A Russian spy's story of fear, blackmail and betrayal

Deniss Metsavas was a well-known military officer who frequently appeared on TV on behalf of his country's armed forces. He was also, thanks to a event of passion, blackmail and a constant fear of incarceration, a Russian intelligence asset. In this emotional video from The Atlantic, Metsavas talks about the consequences of his being blackmailed into becoming a witting Russian asset and the quick, dark path that led him to betraying his uniform and the country that he served.

Image vis Klickr, courtesy of Thomas Depenbusch (Depi) Read the rest

UK government is using child spies

The United Kingdom's security minister, Ben Wallace, really gets Lord Varys from Game of Thrones, you know? The Spider had it going on, man. He was hip and, also, with it. That imaginary man who had his love pump lopped off knew from HUMINT, apparently.

From The Telegraph:

Ben Wallace says there is “increasing scope” to recruit “juvenile” undercover agents because of the growing numbers of children involved in serious crime both as perpetrators and victims.

Records show the children - most aged 17 - have already been used as “covert human intelligence sources” (CHIS) by police in the past three years to provide information on murder, gang violence, drug dealing and the use of weapons.

The evidence emerged in a legal challenge in the High Court by campaign group Just for Kids Law who maintain there are a lack of safeguards to protect the children from potential physical and emotional harm. They claim the failings are a breach of the children's human rights.

Little Birds! Wallace's bullshit is currently before the courts in England as the Home Office is pushing to raise the current amount of time that folks under the age of 18 can work as an undercover informant from one month to four.

With no guaranteed protections against the type of psychological or physical trauma that they could potentially endure, even if they're not caught snooping, I can't think of anything less scrupulous than to enlist a child to keep tabs the sort of individuals that governments at the local or state level count among their enemies. Read the rest

Empire Games: Charlie Stross starts a new phase in the Merchant Princes series, blending spycraft, Leninist thought experiments, and parallel dimensions

Charlie Stross's longrunning Merchant Princes series are a sneaky, brilliant techno-economic thought experiment disguised as heroic fantasy, and with Empire Games, the first book of the second phase of the series, Stross throws in a heavy dose of the noirest spycraft, an experiment in dieselpunk Leninism and War on Terror paranoia.

Exclusive: Snowden intelligence docs reveal UK spooks' malware checklist

Boing Boing is proud to publish two original documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, in connection with "Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Extraordinary Rendition," a short story written for Laura Poitras's Astro Noise exhibition, which runs at NYC's Whitney Museum of American Art from Feb 5 to May 1, 2016.

Huge trove of surveillance leaks coming

Al Jazeera and The Guardian are set to publish "the Spy Cables," a massive trove of South African intelligence cables detailing the over-classification of information and the corruption of post-Apartheid South Africa by US political interference. Read the rest