Capitol Debacle: Politicization Undermines Intelligence

Was the Capitol Security Breach an Intelligence Failure? Former CIA Analyst Lisa Ruth Says No The melee at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 was a shocking example of mob violence and mentality, and shows just how bad things can go wrong when security is unprepared and overwhelmed. It is also, sadly, a textbook illustration of the dangers of politicizing intelligence. Full disclosure: I was not privy to any classified intelligence briefings for any law enforcement entity ahead of the attack. But as a former intelligence officer, I do know how [...]

By |2021-01-11T19:23:57-05:00January 11th, 2021|Security, Uncategorized, World News Round-Up|0 Comments

Why Putin Would Poison Opposition Leader Navalny

There are some things Vladimir Putin just can't abide. Threatening personal financial assets and seeking to undermine the entire house of cards Putin and his cronies have built are two of those things. Although Putin has never had much love for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the Russian leadership had largely managed to contain Navalny’s impact through quasi-legal methods and subtle intimidation. That changed last month, when Navalny became ill after drinking tea in Siberia. His supporters immediately suspected poison, but Russian police found no reason for investigation and dismissed the claims. Then, after he was airlifted [...]

By |2020-09-03T10:21:07-04:00September 3rd, 2020|International, Russia|0 Comments

Beirut Explosion: Accident or Israeli Intervention?

The massive blast that rocked Beirut earlier this week is being billed as a tragic accident that left hundreds dead and thousands wounded. The explosion also severely damaged the country’s infrastructure and left many residents without power in the sweltering Beirut summer heat. But former intelligence officers intimately familiar with the region caution that Israel, concerned about the explosive stockpile and the impotent Lebanese government, may have ignited the ammonium nitrate to deny terrorist group Hezbollah access to the chemicals. Ammonium Nitrate Explosion Beirut was devastated on 5 August, after 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored [...]

By |2020-08-11T11:19:04-04:00August 8th, 2020|Governments, Security, World News Round-Up|0 Comments

Protests in Hong Kong Over Extradition Bill

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Hong Kong on Sunday, protesting a government plan that would allow extraditions to mainland China. Rising fears over the erosion of Chinese civil liberties have driven the semiautonomous city apart from Bejing. The mass demonstration - one of the largest in Hong Kong's history - was the latest evidence of those fears. The bill would allow Hong Kong to detain and transfer people wanted in countries with which it has no formal extradition agreements. The claim from Carrie Lam, Hong Kong chief executive, is that the [...]

By |2019-06-13T11:26:56-04:00June 13th, 2019|International|0 Comments

Former CIA Officer Charged, ISIS Leader Reappears, and UK Defense Minister Fired

Former CIA Officer Pleads Guilty to Spying for China Jerry Chung Shin Lee plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday to conspiring “to gather and send secret information to the PRC.” Lee, 54, began working in China and other places as a CIA Officer in 1997. He left the Agency in 2004, reportedly frustrated that his career had stalled. According to prosecutors, Lee met with Chinese intelligence officials in 2010. Between 2010 and 2012, the Chinese government arrested and either jailed or killed dozens of Chinese citizens secretly working with the CIA. Over that same period [...]

By |2019-05-06T21:50:24-04:00May 6th, 2019|International, World News Round-Up|0 Comments

The Belt and Road Initiative, Ukranian Elections, and U.S. Cuba Relations

China’s Second Belt and Road Forum Is Underway This week, 36 world leaders have gathered in Beijing for to discuss China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Nine of the 10 ASEAN countries are represented at the conference as well as four of the five Central Asian countries. This level of attendance shows great regional confidence in the project’s future. Furthermore, 12 of  the 36 attendees are representing European nations including Italy, Portugal, and Austria. As the project continues to develop and more heads of state continue to enter BRI negotiations, it is clear that the project will [...]

By |2019-04-30T20:17:42-04:00April 30th, 2019|International, World News Round-Up|0 Comments

Navigating the Global (Corruption) Landscape

Official corruption remains the norm in many countries around the world and causes massive difficulties for companies operating in these environments. Understanding how to navigate the cultural norms in-country while adhering to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act requires working with well-vetted, well-connected vendors, partners, and facilitators. Failure to employ the right resources can cost companies contracts or land them in hot water with US authorities. According to Transparency International, more than two-thirds of countries in the world fall closer to the "corrupt" end of the spectrum than the "clean" end. In their most [...]

By |2018-09-18T19:12:40-04:00September 18th, 2018|International|0 Comments

Kim Jung-Un’s Nuclear About Face

First of all, credit where credit's due: Kudos to American President Donald Trump for luring Kim Jung-Un out of his bunker and into the daylight. Threats from Washington almost certainly encouraged Kim to venture outside of North Korea for meetings with both his Chinese counterparts and South Korean leaders. Moreover, Kim's diplomatic dance card is poised for yet another first - a meeting with President Trump himself. A smiling Kim is now making all kinds of peaceful-sounding initiatives, including suggesting signing an agreement to officially end the Korean War and promising the "denuclearization [...]

By |2018-10-16T12:33:04-04:00May 17th, 2018|International|0 Comments

Contingency Planning Among Brinksmanship

The escalating tension between the United States and North Korea demonstrates the need for strong contingency planning by corporate security professionals potentially in the line of fire between the two nations. The bellicose rhetoric and brinksmanship is on full tilt, with neither side willing to publicly blink or pull in its claws. That leaves those on the Korean peninsula, in Guam, and throughout Asia looking to the skies and watching for either a US preemptive strike or a North Korean missile attack. Personnel security is the obvious first concern, but there are also supply chain issues [...]

By |2018-05-31T12:52:14-04:00August 11th, 2017|International|0 Comments

US Business and the Gulf’s Shunning of Qatar

Despite facing sanctions from several of its neighbors, Qatar is continuing business as usual, with only minor disruptions. The situation has heightened geopolitical tensions in an already anxious region, but has not significantly impacted businesses in either Qatar or the region. The tiny and extremely wealthy country has already taken action to counter the sanctions and to ensure uninterrupted commerce. The situation is in flux, however, and US businesses need to monitor events closely. A second round of sanctions could seriously jeopardize American operations, as could retaliation by Qatar. Any escalation of the conflict would likely [...]

By |2018-04-28T21:44:59-04:00July 10th, 2017|International|0 Comments
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