The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How the Russians tap into financial/economic intelligence...

As I have speculated here before, economic intelligence gathering is key:

The SIGINT facility at Lourdes [Cuba] is among the most significant intelligence collection capabilities targeting the United States. This facility, less than 100 miles from Key West, is one of the largest and most sophisticated SIGINT collection facilities in the world. It is jointly operated by the GRU, FAPSI, and Cuba's intelligence services. The complex is manned by over 1,000 Russian personnel and is capable of monitoring a wide array of commercial and government communications throughout the southeastern United States, and between the United States and Europe. Lourdes intercepts transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of shortwave and high-frequency radio transmissions. It also serves as a mission ground station and analytical facility supporting Russian SIGINT satellites. The facility at Lourdes, together with a sister facility in Russia, allows the Russians to monitor all U. S. military and civilian geosynchronous communications satellites.[17] It has been alleged that the Lourdes facility monitors all White House communications activities, launch control communications and telemetry from NASA and Air Force facilities at Cape Canaveral, financial and commodity wire services, and military communications links. According to one source, Lourdes has a special collection and analysis facility that is responsible for targeting financial and political information. This activity is manned by specially selected personnel and appears to be highly successful in providing Russian leaders with political and economic intelligence.

The former Soviet Union also used a variety of other means to collect signals intelligence. The Soviets operated SIGINT collection sites in over 60 countries from diplomatically protected embassies, consulates, trade legations, and residences. It is possible that these activities are continuing in the United States. The location of a number of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States would provide Russian SIGINT collectors with access to sensitive information. Russian collection activities could derive sensitive information on Government policies from monitoring Government activities in the Washington, DC area, and sensitive financial and trade information using Russian facilities located in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. The location of microwave towers and cellular communication repeaters in the vicinity of Russian diplomatic facilities in these cities increases the potential damage from collection activities. In the past, vans from the Soviet Mission to the United Nations were observed in the vicinity of the GE Americom satellite ground station in Vernon Valley, NJ, and vans from the San Francisco consulate were observed in the vicinity of AT&T microwave towers in Northern California. In both cases, the vans appeared to be conducting SIG1NT monitoring at these facilities.