Thursday, March 7, 2013

Intel agency eyes surface-to-air missiles in region

The General Staff Electronic Systems Command (GES) is providing observations of regional countries as well as missile movements in the region, officials from National Intelligence Organization (MİT) recently told a parliamentary commission.

MİT took over facilities of the (GES) 20 kilometers south of Ankara, in the Gölbaşı district, from the General Staff on Jan. 1, 2012. When the presentation of three senior officials from MİT which was made last week to Parliament’s Eavesdropping Examination Commission behind the closed doors, the institution found an opportunity to explain the functions and abilities of the system at length, as well as their proficiency in using these functions and abilities. At the time, the take-over of the system led to intense political discussions concerning the balance of power between different components of governance.

“Communications intelligence and electronics intelligence” are the two main activities at GES, the officials said, adding that the latter was about detection of radar signals.

“Planes, ships and some weapons systems have radars. In regards to the neighboring countries, we are trying to detect their places via signals in order to provide the country’s security. For example, with SAM [surface-to-air] missiles, there are radars on them and when these are operated we would know,” an official told the commission, the Hürriyet Daily News learned from sources informed about the content of the meeting.

The Syrian army is known to have been in possession of SAM missiles. In June 2012, a Turkish military aircraft was hit by Syria, killing two pilots. A report by a military prosecutor said in September 2012 that the aircraft was shot down by a Syrian air defense missile, even though the missile did not directly hit the plane.

How spyware sold online

Syria, for its part, claimed that it was shot down in its airspace by anti-aircraft fire, while Turkey said it went down in international airspace near the Turkish-Syrian border. “We have responsibility for the entire signal intelligence and we mainly give service to the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK],” the MİT official said. He argued that they were approaching issues “strategically,” while the TSK’s approach was “tactical and operational.”

The same officials also explained how spyware is being sold online. According to their information, both spyware and anti-spyware are being produced by the same companies in order to be sold in world markets, they said.

“These companies’ activities are known by Western intelligence services,” they said, particularly noting how non-state actors had become more active in the intelligence field.

“We could mention Mafia-type organizations. Also, we could say that terrorist groups who are trained by intelligence services are using similar methods,” they said. “In today’s world, many international companies employ retired members of the intelligence services. We are not talking about a struggle that is conducted using classical methods.”

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