially purchased small aerial drone, a military chest rig, and other military-style clothing and gear.  Kang described how ISIS could operationally utilize the drone to track U.S. troop movements and gain tactical advantage by evading American armored vehicles.  Kang then met two additional undercover FBI personnel, one who purported to be a high-ranking ISIS leader, or “sheikh,” and another who played the role of an ISIS fighter.  Kang lead them in a hand-to-hand military combatives training session using his weapons, in order to train the purported ISIS member in fighting techniques.  The sessions were video-recorded, with the understanding that the video would be taken back to ISIS-controlled territory and used to train other ISIS fighters in hand-to-hand combat and weapons techniques. 
On July 8, 2017, Kang swore an oath of loyalty, known as “bayat,” to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a ceremony conducted by the purported ISIS sheikh.  After the ceremony, Kang kissed the ISIS flag.  Kang then said that he wanted to get his rifle and go and fight; just go to downtown Honolulu and Waikiki strip and start shooting.  Kang was subsequently arrested and taken into custody. 
This case was investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Honolulu; the FBI; and the U.S. Army, Criminal Investigative Division, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth M. Sorenson and Marc A. Wallenstein of the District of Hawaii, and Trial Attorney Taryn M. Meeks of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Look Back At Ian Fleming's Psychotic Moon Killer Red Grant In 'From Russia With Love'

Ian Fleming’s From Russia With Love is one of the greatest Cold War spy thrillers, in my view, equal to any Graham Greene or John le Carre spy novel. 

In addition to Ian Fleming’s iconic character James Bond, there are other memorable characters in the thriller, such as Darko Kerim, Tania, Rosa Klebb and psychotic assassin Donovan “Red” Grant.  


The late actor Robert Shaw (seen in the above and below photos) was near perfect as Grant in the film From Russia With Love, which happens to be my favorite Bond film. Shaw’s train compartment fight with Sean Connery’s Bond was one of the best fights in cinematic history. offers Fleming's opening passage in From Russia With Love on Grant. You can read about Grant via the below link:

You can purchase From Russia With Love Via the below link:

Monday, August 27, 2018

My Washington Times Piece On Targeting Illegal Guns In Philadelphia

The Washington Times published my piece on law enforcement targeting illegal guns in Philadelphia.

In June 1998, the National Rifle Association held its national convention in Philadelphia. The NRA met at the city’s convention center, which was only blocks from where the Founding Fathers gave birth to our freedoms, a fact noted by legendary actor Charlton Heston, who was elected president of the NRA during the convention.

“This is where it all started,” Mr. Heston told the gathering in his powerful and gripping voice. “Right here in Philadelphia.”

I covered the convention for a local newspaper and sitting in a front row, I saw Mr. Heston give his rousing speech. In the speech he presented a challenge to President Clinton — enforce the full range of existing gun laws as they pertain to criminal offenses and forgo any new gun controls that penalize law-abiding gun owners, an idea that was called Project Exile. Pick a city, Mr. Heston said, and test the zero tolerance of illegal gun use.

… On Aug. 8, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro held a press conference in Philadelphia and announced a joint effort between the attorney general’s office and city and federal law enforcement to act with an unprecedented level of cooperation to target illegal gun trafficking in Philadelphia.

The announcement was held at a recreation center in a section of South Philadelphia that has seen more than its share of gun violence. Mr. Shapiro was joined by Don Robinson, special-agent-in-charge for the Philadelphia division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF); Richard Ross, police commissioner of Philadelphia; and Larry Krasner, district attorney of Philadelphia. Also in attendance was Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Jennifer Williams, first assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and local officials.

“More information-sharing and stronger collaboration is critical to effective law enforcement operations, particularly when it comes to targeting criminals who traffic in illegal guns and plague our communities,” Mr. Shapiro said. “We’re proud of the work that our Gun Violence Task Force has done already in Philadelphia, and working together with our city and federal partners, we know there is much more we can do to combat gun violence and help make our communities safer.” 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Defense Department Mourns The Late U.S. Senator and Retired Navy Captain John McCain

Jim Garamone at the DoD News offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2018 — United States Senator and retired Navy Capt. John S. McCain died yesterday in Arizona after a long battle with cancer. He was 81. 

McCain chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, but it was his life of service and his heroism in Vietnam that inscribed his name in the hearts of service members everywhere.
“We have lost a man who steadfastly represented the best ideals of our country,” Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said in a DoD release. “As a naval officer and defiant prisoner of war, John McCain stood with his brothers-in-arms until they returned home together.”
McCain, the grandson and son of four-star Navy admirals, was captured in North Vietnam in 1967. He was wounded in ejecting from his aircraft. The North Vietnamese sought to gain propaganda by torturing him into asking for an out-of-sequence release. He refused to leave. He spent more than five years in the Hanoi Hilton.
Selfless Service to the Nation
“Passionately committed to our country, Senator McCain always put service to the nation before self,” Mattis wrote. “He recognized that for our experiment in democracy to long endure, people of action and passion must serve. In this he represented what he believed, that ‘a shared purpose does not claim our identity -- on the contrary, it enlarges your sense of self.’”
McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958. He trained as an aviator and volunteered for service as a Navy pilot in Vietnam.
“Senator McCain exemplified what it means to be a warrior and dedicated public servant,” Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a written release. “Both as a naval officer and as a member of Congress, he was a lifelong and tireless advocate for the men and women of the U.S. military.”
Upon returning from Vietnam, McCain underwent months of grueling physical therapy and was returned to flight status. He commanded a training squadron in Florida and then served as the Navy’s liaison to the U.S. Senate. He retired as a captain in 1981. His military decorations include the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Star medals, two Purple Hearts and the Prisoner of War Medal.
McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and then to the U.S. Senate from Arizona. He joined the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1987, and championed getting soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen what they needed. He also took the time to listen to their concerns and went directly to the frontlines to hear from them.
Supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces
“Senator McCain recognized the sacrifice and hardships military members and their families can experience and proudly served as their champion in Congress,” Dunford said. “He visited our nation's wounded warriors around the country to offer encouragement and to thank them for their service. Through his tenacious and selfless leadership in the Senate, he fought hard to ensure our armed forces remained strong and had the support and resources needed to succeed when placed in harm's way.”
Dunford added, “While we mourn Senator McCain's passing, we are eternally grateful for his distinguished service to our nation, his advocacy of the U.S. military and the incredible example he set for us all.”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs Of Staff General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. On The Passing Of Senator John McCain

Marine General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. (seen in the below photo), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, released the below statement on the death of Senator John McCain (seen in the above and below photo).

"Senator McCain exemplified what it means to be a warrior and dedicated public servant. Both as a naval officer and as a member of Congress, he was a lifelong and tireless advocate for the men and women of the U.S. military. 

"He traveled the world to meet personally with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, to hear what they had to say, and to see firsthand our military in action on the front lines. Senator McCain recognized the sacrifice and hardships military members and their families can experience and proudly served as their champion in Congress. He visited our nation's wounded warriors around the country to offer encouragement and to thank them for their service. Through his tenacious and selfless leadership in the Senate, he fought hard to ensure our Armed Forces remained strong and had the support and resources needed to succeed when placed in harm's way.

"While we mourn Senator McCain's passing, we are eternally grateful for his distinguished service to our nation, his advocacy of the U.S. military, and the incredible example he set for us all."

You can read about Senator John McCain’s life via the below link:

You can also learn more about the late senator, Navy pilot and POW by reading his biography and The Nightingale Song.  

Happy 88th Birthday To Sean Connnery

As notes, today is actor Sean Connery's birthday. He is 88.

Sean Connery was born on August 25, 1930, in Fountainbridge, Scotland. 

In the 1950s, he was cast in numerous films and television programs. In the early 1960s, he landed the lead role of James Bond in Dr. No. 

He continued to work regularly in film thereafter, and in 1987, won an Academy Award. Connery appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1990. In 2003, he starred in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

You can watch read the rest of the piece and watch a film clip of Sean Connery's bio via the below link:

You can also watch a video of Sean Connery in his introduction as James Bond in Dr No via the below link:

And you can read an earlier post on Sean Connery's top ten films via the below link:

Note: The above photo shows the cover of Sean Connery's book On Being a Scot.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Federal Government Contractor Sentenced For Removing And Transmitting Classified Materials To A News Outlet

The Justice Department released the below information:
Reality Winner, 26, of Augusta, Georgia, was sentenced today to five years and three months in prison for removing classified national defense material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.  Winner was arrested by the FBI at her home in Augusta, on June 3, 2017.  The parties filed a plea agreement on June 21, in which Winner agreed to plead guilty to the one-count indictment charging her with unlawful retention and transmission of national defense information.  The parties agreed that a sentence of imprisonment for 63 months followed by a three-year term of supervised release is the appropriate disposition of the case.  The Court accepted the plea agreement at sentencing.
The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine for the Southern District of Georgia, and Special Agent in Charge J.C. Hacker of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.  U.S. District Court Chief Judge J. Randal Hall presided over the hearing.
“The defendant schemed to take and disclose classified information she had sworn to protect – and then did so almost as soon as she had the chance,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.  “Today, she has been held accountable for her crime thanks to the hard work of the Department’s prosecutors and agents.  I hope their success will deter others from similar unlawful action in the future.”
“This defendant used her position of trust to steal and divulge closely guarded intelligence information,” said U.S. Attorney Christine.  “Her betrayal of the United States put at risk sources and methods of intelligence gathering, thereby offering advantage to our adversaries. This U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with the National Security Division, law enforcement and our intelligence partners to ensure such violations result in swift, certain prosecution.”
“When obtaining Top Secret clearance as a government employee or contractor, the handling of top secret information is clearly spelled out along with the ramifications of mishandling such information,” said Special Agent in Charge Hacker.  “Revealing sources and methods to the advantage of our adversaries and to the detriment of our country will never be acceptable and the FBI and Department of Justice will spare no effort to prosecute and punish anyone who would do so.” 
Winner was a contractor assigned to a U.S. government agency facility in Georgia. She had been employed at the facility since on or about Feb. 13, 2017, and held a TOP SECRET//Sensitive Compartmented (SCI) clearance during that time.  Prior to that position, Winner had served in the U.S. Air Force from 2010-2016 and held a TOP SECRET//SCI security clearance.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on or about May 9, 2017, Winner printed an intelligence report that was classified at the TOP SECRET//SCI level, and she removed it from the facility where she worked.  Information may be classified as TOP SECRET if its unauthorized disclosure can reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.  Later on May 9, Winner unlawfully transmitted a hard copy of the intelligence report to an online news outlet. The intelligence report revealed the sources and methods used to acquire the information contained in the report, which, if disclosed, would be harmful to the United States and valuable to our adversaries. 
Indeed, Winner, in an interview with the FBI on June 3, 2017, admitted knowing at the time she stole and transmitted the intelligence report that it contained information about intelligence sources and methods, which information she knew was valuable to adversaries of the United States.  Further, the information contained in the intelligence report had not been released to the public at the time Winner retained it and transmitted it to the online news outlet.  Winner, who had received training regarding the proper handling, marking, transportation, and storage of classified information, knew that she was not permitted to remove the intelligence report from the facility where she worked, retain it, or transmit it to the news outlet.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the FBI. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari of the Southern District of Georgia, and Deputy Chief Julie A. Edelstein and Trial Attorneys David C. Aaron and Amy Larson of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

My Washington Times Review Of 'Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest For Justice In The Days Of Helter Skelter'

The Washington Times published my review of Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter.

Having read Los Angles prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s book on the Charles Manson Ttrial, “Helter Skelter,” in 1974, I thought the case was closed on Manson. But then I read Jeff Guinn’s excellent biography, “Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (which I reviewed here in August of 2013).

And now I’m drawn once again to another book about Manson, who died in prison this past November. Lis Wiehl, a former prosecutor and legal commentator on Fox News and other networks, and Caitlin Rother, a true crime author and investigative reporter, look back on Manson’s life and crimes in “Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter.”

“In taking on the quest for justice in the tragedy that was the summer of 1969, I thought about what made Charles Manson do what he did,” Ms. Wiehl writes in the opening of the book. “Those killings changed American culture. People who didn’t have home alarms quickly bought as fancy a system as they could afford. Mothers began walking their children to school. And parents and children alike had trouble falling asleep at night.Charles Manson and his ‘children’ robbed America of its innocence.”

Ms. Wiehl goes on to note her appearance as the only reporter who attended the parole hearing of one of Manson’s followers, Charles “Tex” Watson, nearly 50 years after the horrendous murders. Despite her being raised in a law enforcement family and her own background in law enforcement, she, like many others, remained bewildered at why the murders occurred.

“The mystery is part of the reason behind this reexamination of arguably the most notorious crime in America history,” Ms. Wiehl explains.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Defense Department Report Details China's Growing Military, Economic Power

Jim Garamone at the DoD News offers the below piece:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21, 2018 — China is not an enemy, but it is certainly an adversary of the United States, and the Defense Department’s 2018 report to Congress examines the trends in Chinese military developments.
Congress mandates the report, titled “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.” While the report highlights military developments, it also addresses China’s whole-of-government approach to competition.
China’s economic development is fueling extraordinary changes in relationships it maintains around the world, according to the report. On the face of it, China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative sounds benign – it looks to build infrastructure for developing countries and Chinese neighbors.
Chinese leaders have funded serious projects as far away as Africa under the initiative. They have built roads in Pakistan and made major inroads in Malaysia. China has a major stake in Sri Lanka. Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Laos and Djibouti also are involved.
The Chinese government seeks to overturn the established international order that has kept the peace in the region since World War II and allowed Asian countries to develop.
But “One Belt, One Road” money and projects come with strings. The “one road” leads to China, and nations are susceptible to Chinese influence on many levels – political, military, and especially, economic.
Economic Clout
In 2017, China used its economic clout in South Korea as a bludgeon to get Seoul to not allow the United States to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system in the country as a counterweight to North Korea’s nuclear missile program. The Chinese government informally lowered the boom on South Korea economically to influence the THAAD decision.
South Korean cars and other exports were embargoed. About a quarter of all goods South Korea exports goes to China, so this had an immediate effect on the economy. In addition, tourism suffered, as nearly half of all entries to South Korea are from China, and South Korean retail stores in China were crippled.
The South Korean government decided to allow the THAAD to deploy, but China’s economic muscle movement had to be noted in other global capitals.
South China Sea
“In its regional territorial and maritime disputes, China continued construction of outposts in the Spratly Islands, but also continued outreach to South China Sea claimants to further its goal of effectively controlling disputed areas,” the DoD reports says in its executive summary. In other words, China is using military power and diplomatic efforts in tandem to claim the South China Sea.
The People’s Liberation Army has come a long way from the human-wave attacks of the Korean War, and Chinese leaders want to build a military worthy of a global power. “Chinese military strategy documents highlight the requirement for a People’s Liberation Army able to secure Chinese national interests overseas, including a growing emphasis on the importance of the maritime and information domains, offensive air operations, long-distance mobility operations, and space and cyber operations,” the report says.
Chinese military planners looked at what the United States accomplished in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 and charted their way forward. The PLA is fundamentally restructuring to challenge and beat any military in the world.
The PLA – still the largest force in the world – actually cut people to streamline command and control and modernize forces. The Chinese seek to win at all levels of conflict, from regional conflicts to wars with peer competitors. “Reforms seek to streamline command and control structures and improve jointness at all levels,” the report said. The PLA is using realistic training scenarios and exercising troops and equipment regularly.
New Capabilities
China is investing billions in new capabilities including artificial intelligence, hypersonic technology, offensive cyber capabilities and more. China also has launched an aircraft carrier and added many new ships to the PLA Navy. The Chinese Navy is more active and making more port calls than in years past. Further, the PLA Marine Corps is expanding from 10,000 personnel to 30,000.
The PLA Air Force has been reassigned a nuclear mission, giving China a nuclear triad -- along with missile and subs -- for the first time.
Cyber operations play a significant role in the Chinese military. The PLA has a large corps of trained and ready personnel. Cyber espionage is common, and there are those who believe China was able to get plans of the F-35 Thunderbolt II joint strike fighter, which they incorporated into its J-20 stealth fighter.
The U.S. National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy recognize that China and Russia are strategic competitors of the United States. Still, the United States must engage with China, and maintenance of cordial military-to-military relations is in both nations’ best interests.
“While the Department of Defense engages substantively with the People’s Liberation Army, DoD will also continue to monitor and adapt to China’s evolving military strategy, doctrine and force development, and encourage China to be more transparent about its military modernization,” the report says.
The United States military will adapt to counter and get ahead of moves by any competitor, DoD officials said. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

‘Fat Leonard’ Scandal Grows With Indictment Of Three More Retired Navy Officials

Craig Whitlock at the Washington Post offers his latest piece on the ongoing U.S. Navy’s ‘Fat Leonard’ bribery and fraud scandal.

The worst corruption scandal in Navy history reached new heights Friday as federal prosecutors announced bribery and fraud charges against three retired sailors, including an officer who allegedly took part in a wild two-day party with prostitutes in Tokyo that cost $75,000.

A grand jury in San Diego indicted retired Capt. David W. Haas, 50, of Kailua, Hawaii, on charges that he took $145,000 in bribes from Leonard Glenn Francis (seen in the above photo), a Singapore-based defense contractor known as “Fat Leonard” in Navy circles.

Indicted separately on fraud charges were Ricarte Icmat David, 61, a retired master chief petty officer who lives in the Philippines, and Brooks Alonzo Parks, 46, a retired chief petty officer who lives in Naples, according to the Justice Department. 

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine piece on the Fat Leonard scandal via the below link:

Japan Releases Files On 1942 On Legendary Soviet Spy Richard Sorge And His Tokyo Spy Ring That Helped The Soviet Union

Joseph Fitsanakis at offers a piece on the release of Japanese documents about the Richard Sorge (seen in the above photo) spy ring in Japan during WWII.
Japan has released secret documents from 1942 relating to the Tokyo spy ring led by Richard Sorge, a German who spied for the USSR and is often credited with helping Moscow win World War II. The documents detail efforts by the wartime Japanese government to trivialize the discovery of the Sorge spy ring, which was at the heart of modern Japan’s biggest spy scandal. 
Thirty-five people, many of them highly placed Japanese officials, were arrested in Tokyo in October of 1941 for spying for the Soviet Union. Sorge, the German head of the spy ring, had fought for the Central Powers in World War I, but had subsequently become a communist and trained in espionage by Soviet military intelligence. He was then sent to Tokyo where he struck a close friendship with the German Ambassador and joined the German embassy. He eventually informed Moscow that German ally Japan was not planning to invade Russia from the east. That tip allowed Stalin to move hundreds of thousands of troops from the Far East to the German front, which in turn helped the USSR beat back the Nazi advance and win the war.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read an earlier post about Richard Sorge via the below link:
Note: To learn more about Richard Sorge and the Japanese spy ring, I suggest you read Gordon W. Prange's Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bui Tin, Prominent North Vietnamese Communist Defector, Dies

Luke Hunt, the Southeast Asian correspondent for The Diplomat and author of Punji Trap – Pham Xuan An: The Spy Who Didn’t Love Us, offers a piece on the death of Bui Tin (seen in the above photo on the right).

Colonel Bui Tin, a prominent North Vietnamese communist, journalist, and defector who accepted the unconditional surrender of South Vietnam in April 1975 has died in a Paris suburb, aged 90. His death was ignored in Hanoi.

As a journalist and propagandist — in an era that predated concepts of fake news – Col. Tin was masterful, making history when tanks stormed into the Presidential Palace in Saigon and he confronted General Duong Van “Big” Minh, the appointed leader as his country fell.

Gen. Minh told Col. Tin he had been waiting since early morning to transfer power. Tin then delivered his famous reply: “There is no question of your transferring power. Your power has crumbled. You can not give up what you do not have.”

… Following the communist victory, Col. Tin forged close ties with Pham Xuan An, the star reporter who worked in the Western media, winning the trust of Time magazine and Reuters, from his base in Saigon as a cover for his secret espionage work for Hanoi.

An also held the rank of colonel and would later be promoted to Brigadier General.

But both men had become disenfranchised with the new regime and its brand of communism that had, and still does, held little tolerance for free speech and was widely viewed by southerners as arrogant, ignorant, iron-fisted, and corrupt.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Indictment Reveals GRU Role in Election Meddling: Two Russian Military Spy Units Conducted Hack, Covertly Disseminated Hacked Documents

Veteran national security reporter Bill Gertz offers a piece at the Washington Free Beacon on the Russian GRU unit involved in the 2016 American election operation.

A team of Russian GRU military intelligence officers specializing in covert influence operations played the key role in the 2016 election meddling operation while working out of an office building on 22 Kirova Street in Moscow called "The Tower" by GRU spies.

Beginning in April 2016, the GRU team known as Unit 74455 and headed by Col. Aleksandr V. Osadchuk was the key player in the major Russian influence operation aimed at swaying the 2016 presidential election through covertly disseminating hacked documents on the internet.

"Unit 74455 assisted in the release of stolen documents through the DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 personas, the promotion of those releases, and the publication of anti-Clinton content on social media accounts operated by the GRU," the federal grand jury indictment filed July 13 in Washington says.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Don’t Be Misled By False Medicare Or Social Security Ads

Jim Borland, the Social Security Administration’s acting deputy commissioner for communications offers the below information:

Online and otherwise, there’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell what sources are credible. With millions of people relying on Social Security, scammers target audiences who are looking for program and benefit information.

The law that addresses misleading Social Security and Medicare advertising prohibits people or non-government businesses from using words or emblems that mislead others. Their advertising can’t lead people to believe that they represent, are somehow affiliated with, or endorsed or approved by Social Security or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Medicare).

People are often misled by advertisers who use the terms “Social Security” or “Medicare.” Often, these companies offer Social Security services for a fee, even though the same services are available directly from Social Security free of charge. These services include getting:

A corrected Social Security card showing a person’s married name;

§  A Social Security card to replace a lost card; 

§  A Social Security Statement; and§   

§  A Social Security number for a child.

If you receive misleading information about Social Security, send the complete ad, including the envelope, to:
Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline
Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235

You can learn more about how we combat fraudulent advertisers by reading our publication What You Need to Know About Misleading Advertising