The most radioactive places on earth - We Are The Mighty
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The most radioactive places on earth

Nuclear energy is clean and efficient when everything works. The U.S. powers aircraft carriers, submarines, and even cities with it, but there are obvious down sides: Disasters can lead to death, destruction, and poisonous radiation.


Nuclear accidents are graded from zero to seven, zero being no safety issues and seven being extremely hazardous to health and the environment. Two examples of major nuclear incidents include the 1986 disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine and Fukushima, Japan in 2011.

Although no occurrence of this magnitude has happened in the United States, the Department of Energy has been tasked with cleaning up over 100 nuclear sites within its borders, according to this TestTube video.

Watch:

Intel

The Military’s Next Big Recruiting Ground May Be Virtual

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Sergey Galyonkin/ Flickr


Video gamers are more prepared for military service than people the same age were in previous generations.

“We don’t need Top Gun pilots anymore, we need Revenge of the Nerds,” said Missy Cummings, former US Navy pilot, Assoc. Prof. of Aeronautics, MIT in Drone Wars: The Gamers Recruited To Kill, a documentary film about gamers and drone operators.

Also Read: A Drunken Intel Employee Crashed A Drone Into The White House Lawn

With the development of drones and other technologies, it’s easy to understand why she makes that statement. The Navy has even fashioned some of their controllers after popular gaming consoles, such as the X-Box and Playstation, making it a comfortable transition from make-believe entertainment to high stakes shoot em’ up.

Video games have been used by the military to win the minds of young people since 2002 with America’s Army, a first person shooter created and run by the Army. Gamers who play similar first-person shooters get immersed in stories that require teamwork and battlefield knowledge to succeed while having fun.

“Whilst nobody who’s ever played Call of Duty or Battlefield expects to recover from a real-life assault rifle round to the chest by crouching momentarily behind a wall, huge numbers of young people are developing an in-depth knowledge of military hardware, vocabulary and basic technique,” reports Dan Pearson for Games Industry.

The game is so popular that from 2002 to 2008 it was one of the top 10 computer games in the world, reported Corey Mead in a 2013 article for Time magazine. For recruiters, the game is a tool for connecting with people familiar with Army basics, so hosting and attending tournaments is a no-brainer. However, the military is reaching beyond America’s Army. In the video below, you can see military officials attending gaming trade shows searching for the next drone operators.

Here’s a clip from The Guardian taken from Drone by Flimmer Film:

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AND: A Drunken Intel Employee Crashed A Drone Into The White House Lawn

Intel

What artist renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter

Last September, the U.S. Air Force shocked the world with the announcement that they had already designed, built, and tested an aircraft designed under their NGAD fighter, or Next Generation Air Dominance, program. The idea that America might already have a 6th generation fighter waiting in the wings caught the world’s attention, but in the months since, many have come to believe that the aircraft that was tested wasn’t a mature fighter design, but was rather a technology demonstrated used to assess the performance of systems destined for an NGAD fighter.

The most radioactive places on earth
The Air Force’s most recent NGAD fighter artist rendering.

None the less, these tests mean the Air Force has clearly made some significant progress on what is to become the NGAD fighter, making it all the more miraculous that the American people have yet to learn much at all about this aircraft slated to replace the dogfight-dominating F-22 Raptor. Like the B-21 Raider being developed by Northrop Grumman, the NGAD fighter is an open secret: The world knows it’s coming, we just still don’t know what it’ll be capable of.

The most radioactive places on earth
Air Force artist’s rendering of the B-21 Raider.

So, what do we know about the NGAD fighter? Well, there are some things we can glean through official artist’s renderings and their associated descriptions, and there are other things we can extrapolate based on the capabilities of its longterm competition in China’s J-20 and Russia’s Su-57 stealth fighters. By putting these two groups of assertions together, we can develop a somewhat robust idea of what the NGAD fighter will be expected to do, and how it might go about doing it.

Watch: What can artist’s renderings tell us about the NGAD fighter?

In this video, I break down some of the official images of the NGAD fighter (artist’s renderings) that have been released by the U.S. Air Force in various documents. Then, I compare those images to ongoing aviation trends and previous stealth aircraft prototypes to draw conclusions about what this jet may really look like.

You can read the full article this video was based on, here.

In many of these renderings, the NGAD fighter looks to have adopted a triangular or wedge-shaped design that forgoes the presence of a traditional vertical tail. While both the F-22 Raptor this jet will replace and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter America continues to pump out of Lockheed factories do have fairly traditional tail sections despite their stealthy designs, the idea of a stealth fighter that lacks a vertical tail is not at all without precedent.

In fact, Northrop Grumman’s famed YF-23 Black Widow II, which competed with and lost to Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor for America’s last air superiority fighter contract, famously performed as well or better than the Raptor in a number of important categories (including stealth and range), and it too lacked a vertical tail. Today, Northrop Grumman is under contract with the Air Force to produce the forthcoming B-21 Raider, widely believed to be the most advanced stealth bomber in history, so it’s not out of the question to suggest that Northrop may also be competing for a chance at the NGAD fighter using an updated design that shares some commonality with the aforementioned YF-23.

The most radioactive places on earth
Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In fact, even Lockheed Martin has released artist’s renderings tied to the prospect of a 6th generation fighter that look strikingly like Northrop’s YF-23 design.

The most radioactive places on earth
Lockheed Martin Artist’s Rendering
The most radioactive places on earth
YF-23 Black Widow II (Northrop Grumman)

You can read our full coverage on the incredible YF-23 Black Widow II in our feature on it here.

Other facets of the NGAD fighter, like storing ordnance internally, carrying its own electronic warfare capabilities, and leveraging advanced engines meant to increase power and efficiency while further limiting infrared exposure can all be seen in the most recent images tied to the program released earlier this month.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

This classic video clip highlights the struggle journalists face in covering war

From 1988-89, there was a video series on T.V. called “Ethics in America” where leaders in different fields were asked to debate ethical dilemmas. In the seventh episode, senators, military officers, and journalists discussed a hypothetical situation where an American journalist is embedded with enemy troops and finds themselves watching the enemy troops prepare an ambush against American soldiers.


Peter Jennings and Michael Wallace debate their roles as journalists and Americans while military leaders like Gen. William Westmoreland debate their bravery, obligations, and moral duty in the situation. It cuts to the heart of what it means to be a war correspondent, trying to balance duty to their country and their occupation while safeguarding their own lives. An edited version of the conversation is embedded below.

If you want to see the original video, with better quality and more discussion from more people, go to this archive and watch episode 7. This particular discussion starts at 31:30 in the full episode.

NOW: This Army veteran uses powerful images to show the realities of war

OR WATCH: The 18 funnies moments from ‘Generation Kill’

Intel

This powerful video shows why soldiers aren’t the only ones affected by PTSD

Some soldiers have dealt with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury in war, but they are not the only ones affected by these invisible wounds.


“I had a nightmare. I felt like I was being strapped onto the bed.”

The words are that of a soldier, but in a new video from Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and NAPA, a young girl delivers the message.

On the video’s website:

This video documents what it’s like to have Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The words spoken in this video are those of real soldiers — soldiers who have personally suffered from TBI and PTSD most common injuries in returning soldiers. Sadly, too many of these injuries go undiagnosed or untreated — affecting not just soldiers, but their families. Join NAPA and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund in our mission to help soldiers and their families have a safe and effective place to heal.

Now watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZ0qE-4dWF4

 

Intel

Here’s what it looks like when paratroopers jump out of a helicopter

Army paratroopers are trained in the art of jumping out a perfectly-good airplane.


After they jump — most of the time with the use of static-line parachutes — they’ll often land behind enemy lines to seize an objective, such as an airfield. They are constantly training and maintaining their jump status, and that means going out of traditional aircraft, helicopters, and jumping alongside NATO allies.

A video posted by the 82nd Airborne shows an example of those last two items. 1st Brigade Combat Division writes:

Join your1st Brigade Paratroopers on a beautiful Day!! airborne as they conducted a joint airborne operation with German paratroopers on Fort Bragg, N.C., July 15, 2015. Operation Federal Eagle is an annual event led by the German paratroopers to promote friendship and military partnership.

Now watch:

// ![CDATA[/pp(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1#038;version=v2.3”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));/pp// ]]

Join your1st Brigade Paratroopers on a beautiful Day!! airborne as they conducted a joint airborne operationwith German paratroopers on Fort Bragg, N.C., July 15, 2015. Operation Federal Eagle is an annual event led by the German paratroopers to promote friendship and military partnership. #paratrooper #alltheway #devils #82ndAirborneDivision #fit #awesome #StrikeHold #US Army Airborne School, Fort Benning #bragg

Posted by 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

NOW: 12 awesome photos of troops jumping out of perfectly good airplanes

Intel

What the ‘Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation’ plan is all about

It seems like North Korea is always coming up with a new kind of threat to the South. It seems that way because it’s true. Threats are a constant reminder of the nuclear missiles and conventional rockets that would destroy the South Korean capital of Seoul within 30 minutes of a war’s outbreak.


Now South Korea is letting the North know just what will happen if Pyongyang tries to make good on any threats.

In short, the South says “bring it.”

The most radioactive places on earth
KM-101 105mm artillery firing exercise of Republic of Korea Army 6th Division (ROK photo)

Related: Here’s what would happen in a war between North and South Korea

The Republic of Korea’s military developed a plan to destroy North Korea, starting with the Northern capital of Pyongyang, in the event of a nuclear attack, a ROK military source told Yonhap News Agency on Sept. 10th.

“Every Pyongyang district, particularly where the North Korean leadership is possibly hidden, will be completely destroyed by ballistic missiles and high-explosive shells as soon as the North shows any signs of using a nuclear weapon. In other words, the North’s capital city will be reduced to ashes and removed from the map,” the source said.

When the North tested a nuclear device for the fifth time, the South released the descriptively-titled “Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation” plan.

The most radioactive places on earth
The cold weather traning of the ROK Army Special Warfare Force (ROK Army photo)

The South is trying to target the North Korean leadership, letting dictator Kim Jong-Un know just how his life will end if he launches a first strike.

South Korea has an arsenal of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles that can reach ranges up to 1,000 km. The weapons are intended to be a nuclear deterrent for South Korea, which doesn’t have its own nuclear arsenal.

Korean Missiles called Hyunmoo 2A and 2B are both ballistic missiles, meaning they deliver multiple warheads at predetermined targets. The Hyunmoo 3 is similar in design to the U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile, but carries half the conventional payload and has half the operational range.

The most radioactive places on earth
A Hyunmoo 3 cruise missile.

The name “Hyunmoo” in Korean means “Guardian of the Northern Sky.” Fitting for such a defensive and deterring strategy.

“The KMPR is the utmost operation concept the military can have in the absence of its own nuclear weapons,” the South Korean military source told Yonhap.

Intel

Spies can now use modified DNA to send secret messages

The world of espionage requires two equally important things: access to information and a means of getting that information back to the other side. Modified DNA might make that a little easier.

Throughout history, spies have concocted many different means of secret communication. In the earliest days of modern spycraft, ink and paper had to be concealed from prying eyes. Spies wrote with anything that could be used as a kind of invisible ink, everything from lemon juice to semen. Hey, sometimes spycraft is just stressful. 

As technology advances, using biology to enhance the ability to send covert messages is only increasing, but in a very different way.

Transmitting secret messages via radio or morse code carries risks. Israeli spy Eli Cohen ascended to a high rank in the Syrian Defense Ministry over four years by befriending important people in the Syrian government. The entire time he was transmitting information back to the Mossad through radio. He was caught red-handed during a transmission. 

Being able to deliver information will always be the most secure means of communication. Over time, complex cyphers, micro-dots that can hold thousands of documents on a mark the size of a period, and dead drops of actual documents were solid means of getting that information back to handlers. Spy agencies developed incredible technology to obtain information. 

A new biological means is taking that technology a step further, using specially-modified strands of DNA to imprint messages on a molecular level. 

Though the process is complex for the layman (at the moment, don’t sleep on the CIA’s technological engineers) anyone looking to send a secret message can create a strand of DNA with the coded message. Only the receiver will be able to decode it, and possibly even know it’s there.

Like the microdot, the hidden DNA message can be pasted on a dot in a standard letter and simply mail it to whomever is intended to receive it. 

A strand of modified DNA
DNA can be used to store information, but in very tiny pieces.

According to the New York Times, the procedure was developed by a civilian, Dr. Carter Bancroft, professor of physiology and biophysics at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital. 

The idea is to arrange the four nucleotides that comprise DNA into a simple encryption cypher using the letters that denote the nucleotides: A,C, G, and T, then marking them with “primer” DNA. It would be mixed with human DNA and sent off. The receiver would have the key to the cypher.

DNA manipulation can be a useful way to send messages because of the complexity of human DNA. It can be “chopped up” into 30 million different strands. 

The Mount Sinai researchers then hid the DNA onto a microdot in a regular letter and mailed it through the U.S. Postal Service.

Once received, a spy agency would then use techniques common in DNA laboratories to replicate the strand containing the hidden message, so long as they know the “primer” sequence. If an intercepting agency suspects a DNA microdot but doesn’t know that sequence will have 30 million possibilities to sift through.

Until the Alan Turing of DNA cyphers is born, that is. To get the general idea of how it works, watch the video below.

Intel

Emotional video shows the pain for Russians as their government hides its war in Ukraine

Vice News journalist Lucy Kafanov traveled to Russia to learn about soldiers who fought in Ukraine, and she found graves and families of fallen soldiers willing to talk with her about Russia’s “ghost war.”


She spoke with different Russians impacted by the secret deployments to the region, including a mother who lost her son, an uncle whose nephew was crippled, opposition leaders who have been beaten or silenced, and activists. In this emotional documentary, the truth is revealed about a war the Kremlin denies is even happening.

You can read more at Vice News. The full documentary is available below:

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Articles

This extreme winter survival course teaches troops how to stay alive in Arctic conditions

Few places on the face of the earth can be as unforgiving or as deadly as the frozen Arctic.


Because of the dangers of the Arctic environment, coupled with the growing strategic importance of this part of the world, the US Air Force runs the Arctic Survival School out of Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

Each year, this five-day intensive training program, also known as Cool School, teaches over 700 servicemembers the survival skills necessary to fight back against nature and survive in the Arctic.

“Mother nature does not like you in this situation,” Survival Instructor Staff Sgt. Seth Reab, tells his students in the morning freeze. “She’s violent. She’s harsh. Your job is to survive until help comes; her job is to find a way to take your life.”

The Air Force’s Cool School, which brings in more than 700 participants every year across all service branches, takes place outside Eielson Air Force Base, deep inside Alaska. Temperatures average about 30 degrees below zero.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon young Jr./USAF

At the start of the course, all participants are given the emergency equipment they would have depending upon what plane they would be flying.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: YouTube

The emergency equipment usually works. But everything else in the Arctic will try to kill the participants. This includes subzero temperatures …

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: YouTube

… and even dehydration. Despite the abundance of snow, it is extremely difficult to drink enough water under harsh Arctic conditions.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: YouTube

One of the first things students are taught is to harvest snow in parachutes, in order to melt it down for water.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon young Jr./USAF

This supply of snow can then be moved into tin cans, in which the snow can be mixed until it melts enough to easily drink.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Warmth is just as important as water. Students are taught to find tender wood with which to build a fire.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

In Cool School, students are taught the ideal way to split wood into longer thin splints that will burn more easily and evenly.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: YouTube

Servicemembers learn to create sparks with a metal match. Though somewhat antiquated, metal matches can be used indefinitely.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: YouTube

Once students create a fire, it can be used for signaling, heat, and food preparation.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Students also learn more basic practical skills — they have to change socks in order to keep feet dry so as to avoid hypothermia.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

On the first night of school, students are taught to create open primitive shelters that provide little insulation from the elements.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Staff Sgt. Joseph Reimer unpacks his duffle bag during the first night of arctic field training near Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The course is five days in duration with instruction in familiarization with the arctic environment, medical, personal protection, sustenance and signaling. Reimer is an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron

During the second day, instructors teach students to make more complex A-frame shelters out of wood and a parachute or tarp.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Airman 1st Class Ray Simon prepares the cover for his thermalized A-frame shelter during arctic survival training at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The A-frame shelter is designed to keep the survivor warm and dry to endure harsh arctic nights. Simon is a 3rd Maintenance Support Squadron crew chief.

The A-frame is then covered with almost a foot of snow to provide insulation.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Airman 1st Class Ray Simon looks out of his thermalized A-frame tent during Arctic Survival School training. The thermalized A-frame is designed to keep survivors warm and dry in arctic environments. Simon is a 3rd Maintenance Support Squadron crew chief and also a member of a crash disable damage recovery team responsible for retrieving downed aircraft in emergency situations.

Another vital principle of survival students learn is how to create an effective signal fire by placing a flare inside a base of kindling and smoke-generating tree limbs.

The most radioactive places on earth
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Staff Sgt. Seth Reab ignites a flare in the middle of tender wood to create a smoke signal during a field training lesson at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The signal flare can be seen for up to 10 miles away and much further when rescue help is coming through the air. Reab is an Air Force Arctic Survival School instructor assigned to Det. 1, 66th Training Squadron at Eielson AFB.

Next to the smoke signal, students create a giant letter ‘V’ to alert passing pilots that they are in need of rescue.

The most radioactive places on earth
photo: YouTube

You can watch a recap of the Arctic Survival School below.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

Watch a soldier return from Afghanistan to surprise a total stranger

We’ve all seen the military homecoming videos, with a service member returning from overseas to surprise their loved ones.


But what happens when a soldier comes home and surprises a total stranger? Well, not to worry, because the satirical website ClickHole has you covered.

“I think he’s going to be very surprised, because he has no idea that I’m finally back from Afghanistan,” says “Sgt. Luke Brundage,” in the video produced by the one-year-old offshoot of The Onion.

With the look and feel of many familiar homecoming videos, the video hilariously illustrates a very awkward meeting, if something like this ever did occur. Interestingly enough, the actor who portrays Brundage is a Marine veteran, according to The Marine Times.

And while it does have some technical errors (using “soldier” instead of Marine, for instance), it’s still funny as hell. And the actor, Jonah Saesan, had little to do with pointing those out.

“A few people want to focus on the detail,” Saesan told The Times. “I don’t think they understand how little I had to do with the creative process.”

Now watch the video:

NOW: The hilarious ‘Awesome Sh-t my Drill Sergeant Said’ is now in book form

Intel

Sorry, Gen. Mattis won’t be running for President

The most radioactive places on earth


Marines have long dreamed of the day beloved retired Gen. James Mattis ‘finally’ takes residence in the White House, but they shouldn’t get their hopes up this campaign season.

In true Mattis fashion, the former head of U.S. Central Command gave it to ’em straight during a speech at Columbia Basin College in Washington State, letting his fans know that despite their interest, he would not be competing in the upcoming presidential race.

The Marine Corps Times reports:

While many troops would love to see Mattis go up against the likes of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, he said he’d like to see others take on the challenge.

“[It’s] time for younger people, especially veterans, to run for office,” Mattis told Marine Corps Times.

That could leave many sporting “Mattis for president” T-shirts while drinking from their “Mattis in 2016” mugs disappointed. In 2012, one Marine veteran started a Facebook campaign to get voters to consider writing in Mattis’ name on their ballots.

Despite the promise of a rabid following in the veteran community, Mattis holds that he doesn’t have “a broad enough perspective” to be Commander-in-Chief, according to The Marine Corps Times.

For more on the story, check out The Marine Corps Times

To listen to Mattis’s speech at Columbia Basin College, listen to the SoundCloud recording below:

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OR: There’s going to be a ‘Top Gun 2′ — with drones

Intel

Putin’s spies are getting sloppy: ‘America isn’t sending a guy to your house to kill you with a hammer, but the Russians will,’ NATO official says

  • Bulgaria arrested six people allegedly spying for Russia inside NATO. One spy was nicknamed “The Resident.”
  • NATO officials were shocked at their “amateurish” lack of espionage tradecraft.
  • “They should have taken the time and been more careful to isolate each agent so that they didn’t all end up starring in a YouTube video,” a source tells Insider.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It was one of Russia’s deepest infiltrations of NATO in recent years, and the nickname given to one of the spies was reminiscent of a John Le Carré novel: “The Resident.”

There were clandestine exchanges of cash for secrets in the centre of Sofia, Bulgaria. Officials were seen counting out cash in Bulgarian government offices. And at the center of it all was a dual national Russian-Bulgarian citizen married to a top defense ministry official. 

The Russian spies posing as diplomats in the Russian embassy in Sofia focused their recruiting efforts on the top echelons of the Bulgarian defense establishment, as the newest member of NATO. Their specific target, according to both Bulgarian media reports and officials who spoke to Insider, was a new NATO facility on the Black Sea.

All told, six Bulgarians with close ties to either Russia or defense ministry projects were arrested for espionage.

But in a 20-minute video released by Bulgarian intelligence a few days later, the reality was less like a slick espionage thriller: The Russians had retained a crew of bumblers whose only skill was their proximity to Bulgaria’s secrets.

The most radioactive places on earth

A tasking memo written ‘in illiterate Bulgarian’

“They’ve got the wife of a prominent figure in the defense industry — who happens to hold dual Bulgarian-Russian passports — coordinating a bunch of agents herself and she’s on video taking meetings at the embassy and in public with Russian officials,” said a NATO counterintelligence official who works undercover and cannot be named. 

“And who is running this woman — again married to one of the top agents — on the Russian side? The top two Russian diplomats at the embassy in Sofia run her themselves to the point they’re caught on video with her,” said the NATO official. “This isn’t a bunch of dumb thugs from the GRU [Russian military intelligence] either, this is the proper SVD [a premier Russian intelligence service previously known as KGB]  running operations from an embassy in a NATO capital.”

The counterintelligence official was particularly shocked at both the clumsy nature of the operation and the bizarre lack of language skills of those running it, considering the spies involved would have been elite intelligence officials with extensive language training who were working in Bulgarian, a Slavic language with close ties to Russia. (There is a lengthy Twitter thread discussing details of the failed operation here, by the journalist Christo Grozev of Bellingcat.)

“The tasking memo was pretty amateurish but normal I guess, they wanted as much info on anything related to NATO that wasn’t Bulgarian because they don’t care about Bulgaria they clearly only care about foreign NATO officers. But that it’s in illiterate Bulgarian makes me crazy. An American or French officer with terrible Bulgarian — but good Russian — would make sense but the SVD has no excuse,” the official told Insider.

‘That’s a major mistake to leave all the sub-agents exposed in a single trail’

After months of closely watching the two Russian officers meet the handler and his wife, Bulgarian authorities became convinced that they had the entire cell under surveillance because of the single point of contact between the spies: The woman who was married to the top official involved, nicknamed “The Resident” by Bulgarian officials, a play on an old KGB term for a spy.

“It looks like maybe the Russians recruited this single MOD official, who then expanded the network to include others and it was all run through that central point,” said the NATO official of the spycraft involved. 

“That’s a major mistake to leave all the sub-agents exposed in a single trail: In this case [if you] figure out The Resident or his wife then you have caught all the agents, not just one,” said the official. “It can be hard to arrange but this is a valuable agent in a NATO MOD [Ministry of Defence]. They should have taken the time and been more careful to isolate each agent so that they didn’t all end up starring in a YouTube video.”

‘It’s as if they don’t really care’

The NATO official said that Bulgaria’s success in the past at catching Russian agents should have been a warning that the situation posed challenges to spy operations:

  • In 2020, Bulgaria deported four top Russian diplomats for spying.
  • In 2019 it banned a former Russian intelligence official from entering Bulgaria over spying claims.
  • And in 2015 Bulgaria saw the first use of the Novichok nerve agent by Russian spies in an attempt to kill a Bulgarian arms dealer who had run afoul of the Kremlin. Novichok was later used in Salisbury in 2018 on a defected Russian spy and his daughter and in 2020 the same substance was used to poison Russian dissident politician Alexei Navalny.

“They get caught a lot in Bulgaria but like everywhere else it’s as if they don’t really care,” said the NATO official. There has been a string of Russian operations in Europe that were so messy they were quickly detected.

“We end up seeing so many Russian operations because they’re crazy: America isn’t sending a guy to your house to kill you with a hammer, but the Russians will. And if you send a guy to kill someone with a hammer or nerve agents the message you send is that you don’t care if you get caught.”

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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