Friday, December 01, 2006

Secret (un)intelligence.

I just have to share this quote from Sir Rodric Braithwaite, who was John Major's foreign policy adviser. The quote appears in this article, in today's Guardian, questioning the UK's special relationship policy.
The intelligence cooperation with the US is extremely useful to us, and somewhat useful to the Americans. If we didn't have it, our intelligence capabilities would be probably [still] better than the Germans and the French, but not by an order of magnitude. And the question then is, Would that matter? Look at Iraq. With most of these things, you actually don't need all that much intelligence; you need common sense, which is a different kind of intelligence. You certainly don't need a lot of secret stuff which turns out to be wrong."
I agree. In 2002 it was apparent to most observers, who where not in the secret intelligence loop, that Saddam Hussein probably did not have chemical weapons (i.e. the infamous weapons of mass destruction), or at least not enough to threaten anyone.

The porblem with secret intelligence information is that it is not open to public scrutiny. The spies/snoops/agents therefore live in a world of their own, where threats become exaggerated and information misused. That is why the US refused to share its secret information with Han Blix's UN inspectors and why the then Secretary of State Colin Powel looked so silly presenting his 'evidence' to the Security Council in 2003. The evidence against Hussein's government was simply a collection of hearsay, innuendos, lies and quotes taken out of context, i.e. "Secret stuff which turns out to be wrong".


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