Dead Drop: June 4

WISE MOVE:  As part of their Memorial Day weekend coverage, ABC News’ “This Week” featured a segment about the Wise family who lost two brothers in combat as recounted in the book Three Wise Men, (which was recently reviewed in The Cipher Brief.) Sole surviving brother Beau Wise was interviewed in front of the Memorial Wall at CIA headquarters where – for the first time –  he was able to see the star engraved to honor his brother.  Also interviewed for the segment was Bill Burns who made his first Sunday show appearance as CIA director and noted that the “… memorial wall is hallowed ground for CIA, it now holds 137 stars, each one marking a CIA officer who was killed in the line of duty.” Burns added “Sadly, a few days ago, at our annual memorial ceremony, we added four new stars to this wall.”

NEWS FLASH — BELLINGCAT RINGS AMERICAN BELL:  We suspect U.S. officials (and others) have quite enjoyed the investigative journalism site Bellingcat because of the way it reveals Russian secrets.  In recent years they’ve uncovered the details of the attempted assassinations of former Russian Officer Sergei Skripal  and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  But U.S. officials might not be quite as thrilled with a story the website published late last week, revealing that they believe they have been able to identify the exact locations where the U.S. stores nuclear weapons in Europe. Apparently, they figured this out by examining popular online education websites that help create flashcards.  Bellingcat says the flashcards were used by U.S. troops looking to familiarize themselves with fun facts like which on base shelters were “hot vaults” with live nuclear weapons.  “By simply searching online for terms publicly known to be associated with nuclear weapons, Bellingcat was able to discover cards used by military personnel serving at all six European military bases reported to store nuclear devices,” according to Foeke Postma, the author of the Bellingcat article.

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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