Intel Update 20170109 – CIA flights, spy gadgets, and more

Painting - "Earthquake's Final Flight" depicts the final flight of a C-119 flown by contract CIA pilots dropping resupply bundles to the French over Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam in 1954. The aircraft was struck by AAA and later crashed in Laos. (painting at CIA HQs).
Painting - "Earthquake's Final Flight" depicts the final flight of a C-119 flown by contract CIA pilots dropping resupply bundles to the French over Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam in 1954. The aircraft was struck by AAA and later crashed in Laos. (painting at CIA HQs).

Intel Update 20170109 – gadgets that spies use, questions to be posed during CIA confirmation hearings, Trump to revamp Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a CIA contract aircraft’s final flight, a partisan CIA, Trump and Intel, and more.

“Earthquake’s Final Flight”. The painting above by Jeffrey W. Bass was done in 2006. It was donated to the Central Intelligence Agency’s art museum (no, you can’t visit it) by the Fairchild Corporation. The painting is of the final flight of two American pilots (contracted by the CIA) and two French paratroopers who dropped resupply bundles to French fighters under siege at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam. The day after the flight the French garrison fell to Communist Vietnamese forces. The Fairchild C-119 (with US Air Force markings painted over with French Air Force markings) was struck by anti-aircraft fire and finally crashed just over the Laotian border. Read more in a CIA description of the painting in Earthquake’s Final Flight.

Spy Gadgets. A transmitter in a shoe, camera on a pigeon, rectal storage capsule to hold ten different types of espionage tools, glasses that hold cyanide pills, and more. Check out some creative ways spies plied their trade in an article posted in The Irish Sun, January 2, 2017.

A Partisan CIA? Trumps statements of distrust about the CIA have troubled some but there are a few critics out there that say there should be concerns about the spy agency. Read “Is the CIA partisan?”, by Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute, December 14, 2016.

Trump’s Intelligence Feud. The Donald is getting off to a rough start with the intelligence community. He recently cited Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame as a credible source on Russian social media and cyber attacks. Hmmmm. I am not sure if the ‘tweets’ denigrating the U.S. intelligence agencies are helpful. Read “Trump Knocks U.S. Intelligence Agencies Over Russia Hacking Review”The Wall Street Journal, January 3, 2017. See also “Trump Gives Intelligence Agencies Their Daily Briefing”The Onion, January 3, 2017.

President-Elect Trump's relationship with the CIA and other intelligence agencies are going to be a bit strained.

Re-Org of ODNI? It appears that President-Elect Donald Trump might want to change up a lead intel organization – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Could this have something to do with LTG Mike Flynn? Read “Donald Trump Plans Revamp of Top U.S. Spy Agency”The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2017. (Paywall).

CIA Confirmation. The nominee, Congressman Pompeo, faces questioning on five hot topics. Interrogation, surveillance, Russian hacking, morale at the CIA, and his actions while on the Benghazi Committee. Read more in “Five hot issues for the CIA confirmation hearings”The Hill Blog, January 1, 2017.