Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "espionage" ...

  • Pentagon secretly struck back against Iranian cyberspies targeting U.S. ships

    In the middle of June, tensions were rising between the United States and Iran. Iran had attacked oil tankers traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, and then downed an expensive, high-tech Navy RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone flying over the Strait, upping the ante of the conflict. Given previous rhetoric from Trump administration officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the Iranian regime, the decision to exit the Iran deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the increasingly heavy sanctions on Iran, the Yahoo News team was monitoring for chances to report in more depth on specific Iranian capabilities as well as U.S. plans to counter them. Following the attack on the U.S. drone, Yahoo News began communicating with sources who had extensive detail on a specific unit within the Iranian military in the cross-hairs of the U.S. military, a unit that had advanced its cyber capabilities to the point that it was able to track nearly all ships traveling through the Strait through both social engineering, or pretending to be attractive women engaging with service members traveling on the ships, to actually compromising ship GPS data websites in order to digitally monitor their paths. In the course of reporting, Yahoo News discovered a key, news breaking event—that just hours prior, the U.S. Cyber Command had launched a retaliatory strike aimed at limiting the capabilities of the specific Iranian cyber group the team had already been investigating. Yahoo was the first to break the news of the retaliatory strike, leading dozens of major news outlets to race to match the story. However, given the fact Yahoo News was investigating details into the cyber unit, our story was not only first but best and most detailed. The story demonstrates our ability to jump into the news cycle, provide key breaking news to our readers, as well as dig deep into illuminating new details. The story also revealed that Iranian capabilities to intercept and down drones to study them for espionage purposes was highly advanced, a fact previously unknown. Given President Trump’s recent decision to authorize a strike to kill IRGC Commander Qasem Suleimani, our reporting will continue to provide value to readers, analysts, and other interested parties hoping to better understand Iranian capabilities and how the U.S. might respond to them.
  • Spies versus Congress: A Constitutional Crisis over Torture

    McClatchy’s reporting first exposed and then detailed multiple efforts by the CIA and White House to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the agency’s use of torture, including CIA intrusions into the committee’s computers, in the most serious clash over congressional oversight of intelligence operations in decades. Other McClatchy reporting revealed the startling, top-secret conclusions of the committee's five-year, $40 million investigation eight months before the public release of the report's declassified executive summary.
  • United States of Secrets

    In the wake of the Edward Snowden NSA revelations, FRONTLINE’s United States of Secrets investigates the history of the American government’s extensive electronic espionage operations, it’s efforts to keep that spying secret, and how the government used American companies to help spy on people around the world.
  • Double Agent: Inside al Qaeda for the CIA

    The world’s most dangerous terrorists, espionage, betrayal, and assassination are all part of the intrigue of "Double Agent: Inside al Qaeda for the CIA," a remarkable documentary about Morten Storm, a radical-Islamist-turned-double-agent who says he was in a race against time to thwart attacks by al Qaeda. It is a spy thriller told through never-before-seen videos recorded by Storm on the job as a spy. His photos and al Qaeda encrypted emails, and never-before-heard audio from his years undercover reveal a rare glimpse of CIA missteps and the destructive rivalries between competing global intelligence agencies.
  • Confirmation of 10 groups of Twitter accounts allegedly used by spy agents to meddle in politics

    The stories are among a series of investigative reports that have been conducted by Newstapa, also known as Korea Center for Investigative Journalism, since March 1 this year to reveal suspicions about the spy agency’s involvement in the presidential election of 2012. With the use of a social web analysis tool, Newstapa disclosed some 600 Twitter accounts suspected to be related to the spy agency. After studying Social Network Analysis of 280,000 Twitter postings, it revealed that at least 10 groups systematically operated on Twitter. The in-depth reporting exploited social science research methods to disclose the involvement of South Korea’s highest-level intelligence agency, which is banned from political meddling, in the presidential election of 2012. The findings of the reports have been confirmed to be true by prosecutors’ investigations.
  • Cyber Espionage: The Chinese Threat

    It’s the biggest threat facing American business today but the least talked about by corporate executives. Experts at the highest levels of government agree, cyber espionage is threatening to steal American wealth, American jobs and ultimately America’s economic security and the biggest aggressor is China. Due to the nature of the crime, the cost to American businesses is nearly impossible to pinpoint. Experts say Chinese hackers are constantly probing corporate networks, sifting through endless amounts of data to decipher what is valuable intellectual property, chemical formulas or proprietary technology. One conservative estimate from the National Counter Intelligence Executive puts the cost of economic espionage at up to $400B annually, but the report states such estimates vary “so widely as to be meaningless,” reflecting the scarcity of data available. CNBC’s David Faber and the Investigations Inc. team spoke with many corporate executives about China’s aggressive effort to target American businesses and their most valuable assets, but many refused to comment on camera for our report, citing becoming more vulnerable to attack by speaking publicly about the issue. However, not one executive denied their company is at risk of cyber-attack on a daily basis or the possibility of losing valuable intellectual property to cyber spies. Government and industry experts we spoke with on-camera have witnessed such costly cyber-attacks during their careers and attest to the fact there are only two companies left in America today: Those who know they’ve been hacked and those who don’t. From a whistleblower claiming telecommunications giant Nortel was one of the first casualties of this all-out cyber war, to high profile and public attacks on Google and RSA, its clear defending against cyber espionage is the new normal for American business.
  • The New War

    The information age has created new vulnerabilities to US national security. This investigation reveals the holes in the nation’s defense against cyber spies and pushing policymakers to do something about it. Some examples are the “breaching of the US electric grid, an expensive fighter-jet project and the US drones in the war in Iraq.” Further, this investigation also reveals innovative technologies to stop these cyber spies.
  • The DAS Espionage

    SEMANA Magazine explores illegal tracking of opposition party leaders, journalists and Supreme Court magistrates conducted by members of the Colombian president, Cosa de Narino's, team.
  • China's Cyber Militia: Congress in the Cyber-Crosshairs

    "This series focused on the threat of 'cyber' espionage against the U.S. government and U.S. corporations, as well as electronic interference with U.S. infrastructure, all by Chinese authorities or groups believed to be working under their auspices."
  • Cyber Snooping

    Months of reporting led to this story about the growing fear of cyber espionage in the United States. For the first time the US Government admitted that an average person's communication devices are susceptible to hacking without there knowledge.