Strategic Intelligence Summary for 21 June 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Strategic Intelligence Summary for 21 June 2018

Strategic Intelligence contains intelligence reporting on the state of global security and instability, geostrategic issues affecting the United States, pre-war indicators, and assessments on the current risk of war. This report is available each week for Intelligence subscribers.

In this Strategic Intelligence Summary: (4,947 words)

  • Russia continues to boost military capability in the Arctic 
  • Lebanese government is protecting Hezbollah’s cocaine trade in Latin America 
  • Sweden is preparing for Russian attempts to hack its election 
  • Trump directs Pentagon to develop sixth branch of service — Space Force
  • Israel develops a new long-range missile to destroy high-value targets outside of air defense range
  • U.S. cannot win global cyber war: Defense chiefs
  • And more…

ADMIN NOTE: All reporting and analysis is from Jon Dougherty, unless otherwise marked “S.C” for Samuel Culper.

In Focus: Great-power war due to the rise of revisionist countries — Russia and China — continues to be the biggest threat to global stability. NATO is racing to achieve full readiness before Vladimir Putin becomes powerful enough and emboldened enough to make his next moves in Eastern Europe. NATO is inching toward that objective but not without a lot of kicking and screaming, mostly because European leaders don’t like to be told they’re pikers when it comes to contributing to one of the world’s longest-enduring military alliances. Putin still has designs on a ‘greater Russia’ that won’t be on the scale of the former Soviet Union but something in between what Russia is now and the USSR was then. To that end the Baltics and Ukraine remain in his sights.

China, meanwhile, is resisting any attempt by the U.S. and regional powers to temper its South China Sea militarization. The reason is plain: Beijing will not willingly regress back to a meek, dependent state like the one that existed throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries. A growing economy and an increasingly powerful military will continue serving as drivers of China’s regional and global objectives, and we’d probably better get used to it.

Welcome to this week’s Strategic Intelligence Summary and thank you for subscribing We welcome your feedback. — JD

Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the new indicators of disruptive events that could cause global or regional instability?

PIR2: What are the latest military and security developments exhibited by the U.S. and their peer and near-peer adversaries?

PIR3: What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints? (North Korea, China, Russia, Iran/Israel/Middle East)

PIR4: What activities are foreign intelligence services directing against the United States our allies?

PIR1: What are the new indicators of disruptive events that could cause global or regional instability?

Russia continues to boost military capability in the Arctic

The Kremlin is continuing to militarize the Arctic with the addition of combat power in recent weeks. Russia has bolstered local tank forces, air-defense missile systems, naval forces, strategic aviation and locally based special operations forces. That includes the newest version of the T-80 main battle tank that includes the ability to operate in the harsh Arctic climate, is faster and more maneuverable and comes with an upgraded fire-control system. Russian forces have also been extensively testing the Pantsir-SA—an “Arctic model” of the Pantsir-S1 (NATO classification: SA-22 Greyhound) short-to-medium-range surface-to-air missile system. Regarding naval power, Russia’s reliance on submarines has grown, and there is now a constant Russian sub presence in the region, compliments of the Northern Fleet (these include some of the Russian navy’s most advanced subs). Upgraded air power will include assigning Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic heavy strategic bombers in “the task of increasing the level of protection of Russia’s Arctic region,” according to Russian media. [source] S.C.: Vladimir Putin previously announced that the Arctic is of significant economic and strategic importance. Putting weapons and military assets in the region also forces the U.S. to focus on Arctic defense, exploits a lack of U.S. attention to the Arctic, opens up a fourth front of the Second Cold War (Atlantic, Pacific, Cyber/Information, and most recently the Arctic), and will press an already over-tasked U.S. military to contribute additional resources there. Russia doesn’t have a global presence, and doesn’t need one. The U.S. has a global presence and its military leaders already complain of not having enough assets to meet basic operational requirements. This is a part of Putin’s “gray zone” strategy that exploits U.S. commitments elsewhere.

Meanwhile, U.S. missing the boat in the Arctic

As Russia and even China ramp up their presence in the Arctic, the U.S. presence is said to be lacking. During a House subcommittee hearing this month, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., had a trick question for one of the witnesses. “How would you align our Arctic strategy with what Gen. Mattis has talked about in our National Defense Strategy?” Hunter asked Adm. Charles Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard. The Republican subcommittee chairman warned him. “It’s a trick question, so think about it.” Bottom line, Hunter eventually noted, is that Mattis mentioned virtually every region of the planet except the Arctic. Hunter called that “really myopic and shortsighted.” Democrats on the committee agreed. As polar ice caps continue to decline, potential new shipping lanes are going to be opened and soon. But because the U.S. has focused its attention elsewhere, it’s now playing catch-up in the strategic and economically important region. Besides sea life, analysts estimate the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas. [source] Analyst comment: Last August a Russian tanker carrying liquified natural gas made a record-setting transit through the Arctic Ocean without the assistance of an icebreaker. That indicates that ice continues to recede and new opportunities for economic development are presenting themselves. And Russia already had a big advantage: 50 percent of its Arctic coastline featuring some major cities with deepwater ports.

Lebanese government is protecting Hezbollah’s cocaine trade in Latin America

Shortly after the Trump administration backed out of the Iran nuclear deal it dramatically increased sanctions against Iran proxy Hezbollah. But the administration’s policies toward the Lebanon-based militant organization are being seen as counterproductive in many respects. While the administration seeks to sanction Hezbollah, the White House has been supportive of the Lebanese government and its state institutions — which have been thoroughly infiltrated by Hezbollah members at all levels. Some institutions are fully controlled by the group. As such, the administration winds up undermining its attempt to minimize Hezbollah. That’s a problem because U.S. intelligence officials believe that Hezbollah is running a cocaine smuggling operation out of Paraguay, and the Lebanese government is preventing Washington from getting alleged Hezbollah financier Nader Mohamad Farhat extradited to the U.S. Farhat was arrested in a raid by Paraguayan authorities for an alleged $1.3 million drug money laundering scheme tied to cocaine smuggling, a major source of revenue for the militant group. [source]

Sweden is preparing for Russian attempts to hack its election

Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny that his country attempts to interfere in the democratic processes of other countries but few believe those denials. That includes historically neutral Sweden, where officials are working on cyber defenses aimed at thwarting Russia election hacking attempts. In 2014 Sweden moved from a position of strict neutrality to become an “enhanced partner” of NATO, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which it considers to be illegal. Since then Swedish officials have noted an increase in Russian-based hacking attempts and dissemination of fake news — a disinformation campaign, basically. As such, Swedish officials are elevating their electoral system to the level of a national security threat. The government will work with the private sector, media, and social media to combat Moscow’s disinformation campaign. High school students will be taught about propaganda. Leaflets will be sent to about 4.7 million homes including tips on how to spot misinformation. About 7,000 government officials have received training in spotting “influence operations” and how those could put elections at risk. Public awareness has been raised. Facebook has agreed to report suspicious behavior online near election time to Swedish authorities. Cybersecurity is being improved across government. [source]

PIR2: What are the latest military and security developments exhibited by the U.S. and their peer and near-peer adversaries? 

Israel develops a new long-range missile to destroy high-value targets outside of air defense range

The Israeli military has developed and is deploying a new supersonic stand-off missile that can be launched from its F-15, F-16, and F-35 aircraft from areas outside of protected air defense zones. The air-to-surface weapon is called “The Rampage” and it comes as tensions between Israel and Iran have not escalated but nevertheless remain high. The missile, which was named after a popular video game, is supersonic and long-range and comes equipped with an advanced navigation suite which gives commanders an additional precision strike capability. Israeli Aircraft Industries, the Rampage’s maker, says the missile can be tracked by radar but it is extremely difficult to intercept because of its high rate of speed. “If you take the Middle East arena and areas protected by air-defense systems, the whole point of this missile is that it can hit targets within standoff ranges” without threatening the launching platform, said Amit Haimovich, director of marketing and business development for IAI’s Malam engineering unit. The missile is GPS-guided, all-weather, and can be launched day or night. Its warhead is designed for optimum penetration, which means it can be used against hardened targets like bunkers. The company already has a buyer for the missile (other than Israel) but did not disclose which country it is. [source] Analyst comment: Iran and Syria have reportedly been upgrading their air defense systems with sophisticated Russia hardware and platforms, so this missile will allow IDF aircraft to remain well outside air defense sectors when targeting enemy sites. This is an important development for Israel at a time when uncontested airspace around Israel proper is contracting in a big way.

Trump directs Pentagon to develop sixth branch of service — Space Force

During a press conference earlier this week following a meeting of the National Space Council, President Trump announced that he has instructed the Pentagon to begin immediately planning to launch a sixth service branch — a space force whose objective will be to conduct warfare in that domain. “I am hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” Trump said. “Our destiny beyond the Earth is not only a matter of national identity but a matter of national security,” he added. In March POTUS mentioned the force as part of his national security strategy, noting “space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air and sea.” Trump and SECDEF James Mattis opposed this last fall and space force legislation that aimed to make the service subordinate to the Air Force in the way the Marine Corps is subordinate to the Navy did not make it into the final bill. [source] Analyst comment: Russia and China are both working on new offensive capabilities whose objective would be to take out U.S. military targeting, missile defense, and communications satellites. Two reports released in April make the case the Pentagon’s been arguing for some time: Space will play a significant role in any future conflict and it’s a fight the U.S. cannot afford to lose. A growing number of lawmakers also believe the U.S. has surrendered what once was a substantial advantage in space-based capability over the years since the lunar space program was in full-swing. The reports came from the Secure World Foundation and Center for Strategic and International Studies showing how Russia and China have made strides in the space warfighting domain that threaten U.S. national security. The latter has shown a capability to hit U.S. military satellites 22,000 miles above Earth.

U.S. cannot win global cyberwar: Defense chiefs

The Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned in a new document that due to the growing complexity of cyber operations among peer and near-peer adversaries it’s not reasonable to believe the U.S. could win a “cyberwar.” The assessment is contained in a new organizational guidance issued earlier this month by the service chiefs, which said the U.S. cannot ever fully achieve dominance in the cyber domain. Nevertheless, the services are working on improving operational capability and cyber defenses. “Permanent global cyberspace superiority is not possible due to the complexity of cyberspace,” the report states. “Even local superiority may be impractical due to the way IT is implemented; the fact the U.S. and other national governments do not directly control large, privately owned portions of cyberspace; the broad array of state and non-state actors; the low cost of entry; and the rapid and unpredictable proliferation of technology.” [source] Analyst comment: While many won’t take much solace in the Joint Chief’s assessment, what we take from it is that while the U.S. may not be able to achieve cyber-dominance due to the complexity of the domain, we assume that neither will any other great power.  That means that cyber, like nuclear, exists as a highly destructive capability but not without equally destructive consequences if utilized. And that threat of “mutually assured [cyber] destruction” may be what deters great powers from targeting and destroying an enemy’s critical infrastructure. That said, there is still the threat posed by non-state actors such as ISIS who don’t have nearly as much to lose by attacking our critical systems or those of other nation-states.   

PIR3: What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four? (North Korea, China, Russia, Iran/Israel/Middle East)


Significant Developments:

Russia considers additional Marines in Norway an ‘attack’: In recent weeks Norway requested that the Pentagon bolster its force of Marines in that country from 330 to 700, a request that the Defense Department granted. The move drew the ire of Russia. Moscow is arguing that Oslo is in violation of agreements the Scandinavian country made when it joined NATO in 1949; then the country agreed not to permanently host foreign troops unless it had been attacked. The Russian Embassy in Norway called the deployment itself an “attack.” [source]

U.S., Poland considering permanent American forces presence: U.S. troops could soon be stationed permanently in Poland as a direct counter to an increasingly aggressive Russia. The Senate has approved a measure requiring the Pentagon to study the need for such a deployment and what political ramifications may come of it. The Pentagon is to submit that report and assessment to congressional defense committees by 1 March 2019. If the deployment goes through the U.S. would send an Army Brigade Combat Team. Poland currently hosts U.S. and NATO forces on a rotating basis. [source]

Russia is upgrading nuclear storage at Kaliningrad: The Russian military may have significantly modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker and associated site security at a secure facility in Kaliningrad, which is a strategic Russian enclave situated between Poland and the Baltic states. This, according to a report from the Federation of American Scientists that includes satellite imagery and analysis of the site. [source]


The head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, wrote an op-ed of sorts in a left-leaning European newspaper [here] stating that the relationship between the U.S. and the rest of the alliance has become “strained” under the leadership of President Trump, and that there are “real differences” between Washington the European partners regarding issues of “trade, climate change and the Iran nuclear agreement.” He writes: “These disagreements are real and they won’t disappear overnight. In fact, nowhere is it written in stone that the transatlantic bond will always thrive. That doesn’t, however, mean that its breakdown is inevitable. We can maintain it, and all the mutual benefits we derive from it.”

He’s right in that the relationship between the U.S. and many of its Western European partners has become more tense under Trump. And we don’t doubt that some of those tensions include the issues he mentioned. But let’s be clear here: Trump is rocking a boat that needed to be rocked. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has, by far, borne the lion’s share of the burden in keeping NATO viable. After the 1990s, when the U.S. military became bogged down in two low-intensity conflicts — one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan — our European partners became far less enthusiastic about NATO and it showed. Defense budgets were cut well below the required 2 percent of GDP; military capabilities on land, sea, and air, were slashed; training slipped; and overall readiness declined. Germany, the alliance’s richest European partner, can’t even supply enough basic field gear to its land forces, and most of its fighter planes are grounded or otherwise out of service. 

Naval capabilities have also suffered, which is particularly worrisome given that Russia’s has only increased. In fact, Russia is deploying more submarines to the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and North Atlantic than at any time since the Cold War — a strategy that has led to the U.S. Navy to revive the decommissioned Second Fleet and NATO to concentrate on boosting naval defenses. 

The Europeans probably don’t care much for Trump’s style, and they certainly don’t like to be reminded about trade discrepancies with the U.S. and the fact that most European leaders appear content to continue some version of the post-World War II Marshall Plan. But the Europeans really can’t abandon NATO, either, because individually they are not strong enough to fend off a Russian attack. They need the U.S. more than we need them. And to that end, the U.S. has been contributing additional assets — land and sea, primarily — to NATO and EU partners. That said, the alliance is strongest when all members contribute. 

OSINT this week has been contradictory; one report I read said something to the effect that ‘NATO is stronger than people think,’ while other reports focus on NATO’s significant deficiencies against a rising Russian power. The risk of conflict hasn’t changed: If ever Putin feels he can grab a piece of Europe, such as the Baltic countries which have ethnically Russian populations in the east, without paying a significant price for it, he probably will. If he judges NATO too weak or disorganized or in disunity, he’s liable to exploit it. That’s the nature of any pre-nation-state aggression: What will it cost and is it worth the cost? 

Middle East: 

Significant Developments:

Syrian army stepping up attacks against rebels in the southwest: The Syrian army has increased artillery shelling of opposition-held portions of the country’s southwest while mobilizing for an attack to regain the area, which borders the Israeli-held Golan Heights and Jordan. An offensive in the southwest would risk a major escalation of the seven-year-old war. The area is of strategic importance to Israel. And the Trump administration has warned of “firm and appropriate measures” in response to any violations of the “de-escalation” agreement. [source] 

Israel struck Iran-backed Shia militia in Iraq — after getting U.S., Russian approval: Israel launched an airstrike against elements of a Shia militia operating inside Iraq after discussing it with Moscow and Washington. The strike reportedly killed [52] and wounded “dozens” of fighters belonging to Iraq’s Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shia militia which has been operating near the Iraqi border in Syria. [source] (S.C.: Kata’ib Hezbollah is an important part of Iran’s strategy in Iraq. They were a main source of Iranian-backed fighting and insurgent attacks against U.S. Forces in Iraq.)


Israeli strikes against Iranian forces or Iran-backed militias in Syria are nothing new but reaching into Iraq to target Iran-backed groups is a new development, so it stands to reason that Jerusalem would seek the counsel of the great powers engaged there. 

But the fact that Moscow agreed (with the U.S.) to ‘allow’ the strike against Iran-backed fighters is significant because it highlights the fact that Iran and Russia do not have identical objectives in the region, as some may have previously believed.

Both countries sought to support Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria as he battled various rebel factions. Moscow because Russia has military assets in Syria and they are strategically important; but Iran sought to use its support for Syria as a means of spreading its influence to become the hegemonic power in the region. Iran has always sought a ‘land bridge’ from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut as a means of threatening Israel. Iran’s quest for hegemony threatens Israel, which has every interest in preventing that (as does Saudi Arabia) — even to the point of striking targets inside Syria. That’s destabilizing to the Syrian regime which is not in Moscow’s interests.

The ‘approved’ Israeli strike in Iraq came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted last week that “all non-Syrian forces” must withdraw from Syria’s southern border with Israel. And those comments followed demands in May from Vladimir Putin, who was meeting with Assad in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that all “foreign armed forces will be withdrawn from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.” 

That was seen as a message not to the U.S. — which wouldn’t heed anyway — but to Iranian and Hezbollah military personnel and fighters. Some believe Putin’s aim is to get closer to Israel in a bid to grow closer to the U.S., probably because Putin sees that as a way to end recently-imposed sanctions by the Trump administration.

North Korea:

Significant Developments:

DHS detects malicious activity: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a joint Technical Alert (TA) that identifies two families of malware—referred to as Joanap and Brambul—used by the North Korean government. The U.S. Government refers to malicious cyber activity by the North Korean government as HIDDEN COBRA. [source]

U.S. suspends military exercise with South Korea: In what appears to be a concession to North Korea, President Trump has ordered a suspension of military exercises involving U.S. forces and South Korea’s military. The Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises were planned for August. The Pentagon has said planning for the exercise has stopped but there is no decision on any other military exercises with the South Koreans. Exercises with other Pacific allies will go on. [source]


We always believed that no matter what North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Trump agreed to during their historic summit earlier this month, China was going to have something to say about it. That point was driven home again this week when Kim made his third trip to China for the year, just a week after meeting with Trump in Singapore, for talks with President Xi Jinping.

It’s also his third trip to China, period. For years after taking power in December 2011, Kim avoided visiting China — highly unusual, given that China has always been North Korea’s principal ally and benefactor. His decision to avoid meeting with Chinese leaders was seen as somewhat insulting to Beijing, though it wasn’t insulting enough for China and North Korea to diverge from their historically close ties. After offering to meet with Trump, Kim made his first visit to China in what many considered to be at Beijing’s behest.

During their meeting, Xi praised Kim for his decision to meet with Trump, which he called a “positive” outcome. “No matter the changes in the international and regional situation, China’s party and government’s resolute position on being dedicated to consolidating and developing Sino-North Korea relations will not change,” Xi reportedly said. “The Chinese people’s friendship for the North Korean people will not change, and China’s support for socialist North Korea will not change.” In response, Kim said he wanted to work with China and other parties to move the peace process forward. The U.S. watched the meeting closely, according to the State Department. 

What was not mentioned in media reporting were any discussions between Xi and Kim regarding the latter’s denuclearization pledge. And since that is Trump’s primary objective, it’s troubling that wasn’t mentioned by either leader in a public forum.

That’s additionally troubling because for now, it seems as though North Korea and China are the big winners in all of this. Trump canceled this year’s Ulchi Freedom Guardian military exercises, large annual drills held between U.S. and South Korean troops that have always served as a source of tension with Pyongyang (and China, to a lesser extent). While Kim has agreed to return the remains of U.S. troops killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, has destroyed what remained of his nuclear test site, and has not conducted any missile tests in months, he would love to see the U.S. eventually pull its forces off the peninsula.

For that to happen, though, he’ll have to give up his nuclear capability. Trump won’t bend on that demand. So the question is what does Kim view as most important to him: Maintaining an otherwise poor, destitute but nuclear-armed nation or giving them nukes in exchange for a better economy and the elimination of a threatening force along his border. The answer isn’t clear yet.

South China Sea:

Significant Developments:

China deploys advanced missile systems to SCS islands: A week after we reported that China had removed some air defense missiles in what appeared to be a good-faith gesture in response to Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a new report notes that U.S. intelligence has identified the deployment of YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles. These are the most capable land-based systems deployed by Beijing in the region. They have a range of 340 miles in all directions, giving them more than enough range to target U.S. and allied ships transiting the SCS. [source] 

Air-defense drill in response to B-52 flight: After the U.S. sent a flight of B-52 bombers through the South China Sea, Beijing responded with live-fire air defense drills against target drones. The drills were intended to fend off air attacks against “unspecified” islands in the region. [source]


As China works with North Korea to eliminate a threat near its border — U.S. troops in South Korea — it continues to militarize its holdings in the South China Sea (while accusing the U.S. of militarizing the region when it responds with bomber overflights and U.S. Navy Freedom of Navigation patrols). 

In comments to the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore earlier this month, Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that China’s continued efforts to deploy missiles, radar, warplanes, and bombers to its SCS islands would bring about “larger consequences” in the long term, though the world will simply have to deal with the weapons deployments for the time being. “I believe there are much larger consequences in the future when nations lose the rapport of their neighbors,” he said while criticizing Beijing for making excessive loans to poorer nations as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which has mired those countries in debt. 

“Eventually these things do not pay off, even if on the financial ledger sheet, or the power ledger sheet they appear to,” Mattis noted. “It’s a very shaky foundation when we believe that militarizing features are somehow going to endorse their standing in the world.”

What China lacks in military experience it gains in chutzpah. Big and rich, China is intent on using its growing power to reassert its pre-18th-century dominance throughout Asia first but then in other parts of the world. China is a revisionist power; it doesn’t want to join the existing Western-led order, it wants to recreate the global order in its own vision. Controlling one of the world’s most profitable waterways ($5 trillion-plus per year in trade transits the SCS) is just a first step. 

So Mattis is right: The world will have to deal with China’s militarization of the South China Sea. 

Under Trump, the U.S. is not simply going to quit Asia. China, by comparison, isn’t going to change its revisionist course, either. So, what remains to be seen is how the neighborhood reacts. Asian nations will either acquiesce quietly to China or grow increasingly closer to and reliant upon the United States.  

PIR4: What activities are foreign intelligence services directing against the United States our allies?

Active hacking against U.S. companies should be handled by CYBERCOM

The instinct of many U.S. companies who have been hacked by foreign actors and/or nation states is to strike back against the attack, but a new analysis argues that American corporations should let Cyber Command do it for them. In recent years private-sector white hat hackers have returned fire, so to speak, on behalf of companies (because legally the private sector is not permitted to do so) and there has been a growing chorus within Corporate America to continuing doing so and even to ramp-up counterstrikes. But that’s not the wisest decision, others argue. Firing back against nation-state hackers especially could lead to wider geopolitical consequences — like actual war — or could otherwise be detrimental to U.S. government foreign policy. A better solution is to allow CYBERCOM to take the helm and handle any responses but do so in conjunction with the private sector. That means policies and statutes would need to be changed to bring critical infrastructure companies into the U.S. intelligence loop — which would require security clearances for private-sector employees at a minimum. There is a model for this: The U.S. government runs DIBnet, a secure, classified network for the defense industrial base that contractors use to receive intelligence on threats to their companies. Homeland Security, in conjunction with CYBERCOM and the U.S. intelligence community, could build a similar system for critical infrastructure firms to utilize. [source]

Former CIA computer engineer charged with massive leak to WikiLeaks

A former CIA computer engineer has been indicted on charges he masterminded what appears to be the largest leak of classified information in the spy agency’s history. Joshua Schulte, 29, was charged in a new grand jury indictment with providing WikiLeaks with a massive trove of U.S. government hacking tools that the online publisher posted in March 2017, the Justice Department announced. Schulte was previously facing child pornography charges in federal court in New York, but the indictment broadens the case to accuse him of illegally gathering classified information, damaging CIA computers, lying to investigators and numerous other offenses. In January, attorneys involved in the child porn case revealed in court that Schulte was the target of a major investigation into WikiLeaks’ release of a CIA collection known as “Vault 7.” Schulte is the fourth person to face charges related to leaks of classified information since Trump took office. [source]

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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