103

Skripal was a double-agent who used to work for the Russian secret service GRU but defected to the UK intelligence service MI6. He was arrested by the Russians in 2004. In 2010, he was officially pardoned and exiled to the UK as part of a prisoners exchange. So he is unlikely to still possess any not yet revealed intelligence which still has any value. ...


67

China didn't issue anyone a genuine South Korean passport; only South Korea can do that - China allegedly issued a forged or counterfeit passport. But China is not alone in doing this, and this is nothing like a new thing. Criminals and intelligence agencies across the globe have done it since passports were invented - which is why passports have become ...


44

In addition to @Philipp's answer: Poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal was close to {an unnamed} consultant who was linked to the Trump dossier — The Telegraph If the above allegation is true, it could be that Skripal was somehow related to the Collusion, and the poisoning of him could be just a revenge for his betrayal. Since the recent events are ...


26

Impeachment From Article II Section 4: The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. "High crimes and misdemeanors" is a legal term of art understood more broadly than literal crimes and misdemeanors. ...


25

Not taking over North Korea is not exactly because of the difficulties involved, since the Chinese have a relatively powerful military currently. Rather, it doesn't benefit China much. Firstly, China would have to inherit the whole North Korean population and provide them with food, necessities, etc. It may even result in a refugee crisis for China should ...


21

Not a complete answer, but elements of thoughts: Even if China could somehow kill Kim Jong Un and get away with it, would that mean the collapse of NK regime? After all, it has survived the successive deaths of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il without major changes in its shape. NK can be a pain in the neck for China, but it sure is a bigger problem for the US ...


17

Article here All were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants were charged with aggravated identity theft. Separately, Mueller’s office announced that Richard Pinedo, of Santa Paula, California, had pleaded guilty to identity ...


15

There are three levels to state "espionage": 1: Open data gathering. Embassy staff (possibly including local employees) buy newspapers and maps, visit companies and trade shows, and generally talk to people openly. This is perfectly legal in most places, although in some states the line between "public" and "secret" is a lot fuzzier; e.g. trying to get an ...


10

Even Al-Qaeda sometimes managed to use fake passports in the West... Ahmed Ressam, the focus of this FRONTLINE report, was somewhat of an expert in fake passports. He used a counterfeit French passport to enter Canada and apply for political asylum. While living there, he supplied fake Canadian passports to other Algerians. And he used a fake Canadian ...


9

Basically, the reason is that everybody except the North Korean people are more or less happy with the way things are. If anything changes, Seoul gets bombarded, China loses its buffer state, and it has to deal with millions of starving refugees. The only problem is, the country itself is unsustainable in a very basic sense-- as far as its ability to feed ...


9

No, the President indeed has the authority to declassify any classified information. If he unclassified the information that he shared, it would be deemed legal to deliver it to others as it's unclassified, thus he won't be breaking any law to share it. If you continue reading the Washington Post article that you cited: For almost anyone in government, ...


8

Absent a clandestine recording or smuggled out meeting notes from FSB meeting discussing this, it's impossible to answer conclusively. However, if you assume what your question assumes (that the intent is to embarrass South Korea), there's ample reason to do so: South Korea is a strong US ally in general. Additionally, it's the focal point of Korean ...


7

"On 4 March 2018, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England, with a chemical determined by the Government of the United Kingdom to be a Novichok nerve agent." source Novichok is a nerve agent which began development in the Soviet Union and continued after its collapse into 1993,...


6

Yes, they have recourse. The security officials can (and in case of certain high level positions, should - according to the rules) brief Congress. Which obviously acts as check and balance on the Executive branch - by either passing laws; or holding impeachment hearings, or other less drastic ways of influencing the Executive branch. Then there's of ...


6

There are multitude of reasons (and absent Putin's confidential documents being leaked, no way to be sure at this time). Three of the possibilities: Russians - and especially Putin's cohort - have a deep and abiding hatred of Bill Clinton over his aggression against Serbia and him engineering what Russia sees as theft of Kosovo. This is not something most ...


6

No. You need to remember that the Cold War wasn't just between the US and USSR, they were just the most powerful players. It was fundamentally a clash of ideologies, between all the countries in the Communist sphere, and those that didn't want to be. So even when there were conflicts between players on the same side, for instance the USSR/China conflicts, ...


6

What do you mean by 'politicization'? The flipside to your question (Why are intelligence agents allowed to have views on political matters) is intertwined, and I attempt to address it along the way. If someone in the FBI knows that a local mayor is accepting large bribes, then what surprise is it if the agent doesn't like the mayor, and supports their ...


5

The division you are looking for is almost certainly the CIA "Near East" Division, as mentioned in this Washington Post article detailing secret operations in Afghanistan by the Special Activities Division (SAD) and the Near East Division. A chart of CIA divisions can be found here.


5

Plagiarizing from my own History.SE answer to a very similar question: If you go by official definition (e.g. on Wikipedia), then the Cold War - defined as geopolitical conflict between USSR-led communist block and Western democracies - was officially over December 25, 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR. However, if you see Cold War merely as a specific ...


4

No. Cold War was the result of understanding that any armed conflict between US and USSR would lead to a nuclear exchange. So no traditional armies could be allowed to fight each other. Even before the point when mutually assured destruction became a certainty because of the sheer number of nuclear bombs on both sides, any military exchange between the 2 ...


4

I'll keep it pretty simple - North Korea has a massive conventional army (the majority of their money goes into military) and leadership that really doesn't care what happens to their people. Plus now they have nukes. If there was ever a time when it would be easy to march in and take them out, that time has long passed. The other reason is - why would ...


4

Reasons for punishing the spy include: To discourage other people from spying. If spies receive significant punishment, then people will be discouraged from becoming spies and those that do will demand more compensation from their masters, raising the cost to the spying country. It's hard to punish nation states. You can't send them to jail. You can demand ...


3

The question itself is whether there is any legal internationally-adapted convention against identifying active spies as "former"? And if so, whether these conventions make it incumbent upon their past employers to "rein them in" if their actions interfere with public good of other states after their retirement. There is no such convention. Spies ...


3

So in your first two cases, these are cases where the spy retired from government employment and then used their connections and skill sets for other legitimate purposes. I cannot speak to KGB and successor organization policies, but within the U.S. and presumbably UK, you are still under a non-disclosure agreement about the work you did for the agency and ...


3

Based on all the security briefings that I have been through working in the defence industry: Foreign agents will target people working in sensitive industries. They will be looking for people who have weaknesses that can be exploited through blackmail, such as gambling problems or some personal secret you don't want getting out. This is what will be ...


3

While all the secrets he knew about would already have been transferred in 2010, he would still pose a potential danger via his personal relationships with his former colleagues and their family members and friends. While this is pure speculation, it is possible that Mi6 had tried to use Skripal to recruit new spies and that the Russians had found that out.


3

IMO, North Korea's nuclear program poses a much larger threat to China as compared to the US. Even with North Korea's newest ICBM, only a small part of the US (Guam, Northern Marianas, parts of Alaska which are barely populated, and probably parts of Hawaii) are under threat. Also, let's not overlook the fact that the US has a huge and mature National ...


3

No organization can be sure that a person isn't an insider threat, which is why they operate assuming anyone could be. Physical and logical controls operate on a principle of least access, which means that no person should have access to information which they don't have a specific need to know or areas that they don't have a specific need to access. ...


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