REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS

I was looking to see if embassies are highly populated by the CIA, and came across this really quirky article about academics being recruited by the 'Agency'.

POSTED BY: 1KIKI
UPDATED: Thursday, November 21, 2019 14:18
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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 12:12 AM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.



According to a person familiar with this encounter, which took place about a decade ago, the agency had been preparing it for months. Through a business front, it had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign centre of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff ... “Every intelligence service in the world works conferences, sponsors conferences, and looks for ways to get people to conferences,” said one former CIA operative. Scientific conferences have become such a draw for intelligence agents that one of the biggest concerns for CIA operatives is interference from agency colleagues trapping the same academic prey.
Quote:


The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics

In order to tempt nuclear scientists from countries such as Iran or North Korea to defect, US spy agencies routinely send agents to academic conferences – or even host their own fake ones. By Daniel Golden

The CIA agent tapped softly on the hotel room door. After the keynote speeches, panel discussions and dinner, the conference attendees had retired for the night. Audio and visual surveillance of the room showed that the nuclear scientist’s minders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were sleeping, but he was still awake. Sure enough, he opened the door, alone.

According to a person familiar with this encounter, which took place about a decade ago, the agency had been preparing it for months. Through a business front, it had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign centre of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff, just so it could entice the nuclear expert out of Iran, separate him for a few minutes from his guards, and pitch him one-to-one. A last-minute snag had almost derailed the plans: the target switched hotels because the conference’s preferred hotel cost $75 more than his superiors in Iran were willing to spend.

To show his sincerity and goodwill, the agent put his hand over his heart. “Salam habibi,” he said. “I’m from the CIA, and I want you to board a plane with me to the United States.” The agent could read the Iranian’s reactions on his face: a mix of shock, fear and curiosity. From prior experience with defectors, he knew the thousand questions flooding the scientist’s mind: What about my family? How will you protect me? Where will I live? How will I support myself? How do I get a visa? Do I have time to pack? What happens if I say no?

The scientist started to ask one, but the agent interrupted him. “First, get the ice bucket,” he said.

“Why?”

“If any of your guards wake up, you can tell them you’re going to get some ice.”

In perhaps its most audacious and elaborate incursion into academia, the CIA has secretly spent millions of dollars staging scientific conferences around the world. ...

More than any other academic arena, conferences lend themselves to espionage. Assisted by globalisation, these social and intellectual rituals have become ubiquitous. Like stops on the world golf or tennis circuits, they sprout up wherever the climate is favourable, and draw a jet-setting crowd. What they lack in prize money, they make up for in prestige. Although researchers chat electronically all the time, virtual meetings are no substitute for getting together with peers, networking for jobs, checking out the latest gadgets and delivering papers that will later be published in volumes of conference proceedings. “The attraction of the conference circuit,” English novelist David Lodge wrote in Small World, his 1984 send-up of academic life, is that “it’s a way of converting work into play, combining professionalism with tourism, and all at someone else’s expense. Write a paper and see the world!”

The importance of a conference may be measured not just by the number of Nobel prize-winners or Oxford dons it attracts, but by the number of spies. US and foreign intelligence officers flock to conferences for the same reason that army recruiters concentrate on low-income neighbourhoods: they make the best hunting grounds. While a university campus might have only one or two professors of interest to an intelligence service, the right conference – on drone technology, perhaps, or Isis – could have dozens.

“Every intelligence service in the world works conferences, sponsors conferences, and looks for ways to get people to conferences,” said one former CIA operative. ...

At conferences hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, ‘there are probably more intelligence officers than actual scientists’. ...

A spy’s courtship of a professor often begins with a seemingly random encounter – known in the trade as a “bump” – at an academic conference. One former CIA operative overseas explained to me how it works. I’ll call him “R”.

“I recruited a ton of people at conferences,” R told me. “I was good at it, and it’s not that hard.”

Between assignments, he would peruse a list of upcoming conferences, pick one, and identify a scientist of interest who seemed likely to attend after having spoken at least twice at the same event in previous years. R would assign trainees at the CIA and National Security Agency to develop a profile of the target – where they had gone to college, who their instructors were, and so on. Then he would cable headquarters, asking for travel funding. The trick was to make the cable persuasive enough to score the expense money, but not so compelling that other agents who read it, and were based closer to the conference, would try to go after the same target.

Next he developed his cover – typically, as a businessman. He invented a company name, built an off-the-shelf website and printed business cards. He created billing, phone and credit card records for the nonexistent company. For his name, he chose one of his seven aliases.

R was no scientist. He couldn’t drop in a line about the Riemann hypothesis as an icebreaker. Instead, figuring that most scientists are socially awkward introverts, he would sidle up to the target at the edge of the conference’s get-together session and say, “Do you hate crowds as much as I do?” Then he would walk away. “The bump is fleeting,” R said. “You just register your face in their mind.” No one else should notice the bump. It’s a rookie mistake to approach a target in front of other people who might be minders assigned by the professor’s own country. The minders would report the conversation, compromising the target’s security and making them unwilling or unable to entertain further overtures.

For the rest of the conference, R would “run around like crazy”, bumping into the scientist at every opportunity. With each contact, called “time on target” in CIA jargon and counted in his job-performance metrics, he insinuated himself into the professor’s affections. For instance, having done his homework, R would say he had read a wonderful article on such-and-such topic but couldn’t remember the author’s name. “That was me,” the scientist would say, blushing.

After a couple of days, R would invite the scientist to lunch or dinner and make his pitch: his company was interested in the scientist’s field, and would like to support their work. “Every academic I have ever met is constantly trying to figure how to get grants to continue his research. That’s all they talk about,” he explained. They would agree on a specific project, and the price, which varied by the scientist’s country: “$1,000 to $5,000 for a Pakistani. Korea is more.” Once the CIA pays a foreign professor, even if they are unaware at first of the funding source, it controls them, because exposure of the relationship might imperil their career or even their life in their native country. ...

The CIA arranges conferences on foreign policy issues so that its analysts, who are often immersed in classified details, can learn from scholars who understand the big picture and are familiar with publicly available sources. Participating professors are generally paid a $1,000 honorarium, plus expenses. With scholarly presentations followed by questions and answers, the sessions are like those at any academic meeting, except that many attendees – presumably, CIA analysts – wear name tags with only their first names.

Of 10 intelligence agency conferences that Booth attended over the years – most recently a 2015 session about a wave of Central American refugee children pouring into the US – the CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence [ODNI] ran only one or two directly. The rest were outsourced to Centra Technology Inc, the leader of a growing industry of intermediaries in the Washington area –“cutouts” in espionage parlance – that run conferences for the CIA.

The CIA supplies Centra with funding and a list of people to invite, who gather in Centra’s Conference Center in Arlington, Virginia. It’s “an ideal setting for our clients’ conferences, meetings, games, and collaborative activities,” according to Centra’s website.

“If you know anything, when you see Centra, you know it’s likely to be CIA or ODNI,” said Robert Jervis, a Columbia University professor of international politics and longtime CIA consultant. “They do feel that for some academics thin cover is useful.”


https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/oct/10/the-science-of-spying-how
-the-cia-secretly-recruits-academics


read the entire article at the link

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 12:33 AM

WISHIMAY

THIS machine kills fascists- Woody Guthrie


Thank Buddha the CIA is trying to bring smarter people here...I mean, we let in Chumps' horrid dumbass family, gotta adjust the intelligence curve SOMEHOW

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 1:22 AM

6IXSTRINGJACK

[/i]


Remember when Democrats hated the CIA before Anderson Cooper brainwashed them?

Do Right, Be Right. :)

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 4:00 AM

SIGNYM

I believe in solving problems, not sharing them.


Curiously, I stumbled across a reference to a report written by a DIA peerson whose name was suspiciously like one of my former HS almost-classmates (he was a year behind me). It was kinda weird but his name didn't show up in any of the usual internet haunts, had been scrubbed clean of all references including HS. It as only after birdogging extensively thru the inet that I found a reference (via his brother) that confirmed that was indeed him. He was considered a "genuis" by most of the school, only one other person in the 4-year cohort was considered brighter than him.

I also found out that one of my classmates who I greatly admired ... a football player who could type better than anyone in my typing class, and who used to tell this hilarious story about how he started cartwheeling down and hill and couldn't stop, had moved to W Virginia and passed away a number of years ago, greatly loved by his family and his many friends. Sad to hear of Al's passing; if he had stayed the same as in HS the world became a lesser place with him gone.

-----------
Pity would be no more,
If we did not MAKE men poor - William Blake

You idiots have been oppressing the entire sexual spectrum as long as you have existed. I can't wait for the day your kind is dead - WISHIMAY

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Thursday, November 21, 2019 2:18 PM

1KIKI

Goodbye, kind world (George Monbiot) - In common with all those generations which have contemplated catastrophe, we appear to be incapable of understanding what confronts us.


Having gone to a few (probably not very interesting to the CIA) conferences, and knowing people who've traveled extensively to China ... I find the thoroughness and depth of CIA intrusion into academics and scientific travel a revelation. I had no idea such a thing existed, let alone how vast and enmeshed it was. And here I was thinking it was just a bunch of isolated science wonks getting together to vacation and trade arcane information.

As to being scrubbed from the internet - one of the people I know who applied to the FBI got to the point of being scrubbed from the internet. He mentioned that he had been and explained how in-depth it was. And indeed, there was only one anonymous crowd picture with someone who looked like him that I stumbled across. Being scrubbed - it's a real thing.

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