Foreign Intelligence

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE….William Arkin writes today about European hypocrisy. Or is it willful blindness?

This week, while in Amsterdam, I’ve gotten an earful of Euro-weenies whining about U.S. law-breaking and American hegemony….

Poor Europeans! Behind closed doors, I suspect this is what is really happening: Elected officials from Berlin to Kiev are being informed by Ms. Rice of an incredibly uncomfortable truth. Little if nothing occurs on their soil ? no CIA flights, no secret bases, no interrogations, no renditions ? without some secret affiliate in their government being informed of the U.S. (or joint U.S.-local government) action.

….I suspect that not one of the super-revelations of American “wrongdoing” in the war on terrorism in Europe ? not one torture story nor death nor rendition, not one secret CIA flight or secret base; not even the public exposure of Curveball, the Iraqi biological warfare fantasist being handled by German intelligence ? originated with a European government whistleblower. The hard reality for those on the continent should be that despite all of their huffing and puffing of the incompatibilities of war on terrorism methods with European standards of human rights and civil liberties, it is their secret services that are beyond oversight and out of control, it is their governmental structures that are increasingly shown to be inadequately reflective of their citizens’ values.

In a general sense, this is probably unfair. The British press, for example, has exposed Tony Blair’s “sexed up” dossier, the Downing Street Memos, and George Bush’s desire to blow up al-Jazeera. Last month La Repubblica in Italy published a series of articles about the complicity of Italian intelligence in the Niger forgeries, and Italian prosecutors have exposed illegal American kidnappings of suspected terrorists. And German intelligence officers did talk to the LA Times about Curveball.

And yet….Arkin has a point. It’s no surprise that the U.S. press has been the one most interested in reporting on the activities of U.S. intelligence, but why are there whistleblowers in the CIA willing to talk to Dana Priest and Doug Jehl but no one in MI6 or the Bundesnachrichtendienst willing to talk with the Guardian or Der Spiegel about U.S. activities in their countries? It’s a question worth raising.