The international condemnation regarding the on-going intelligence gathering of the world’s intelligence agencies exposed by the NSA whistle-blower and fugitive Edward Snowden is in reality much ado about nothing.
Most citizens of the world are blissfully unaware of a dangerous, secretive and ruthless parallel world that co-exists alongside them but which they do not see or even think about. In this parallel world, agents are recruited, intelligence is gathered and plans formulated and executed to disrupt, destroy and neutralise threats. It is this parallel world that keeps the governments – and by implication the populace - safe and their enemies in a state of constant concern and vigilance.
Without intelligence, governments are unable to “see over the hill” and adapt and modify their strategies according to new or developing threats. All intelligence agencies gather overt and covert information/intelligence not only on their enemies but also on their allies. To achieve this, laws are sometimes broken and sometimes crimes are committed to discover the plans of others.
Spying on ones allies is nothing new. This has been done for centuries and has numerous aims such as determining if their allies are silently acting or turning against them, making decisions that could impact on the national security, provide early warning to allies of pending threats and even coordinate and support actions that are being planned against their allies.
Espionage and covert direct action are major components of this parallel world. Telephones are tapped, email communications are monitored and sometimes disrupted, prominent persons are watched and followed, high-value targets are assassinated, threat networks are infiltrated and penetrated, false-flag operations are launched to confuse and mislead opposing intelligence services, disinformation operations are launched and so forth.
The golden rule is always: “Don’t get caught”.
Being caught or compromised can result in a major embarrassment to the government that launches the operation. However, despite the political rhetoric and public anger that then takes place, even the targeted governments understand the need for intelligence gathering and other covert operations – as they too conduct similar operations.
Without intelligence, national strategies and national security strategies will be empty shells with no direction or guidance. Without intelligence, these strategies will not be able to adapted and provide sufficient early warning to the government of threats and pending or planned actions.
In Africa, major intelligence failures abound – Mali, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Somalia and so forth to name but a few. These failures occur because insufficient attention is given to intelligence operations or intelligence is simply ignored. This lack of intelligence is a major contributing factor to providing any threat network with an advantage. The results are clear for all to see.
Whereas the world was shocked by the extent of the NSA’s capabilities, the media storm that erupted was in fact much ado about reality. Those that shouted the loudest often do not realise that without these operations, they would probably not have the freedom they claim to advocate.