Dead Drop December 21

MATTIS: ONE FOR THE BOOKS? A lot of people are speculating about who might get the nod to follow in Jim Mattis’s footsteps as Secretary of Defense — now that Mattis has decided that he has had about all the fun he can handle in the job.  But here at The Dead Drop — we thought we would speculate about something else: what will Mattis do next? He’s not the kind of guy who will just go fishing.  We asked some folks if they thought Mattis (known to be a literary fan) might write a book.  The initial reaction from some was: Nah, he is old school and would not want to speak (or write) harshly about the old boss.  BUT someone else pointed out to us that Mattis signed a contract with Random House in December 2013 to work on a memoir along with former Pentagon official Bing West. That book was not delivered before Mattis was picked to be SecDef…but according to our sources — he is still under contract to deliver a book.  He’s got a lot more material than he had in 2013.

SHEESH, SHISH: Albania is a fairly recent addition to the list of NATO members.  But it looks like their national intelligence service (known locally as “SHISH”) got their training from the Russian GRU.  The Independent newspaper in the UK reports that the Albania spooks have been routinely (and unintentionally) posting sensitive details about their intelligence operatives on the internet.  That includes details about their “identities, vehicles, operational roles, travel movements, and daily habits.”  It sounds like some low-level administrative bureaucrats got a bit carried away with openness.  Online documents appear to reveal some potential domestic spying, including payments to the state-owned broadcaster for the installation of “technical devices” inside their offices.

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

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