Counter-Terrorism: Scary Name Takers


March 14,2008: German police recently arrested a Sudanese man and accused him of spying for the Sudanese government. The accused spy was not looking to steal German secrets, but was trying to identify Sudanese exiles who were holding demonstrations against the Sudanese government. This kind of espionage is becoming increasingly common, as media coverage expands (mainly via the Internet and more TV news channels.) Once foreign governments identify who is organizing, or participating, in these embarrassing actions, there are several things that can be done to deal with it. One old tactic is to see if the demonstrators have kin back home. If so, those family members can be threatened, until their exiled kin quiet down. More extreme measures include threatening the demonstrators with violence, or even killing them.

Another use of this rather different form of espionage is for rebel movements to identify expatriates so they can be solicited (or sometimes just shaken down) for contributions to the cause. These donations often support terrorist operations. Expatriates can also be identified so they can be recruited, for espionage, or terrorism.

Counter-terror organizations are finding that this new form of espionage is growing much faster than the more traditional kind, and is also more dangerous to all involved.


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