TICOM (Target Intelligence Committee) of the United States operated to extract German intelligence personnel during and after the war, particularly signals intelligence and cryptographic ones. It was a competition to deny German technical skills to the Soviet Union.
In Operation Stella Polaris the Finnish signals intelligence unit was evacuated to Sweden after the end of the Continuation War. The records, including cryptographic material, ended up in the hands of U.S.
In 2010 UK and US had a dramatic Cold War-style prisoner exchange of 10 Russian deep cover “sleeper” agents (including glamour spy Anna Chapman) in exchange for four MI6 analyst spies (including the double agent Sergei Skripal)
Pattern analysis is one of the fundamental tools Operations Research (OR) practitioners have been using since World War II (when the newly developed field of OR got its first big workout). Pattern analysis is widely used on Wall Street, by engineers, law enforcement, marketing specialists, medical researchers and now, the military.
The Internet is too useful for the troops, especially for discussing technical and tactical matters with other soldiers. Troops prefer to keep a lot of stuff on memory sticks. Military network software that recognize the secure USB memory sticks but continue to block unauthorized devices. The U.S. Department of Defense has two private Internets (using Internet technology, but not directly connected to the public Internet). NIPRNET (Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network) is unclassified, and the primary network for American military personnel. NIPRNET has grown steadily, since it was created (from the earlier MILNET) in the 1980s.
China has launched Cyber War type hacking attacks on American companies involved with collecting and analyzing Mentor satellite data. If the Chinese have reached the Mentor database, it has made Chinese electronics much less likely to encounter unpleasant surprises in wartime.
When you talk to one additional person, the secrecy never remains. In fact, the surgical strikes were planned with mobile phones kept 20 metres away. Not only they were put off but kept 20 metres away so that nothing leaks. And I am very proud to say only one thing: I must have had between Uri (terror attack on Indian Army’s base) and actual (surgical) strikes something like 18-19 meetings, which includes (meetings with) Army top brass and also defence ministry’s officers, but nothing leaked out. Even probably it has not come out even now. Including flying of some of the officers to some foreign capitals to make arrangements for armaments and ammunition before the surgical strikes. We had to send officers with authority to carry out the on-spot purchase as they call it. When you work out something, your preparation has to be perfect to ensure that everything is taken care (of). In defence, many times we were not in a position to discuss any of the issues with anyone, whether it is Myanmar surgical strikes or whether it is PoK (Pakistan-administered Kashmir) surgical strikes. When you don’t tell anyone, you tend to build up stress. I virtually didn’t sleep because of the pressure. Manohar Parrikar
The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) is a three-agency entity—FBI, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Department of Defense (DoD)—established in 2009 that brings together intelligence professionals from the U.S. Intelligence Community to conduct interrogations that strengthen national security and that are consistent with the rule of law. High-value targets are nominated by U.S. intelligence agencies and must be approved by appropriate partner (FBI, CIA, and DoD) agency leadership. The director of the HIG is an FBI representative and is assisted by two deputies—one from the DoD and the other from the CIA. Though the HIG is administered by the FBI, it is a multiagency organization whose principal function is intelligence gathering—not law enforcement—and it is subject to oversight through the National Security Council, Department of Justice, and Congress.
In the 1970s, a network between between Japan and the Korean Peninsula was commissioned. By 1980, three stations at Wakkanai (designated JAP-4), Tsushima (JAP-108) and the Ryukyu Islands (RYU-80) were operational in Japan, along with earlier stations built in the Tsushima Straits and the Okinawa area. By the mid-1980s the SOSUS hydrophone arrays stretched from southern Japan to The Philippines, covering the approaches to China.
"Japan-financed project that calls for laying of an undersea optical fibre cable from Chennai to Port Blair; and the construction of an undersea network of seabed-based surveillance sensors stretching from the tip of Sumatra right up to Indira Point. Once completed, this network will be an integral part of the existing US-Japan ‘Fish Hook’ sound surveillance (SOSUS) network that will play a pivotal role in constantly monitoring all submarine patrols mounted by China’s PLA Navy (PLAN) in both the South China Sea and the IOR. This network will in turn be networked with the Indian Navy’s (IN) high-bandwidth National Command Control and Communications Intelligence network (NC3I), which has been set up under the IN’s National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) project at a cost of Rs.1,003 crores. At the heart of the NC3I is the Gurgaon-based, Rs.453 crore Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), whose systems integration software packages were supplied by Raytheon and CISCO."
China PLAN’s seabed-based surveillance network, developed jointly by Ukraine and China since 1996, has been under installation along China's territorial waters since 2012, with work expected to be completed later this year. The seabed-based component of this network comprises arrays of hydrophones and magnetic anomaly detectors spaced along undersea cables laid at the axis of deep sound-channels roughly normal to the direction that the arrays are to listen. This capability is next paired with maritime reconnaissance/ASW aircraft assets to establish a multi-tier ASW network. China’s ambitions for undersea surveillance should not be restricted to the “near seas,”; more distant areas, such as the Bay of Bengal, may be appropriate sites for future Chinese seabed-based sonar arrays “in order to support ASW operations in those sea areas.” Prasun K. Sengupta
There were similar interferences over the years in Guatemala, Chile and even in Japan, hailed as a model of post-World War II democracy, where the Liberal Democratic Party owes its early grip on power in the 1950s and 1960s to millions of dollars in covert C.I.A. support.
The Russians have been quicker to turn their cyberattacks for political purposes. A 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, a former Soviet republic that had joined NATO, sent a message that Russia could paralyze the country without invading it. The next year cyberattacks were used during Russia’s war with Georgia. For years, the Russians stayed largely out of the headlines, thanks to the Chinese — who took bigger risks, and often got caught.
In 2014 and 2015, a Russian hacking group began systematically targeting the State Department, the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “Each time, they eventually met with some form of success,” Michael Sulmeyer, a former cyberexpert for the secretary of defense, and Ben Buchanan, now both of the Harvard Cyber Security Project, wrote recently in a soon-to-be published paper for the Carnegie Endowment.
The Russians grew stealthier and stealthier, tricking government computers into sending out data while disguising the electronic “command and control” messages that set off alarms for anyone looking for malicious actions. The State Department was so crippled that it repeatedly closed its systems to throw out the intruders. At one point, officials traveling to Vienna with Secretary of State John Kerry for the Iran nuclear negotiations had to set up commercial Gmail accounts just to communicate with one another and with reporters traveling with them.
A low-cost, high-impact weapon that Russia had test-fired in elections from Ukraine to Europe was trained on the United States, with devastating effectiveness. For Russia, with an enfeebled economy and a nuclear arsenal it cannot use short of all-out war, cyberpower proved the perfect weapon: cheap, hard to see coming, hard to trace.
- “fishing trips’ for sensitive information; and
- outright attacks that are aimed at destroying data or disrupting computer systems.
Chinese military planners have determined the greatest weakness the United States military has is its reliance on computer and satellite systems. It has developed strategies to take advantage of these systems. Hackers in the PLA have worked out plan aimed disabling an aircraft carrier battle group. A “virtual guidebook fr electronic warfare and jamming: was developed by the PLA after carefully studying American and NATO military manuals.
In effect, each of these is an "Espionage Department" at these universities, where, each year, about 300 carefully selected applicants are accepted, to be trained as spies and intelligence operatives. The college trained operatives expect to make a career out of stealing Western technology. China has found that espionage is an enormously profitable way to steal military and commercial secrets. While Chinese Cyber War operations in this area get a lot of publicity, the more conventional spying brings in a lot of stuff that is not reachable on the Internet.
One indicator of this effort is the fact that American counter-intelligence efforts are snagging more Chinese spies. But this is largely due to increased spying efforts by China, rather than more success by the FBI and CIA. This use of industrial espionage has played a large part in turning China into the mightiest industrial and military power on the planet.
For over two decades China has been attempting to do what the Soviet Union never accomplished: steal Western technology, then use it to move ahead of the West. The Soviets lacked the many essential supporting industries found in the West (most founded and run by entrepreneurs) and was never able to get all the many pieces needed to match Western technical accomplishments. Soviet copies of American computers, for example, were crude, less reliable, and less powerful. It was the same with their jet fighters, tanks, and warships.
China gets around this by making it profitable for Western firms to set up factories in China, where Chinese managers and workers can be taught how to make things right. At the same time China allows thousands of their best students to go to the United States to study. While most of these students will stay in America, where there are better jobs and more opportunities, some will come back to China and bring American business and technical skills with them. Finally, China energetically uses the "thousand grains of sand" approach to espionage. This involves China trying to get all Chinese going overseas, and those of Chinese ancestry living outside the motherland, to spy for China, if only a tiny bit.
The final ingredient is a shadowy venture capital operation, sometimes called Project 863, that offers money for Chinese entrepreneurs who will turn the stolen technology into something real.
A computer ‘Keylogger’ spyware (virus) has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging every keystroke pilots were doing while remotely flying their missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.
NSA, whose lawful mission is foreign intelligence, is reaching deep inside the machinery of American companies that host hundreds of millions of American-held accounts on American soil. PRISM is an heir, in one sense, to a history of intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s. The NSA calls these Special Source Operations, and PRISM falls under that rubric.
The Silicon Valley operation works alongside a parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, that gathers up “metadata” — technical information about communications traffic and network devices — as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s top-secret program summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”
President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrant-less domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court led to Congress passing the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. Its first partner, Microsoft, and began six years of rapidly growing data collection beneath the surface of a roiling national debate on surveillance and privacy. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
When a clandestine intelligence program meets a highly regulated industry, said a lawyer with experience in bridging the gaps, neither side wants to risk a public fight. The engineering problems are so immense, in systems of such complexity and frequent change, that the FBI and NSA would be hard pressed to build in back doors without active help from each company.
"Basically, the NSA asks companies to subtly change their products in undetectable ways: making the random number generator less random, leaking the key somehow, adding a common exponent to a public-key exchange protocol, and so on," cryptographer Bruce Schneier notes in a story by the Guardian. "If the backdoor is discovered, it's explained away as a mistake. And as we now know, the NSA has enjoyed enormous success from this program."
The court-approved program is focused on foreign communications traffic, which often flows through U.S. servers even when sent from one overseas location to another. Between 2004 and 2007, Bush administration lawyers persuaded federal FISA judges to issue surveillance orders in a fundamentally new form. Until then the government had to show probable cause that a particular “target” and “facility” were both connected to terrorism or espionage.
In four new orders, which remain classified, the court defined massive data sets as “facilities” and agreed to certify periodically that the government had reasonable procedures in place to minimize collection of “U.S. persons” data without a warrant.
Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “I would just push back on the idea that the court has signed off on it, so why worry? This is a court that meets in secret, allows only the government to appear before it, and publishes almost none of its opinions. It has never been an effective check on government.”
“We have never heard of PRISM,” said Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple. “We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”
It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing “collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,” rather than directly to company servers.
And it is true that the PRISM program is not a dragnet, exactly. From inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes, but under current rules the agency does not try to collect it all.
Analysts who use the system from a Web portal at Fort Meade, Md., key in “selectors,” or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s “foreignness.” That is not a very stringent test. Training materials obtained by The Post instruct new analysts to make quarterly reports of any accidental collection of U.S. content, but add that “it’s nothing to worry about.”
Even when the system works just as advertised, with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content. That is described as “incidental,” and it is inherent in contact chaining, one of the basic tools of the trade. To collect on a suspected spy or foreign terrorist means, at minimum, that everyone in the suspect’s inbox or outbox is swept in. Intelligence analysts are typically taught to chain through contacts two “hops” out from their target, which increases “incidental collection” exponentially. The same math explains the aphorism, from the John Guare play, that no one is more than “six degrees of separation” from any other person.
Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said.
In 2012 Internet security researchers accused Israel of a similar stunt when new spyware was found throughout the Middle East. Similar to Stuxnet and Duqu (both created by a joint U.S.-Israeli effort), the new spyware was called Gauss, and it was used to monitor Hezbollah (an Iran backed Lebanese terrorist group) financial activity. Gauss was apparently unleashed in 2011, and had already done its job by the time it was discovered.
The 2015 version is called Duqu 2.0 and it is much improved over the 2011 original. Duqu 2.0 uses a new communications system making it very difficult (and often impossible) to determine where it is sending data and getting orders from. Duqu 2.0 also hides itself much more efficiently, making it more difficult to detect and remove. Duqu 2.0 uses more powerful encryption, making it more difficult to even examine portions of it that are captured. Duqu 2.0 uses all of this, especially the stealth, to compromise entire networks, including routers and “smart” devices (like printers) attached to the network. This makes it much more difficult to remove because parts of Duqu 2.0 are all over an infected network and well hidden. Clean out one server and surviving Duqu 2.0 components will note this and quietly re-infect the “cleaned” computer or server.
Duqu 2.0 is one of a growing number of powerful malware systems showing up. In late 2014 another high grade Cyber War weapon has been found. This one is called Regin and it joined illustrious predecessors like Stuxnet, Duqu, Flame and several others that have been discovered since 2009. Regin, like its predecessors, was extensive, apparently built by skilled and well organized professionals and designed to stay hidden. This it apparently did for over six years. Malware like this is royalty of hacker software, built with care and abundant resources by top talent.
Regin has numerous modules and the ability to do a lot of spying on its own without much, if any, human intervention. Security researchers are now trying to find where Regin has been, which is difficult because Regin was designed to erase all traces of itself after getting what it was sent in for. Regin apparently was not designed for long term visits, which made it more vulnerable to detection and analysis. Once researchers knew more about Regin they were able to quickly search likely systems that might have been attacked to look for clues that Regin was there once, or more, in the past. Unlike earlier software of this type, Regin was designed to intrude in a wider variety of places and look for a much longer list of items. Regin was also designed to recover deleted files and even take over the operation of an infected PC for some operations.
Yet another high-end spyware system was recently discovered. This one has been called Sauron and it is very difficult to detect because it is designed that way. So far Sauron has been found in over 30 government networks in China, Rwanda, Russia, Iran and Belgium. Sauron spends most of its time monitoring the system it is in for specific types of information (like passwords, decryption keys and similar useful stuff.) Sauron can deliver its information via the Internet or by hiding in USB drives that are available.
The Indian The Army is conducting a court of inquiry (CoI) against the officer, a lieutenant colonel from the 82 Armoured Regiment deployed in a forward formation in Suratgarh district of Rajasthan, to ascertain whether he divulged or compromised classified operational information along the western front with Pakistan.
"The officer was just chatting online with the woman on the computer ... there was no physical contact. No laptops have been lost. We are conducting a CoI into the incident," a senior officer said.
Intelligence Bureau got wind of the matter as they were already tracking the Bangladeshi woman, identified as Sheeba, after she had honey trapped another Indian lieutenant colonel, this time a Para Regiment commando, who was undergoing a staff college course in the Bangladesh military academy in Dhaka last year.
"The Para officer was compromised in the ISI honey trap at Dhaka. But instead of giving away any information, he alerted Indian authorities and was promptly flown out of Bangladesh," an official said.
The Indian Navy, for instance, last year sacked Commodore Sukhjinder Singh after his sexually explicit pictures with a Russian woman had surfaced. Singh was posted in Moscow as part of the Indian negotiating team for the acquisition of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (now rechristened INS Vikramaditya), for which India finally agreed to pay $2.33 billion after protracted and bitter negotiations with Russia.
Five to six officers, for instance, are facing a naval board of inquiry (BoI) after Chinese hackers were recently detected to have broken into sensitive naval computers, in and around Eastern Navy Command HQs at Visakhapatnam, with the help of "worm-infected" pen-drives.
Another BoI in the Mumbai-based Western Navy Command has recommended stringent action, including dismissal from service, against at least two commanders for posting confidential information and data, including location of warships and their patrolling patterns, on Facebook.
There is also news that India organizations such as the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (part of ISRO), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and even Bharat Dynamics Ltd (The government owned defense company that makes missiles) are being removed from the US Department of Commerce’s “Entities List”. DRDO labs removed from the entities list include India’s Armament Research and Development Establishment, Defense Research and Development Laboratory, Missile Research and Development Complex and the Solid State Physics Laboratory. For American companies, this list is a virtual embargo on shipping anything (without some very special permission, that is rarely if ever granted). This is good thing for all concerned. DefenseWorld reports that DRDO is already hungering for possible lucrative offset contracts that may be offered to its labs by foreign suppliers who are required to spend 30% or more of large new orders on enhancing India’s defense capability.
Note that organizations working on India’s “strategic” nuclear program, such as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)in Mumbai remain on this embargoed list. The India Expert does not expect BARC and other Department of Atomic Energy groups (IGCAR etc) to come off the entities list any time soon. (Of course the nuclear utility, NPCIL, is not on the entities list).
But it's not just paper bullets intelligence operatives have to worry about these days. The post-9/11 world dramatically altered the way that national intelligence services do business. For one, the craft of espionage and military intelligence has become inherently more dangerous for case officers and agents in an age of terrorism and insurgency than it was during the Cold War.
This is a complete turnaround from the way business was done during the Cold War in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Many case officers on all sides, whether CIA, Mi6, or KGB, served out their entire 20 or 30 year careers as professional spies without ever having touched a firearm after their initial tradecraft courses. After all, getting into gun battles was not their job. Collecting information was. Furthermore, the case officers themselves, often operating under official diplomatic cover, didn't really have anything to fear if they were caught or their covers blown, except a ruined career and expulsion from whatever country they operated in. The ones in real danger were always the informants, or "assets", that the case officers recruited, who were liable to face execution if they were found out. Simply put, spying really wasn't that dangerous for the case officers.
After the War on Terrorism began, the Cold War rules began to rapidly disappear. For one thing, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, along with most places that CIA officers operate today, are actual war zones with nothing "cold" about them. During traditional peacetime case officers don't really have to worry about their own safety, just that of their informants. Once you get involved with terrorists or an actual shooting war starts, all of that changes, and intelligence officers (whether CIA or Army Intelligence) become major high-value targets for terrorist and insurgents.
This has necessitated a number of dramatic changes in the way the Americans, British, and other professional intelligence services do business where they are needed most (in war zones). For one, the spooks are getting strapped. Case officers working in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even Egypt routinely carry handguns everywhere they go to defend themselves should the need arise. During the Cold War this was unnecessary and generally considered a stupid liability since being caught with a weapon would probably get you booted out of the country you operated in.
Carrying a sidearm is necessary for a case officer working in a city like Karachi or Kabul, the truth remains that getting into a gunfight is still the last resort and should be avoided at all costs. Case officers know that the most effective way to avoided being a terrorist target is to avoid following the same routines every day, varying routes to and from work/meetings, never sleeping in the same safe house for too long, and generally making one's life as varied and unpredictable as possible. Experienced spies know that if you can't be found, you can't be a target. The best game plan is to be as invisible as possible. Using contractors to run your informant networks is the best cover of all.
Russia is different, as the Russians always had the best spies (because of superior recruiting, training, and management). A lot of those spies were cut loose after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, and some of them offered to talk (if the price was right). What these guys revealed was chilling for Western intel agencies, a decades long tale of successful old-school espionage operations. The KGB was so good that most of these ops were not even suspected.
U.S. snooping has a history older than the republic. With the help of a code-breaker, George Washington deciphered British messages during the critical siege of Yorktown. At least three times he planted false war plans and military documents on agents in successful bids to deceive the British.
The Cipher Bureau otherwise known as The Black Chamber was the United States' first peacetime cryptanalytic organization, and a forerunner of the National Security Agency. The only prior codes and cypher organizations maintained by the US government had been some intermittent, and always abandoned, attempts by Armed Forces branches prior to World War I.
Headed by Herbert O. Yardley (1889–1958), it was founded in May 1919 following World War I. Yardley had commanded the Army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence (MI-8) during World War I. MI-8 was disbanded after the war. Jointly funded by the Army and the State Department, the Cipher Bureau was disguised as a New York City commercial code company; it actually produced and sold such codes for business use. It’s true mission, however, was to break the communications (chiefly diplomatic) of other nations. Its most notable known success was during the Washington Naval Conference during which it aided American negotiators considerably by providing them with the decrypted traffic of many of the Conference delegations, most notably the Japanese.
In 1929, the State Department withdrew its share of the funding, the Army declined to bear the entire load, and the Black Chamber closed down the Cipher Bureau. In his much later memoirs, then new Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson said that: "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." His views on the worth of cryptanalysis had changed by the time he became Secretary of War during World War II, before and during which he, and the entire US command structure, relied heavily on decrypted enemy communications.
In 1931, and in need of money, Yardley wrote a book about the Cipher Bureau, entitled The American Black Chamber. Yardley was the proud father of that surveillance state, creating the forerunner of the National Security Agency. (He had persuaded the head of military intelligence to admit him to the army to set up MI-8, a new cryptographic bureau.) He published a blockbuster book after the government decided that reading private messages was not in keeping with American values.
The term "Black Chamber" predates Yardley's use of it in the title of his book. The first in a long line of cabinet noirs was established by King Henry IV of France in 1590 as part of the Poste aux Lettres. Its mission was to open, read and reseal letters, and great expertise was developed in the restoration of broken seals. In the knowledge that mail was being opened, correspondents began to develop systems to encrypt and decrypt their letters, the breaking of these codes giving birth to modern systematic scientific code breaking.
The Black Chambers survived through to the Twentieth Century in a variety of guises and inspired similar organisations in other countries, such as the "Secret Office" of the British Post Office, and it is within this historical framework that Yardley uses the term. (Also in Britain after 1920 telegraph companies had to hand over telegrams requested with a warrant.) Britain’s military code-breaking operation, Room 40, helped usher the United States into the war, without American leaders having any idea of its precise role. The unit made copies of every message that went over America’s trans-Atlantic telegraph cable by tapping into all traffic that passed through a relay station at Porthcurno, on the western edge of England, before they travelled across the ocean.
It was also used at about that time in Poland.
William F. Friedman, Yardley's rival, was helping to prepare America for the age of (temporarily) unbreakable cipher machines, including Enigma, that would later play a vital role in the WW2.
In the 19th century – the first half of the 20th century the scholars debated the relative importance of land (Halford Mackinder, the heartland theory) or sea power (Nicolas John Spykman, the conception of Rimland) for global leadership.
The control over air and space started to be normally seen as crucial in the second half of the 20th century. The NSA was born in 1952, under Harry Truman.
The XXI century started with the maxim defining the control over cyberspace as the key to world dominance. The use of large-scale violence against civilians to achieve political goals was a hallmark of the Reagan "playbook," employed not just in Nicaragua but in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Angola.
United States' playbook during the Ronald Reagan presidency, when the Soviet empire began to unravel thanks to a relentless US covert-action campaign. Rather than confront Moscow head-on, Reagan nibbled at the edges, by supporting movements that destabilized Russian power in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola and, finally, Poland and Eastern Europe. After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, the United States funded guerrillas, many of them religious extremists, to fight the occupation government.
It was a clever American strategy back then, pushing a wounded Soviet Union and opportunistically exploiting local grievances wherever possible. And it’s an equally clever Russian approach now, offering maximum gain at minimum potential cost. It is a clever exploitation of local cultural and religious bias — the sort of “divide and rule” move favored by intelligence agencies for centuries.