Germany benefits from US signal intelligence. When we consider the widespread industrial espionage carried out by the Chinese, it is helpful to remember France’s extensive track record of stealing secrets from its friends and neighbors.* Israel is a major espionage threat to the United States. The British collect a lot of intelligence on allies and adversaries, even if deploying fake rocks in Russia might not have been the best idea in the history of spying. Russian and Chinese spying should require little in the way of elaboration: they both engage in a lot of it. There’s nothing unusual about all of this. International espionage implicates friends and foes in a web of conflict and cooperation. In other words, US Secretary of State John Kerry is right:
Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said he would look into claims the National Security Agency bugged offices of the European Union, but downplayed the reports, saying such spycraft is “not unusual.”
“Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contributes to that,” Kerry said at a news conference in Brunei, according to the BBC.
“All I know is that is not unusual for lots of nations. But beyond that I’m not going to comment any further until I have all the facts and find out precisely what the situation is,” he added.
So what does it mean that EU and European officials are expressing outrage over the latest revelations from Ed Snowden? Continue reading
Authorities in Denmark have charged a university professor with assisting “foreign intelligence operatives”, believed to be Russian. Professor Timo Kivimäki, a conflict resolution expert, who teaches international politics at the University of Copenhagen, is accused of “providing or attempting to provide” information to four Russian government officials on several documented instances between 2005 and 2010. The indictment claims Kivimäki, who was born in Finland, intended to give the Russians “information relating to individuals and subjects connected with intelligence activities”.
Kivimäki says that he had no idea that the Russians he worked for were spies. RIA reports that:
The Finn, who has been suspended from his job as professor of international politics at the University of Copenhagen, admitted to providing consultancy services to four Russian diplomats between 2005 and 2010 and said he had charged some 16,000 euros for the work, the Helsingin Sanomat daily reported. Denmark’s security agency PET says the diplomats were spies.Kivimäki might have passed information about his students, who the Russians could have then used to recruit agents in Denmark, PET’s former head told YLE earlier this week.
But Kivimäki said there was no evidence to back the allegations and insisted that he was “innocent.”He also said he was “relieved” that the matter was going to court. He faces up to six years in jail if convicted.
Sounds not at all obvious; much depends on the nature of the evidence held by the Danish authorities. Still, an unusual story for the international-relations field, at least in the developed world and in this day and age.