Here’s what caught our eye in the world of intelligence this week:
In a new audiotape, al-Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri accused ISIS leader al-Baghdadi of “sedition” and claimed he is not the leader of all Muslims. Though there was no specific threat in regards to the 9/11 anniversary, cialis sales the latest edition of al-Qaeda’s digital magazine, Inspire, calls for attacks on U.S. economic leaders such as Bill gates and the Koch brothers. Intelligence officials downplayed any connection between the increase in propaganda and the 9/11 anniversary.
During an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, DNI James Clapper said data stolen in the OPM hack has so far not been used against the U.S. Clapper said: “There’s been no evidence to this point of the use of this data in a nefarious way.”According Clapper the data has not been destroyed or manipulated but just “simply stolen.” He also stated that since it was a “first-of-its-kind” data theft it cannot be defined as attack. Instead Clapper called it “passive intelligence collection,” and added that the U.S. does the same thing.
National Security Agency Director Adm. Rodgers said cyberattacks against the U.S. by Iran have slowed since nuclear talks intensified last year. While speaking to the House Intelligence Committee Adm. Rodgers said there was “significant Iranian activity” of cyberattacks against U.S. financial firms a few years ago. DNI James Clapper added that Iran and North Korea are said to have advanced cyberweapons but are unpredictable in how they use them. Despite the decrease in activity, Adm. Rodgers said Iran appear to be “fully committed” to using cyberattacks as a part of their strategy.
DNI Clapper is said to have frequent conversations with Army Major General Steven Grove, who leads US Central Command’s intelligence efforts, according to the Guardian. Last week it was reported that over 50 intelligence analysts had complained to the Pentagon’s Inspector General that their assessments of ISIS had been altered by officials at Centcom to place the military’s efforts against the group in a more positive light.
The U.S. is building up an intelligence and military presence in the Arctic to compete with the growing reach of China and Russia in that region. Over the last year many U.S. intelligence agencies have assigned analysts to work full time on the Arctic. One agency, The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has been developing new maps and charts of waterways that have opened up in the area due to global warming. In regards to the Arctic one intelligence official said: “There are a lot of things we can see now that we couldn’t see ten years ago.” The region likely contains untapped reserves natural gas and oil that are only now becoming accessible.