Saturday, 27 May 2017

"Truly, You Have a Dizzying Intellect"

US Intelligence Officials

What would have caused it?  Hubris?  Ignorance? Myopia?  Deep state conspiracies?  Gross incompetence?  It beggars belief that highly classified intelligence originating out of the UK covering the Manchester terrorist attack would end up in media briefings in the United States within twenty-four hours.

Oliver J J Lane from BreitbartLondon filed the following report:
The United Kingdom has now stopped passing intelligence gathered as part of the investigation into the Manchester bombing to the United States according to claims made by the British state broadcaster BBC.
We need to exercise some degree of caution when a news report is being sourced from the BBC--hardly an organ of independent news probity these days--but the story has not been contradicted on either side of the Atlantic.

While British police had discovered the identity of Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 in Manchester on Monday, the name was withheld from the media initially for operational reasons. Yet less than 24 hours after the attack took place, American newspapers citing “government sources” were able to name the attacker.

Later further leaked intelligence including detailed crime scene information, and photographs of shrapnel, a backpack, and a battery were released by The New York Times. The BBC report states the “likely” culprit of the leaks are U.S. law enforcement officials who will have received access to the data through the transatlantic ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence sharing agreement, rather than the White House.

The nature and speed of the leaks by these U.S. officials have caused “disbelief and astonishment” in the British government.
The United States government these days appears to have more leaks than a Welsh vegetable garden.  Doubtless the UK will proceed to work through back channels to ensure that such carelessness or grandstanding (or whatever it was) gets dealt to.  A state which disrespects or ignores its intelligence sharing agreements is going to end up isolated and vulnerable.
The ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence sharing agreement, a treaty that dates back to the Second World War between the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand means the involved nations have total unrestricted access to each other’s intelligence collection efforts. The geographical positions of the involved nations and their various ex-colonial outposts make the agreement not just unparalleled in openness, but also in global coverage for signals and other intelligence.

The agreement does, however, rely on each nation also respecting the security of each other’s intelligence — a principle that appears to have been seriously transgressed in this case.

Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports in the U.S. that officials with access to the shared Five Eyes intelligence “were openly briefing the media on what they had been told about Abedi and his ‘cell of Isis-inspired terrorists'”.
Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away such leaks used to come from rogues with names like Snowden  and Assange.  These folk stole or hacked into the electronic vaults of classified information, then broadcast to the world.  Now, in an effort to make sure such miscreants have well passed their "use-by" date, American intelligence officials have apparently decided to cut straight to the chase, and leak ("release") sensitive intelligence within twenty-four hours direct to the media.

So, that's how the much vaunted smart guys in US intelligence are going to beat the Assange's of the world.  They are going to make them redundant.

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