Intelligence: November 4, 2003

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The spotlight being put on American intelligence operations is upsetting a lot of people in the Pentagon. Many senior Department of Defense people are not happy with how unverified, "raw" information was touted as fact during the White House preparations for the Iraq campaign. While everyone understands that the intelligence business is full of murky data of questionable accuracy, there is resentment that the this was exploited by the politicians to generate support for the invasion of Iraq. But that's considered a minor issue compared to the potential damage to America's intelligence gathering capabilities. It is feared that the Congressional and media investigations into how the United States gathers intelligence will expose secret foreign relationships that will be destroyed if publicized. For example, about eighty nations have provided assistance to the United States in the war on terror. Many do not want the details of their assistance publicized. This is usually due to local politics. In Moslem nations, the war on terror is unpopular. In most nations, politicians or senior military people don't want it known that they are helping the United States. But it's not just what's going on now. When Bill Clinton was president, there were apparently several secret operations against al Qaeda that didn't work out. But the locals who helped out don't want the details revealed. In some nations, such revelations could be embarrassing, politically damaging or even fatal. Intelligence gathering has long had a shady reputation because of the secrecy, and sometimes nasty methods used to obtain information, or results. But without access to the information, the United States is even less aware of what the next deadly threat to Americans is developing.

 


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