How Albania Accidentally Exposed Its Own Intelligence Operatives

By Vincent Triest

The Republic of Albania, a NATO member, has been posting sensitive information about its secret service online, publishing thousands of payments made by the spy agency.

By doing so the identities of foreign and domestic operatives have been uncovered, and number plates used by the intelligence officers, and other sensitive details published to the web. The leak was discovered by the author, and was first published The Independent. We recommend reading the article for more details on what the spreadsheets disclosed, such as tantalising clues about the operations of the clandestine agency.

This in-depth article details how the leak was discovered, and, the Albanian authorities’ apparent inability to remove the leaks from the web after they were repeatedly notified of them.

What happened was, in fact, simple.

In an effort to boost transparency and combat corruption, the Albanian Ministry of Finance and Economy publishes — almost on a daily basis — spreadsheets of day-to-day payments of all government institutions on their website.

Image 1. In a boost to foster transparency, expenditures of government agencies are available for almost every day of the year on Albania’s Finance Ministry’s website.

One of the columns in the spreadsheets refers to the specific Albanian governmental institution, such as the Prime Ministry, the Presidency, and the various courts in the country.

Image 2. A sample of a spreadsheet available on the website of the Albanian Finance Ministry.

But that’s not all, the payments can also be filtered by the State Intelligence Service (Albanian: Shërbimi Informativ Shtetëror), commonly known by its acronym SHISH, including a veritable sea of information about domestic and foreign intelligence operations and intelligence personnel of a NATO country.

Image 3. A spreadsheet filtered for only entries related to SHISH, Albania’s …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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