Four eyes and an arsehole

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, May 17th, 2017 - 40 comments
Categories: International, us politics, war - Tags: , , , ,

What I found so weird about the latest saga in the the flood of White House leaks yesterday, after the news about what Trump told the Russian ambassador, was the sound of some people blindly completely missing the point.  The point is that Trump probably compromised sources of information, certainly did it without thinking about the allies who provided it, and probably did it for no better reason than he was childishly boasting to boost his ego – yet again.

New Zealand along with other allies has been in a long standing and pretty complex set of intelligence gathering and analysis arrangements with the USA since the end of second world war. These arrangements, like all similar information sharing arrangement from and with NZ and between many other other nations and groupings around the world, are done to minimise issues of accidental wars or actions due to a lack of clear information.

Surprises like Pearl Harbouraircraft deliberately flying into buildings, or nerve gas attacks on subways. Each of these cases had previously unclear and uncorroborated intelligence across many nations that could have prevented the actions and their consequences if they’d been assembled in time.

Similarly foolishness like the second gulf war searching for mythical weapons of mass destruction could have been prevented if the intelligence had been clearer than a paranoid dictatorship playing bluffing games allowed. That matched with a foolish president and prime minister who in the absence of clear information believed what they wanted to believe caused a disastrous set of destabilising wars in the middle east and the after effects worldwide.

Of course these were the failures of intelligence gathering. Less well known and usually still secret are the successes of intelligence gathering at preserving the peace world wide.

But such information sharing arrangements usually depend on levels of trust and rules about sharing. That is because the people providing information are often very sensitive about the sources of the information – a detail that is usually passed to provide corroboration as to the information’s veracity. But the information and that the receiver trusts it also can pinpoint where, from whom, and how the information was obtained. That compromises the source(s) and the ability to gain information again. It also often gets sources shutdown, killed, tortured or imprisoned.

In this case, it appears likely to have been the Israelis providing the information about ISIS   While they have their own well-known reasons for providing slanted information, they also have one of the best intelligence networks in the Middle East.

The officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Israel previously had urged the United States to be careful about the handling of the intelligence that Mr. Trump discussed.

Mr. Trump said on Tuesday on Twitter that he had an “absolute right” to share information in the interest of fighting terrorism and called it a “very, very successful meeting” in a brief appearance later Tuesday at the White House alongside President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, told reporters that he was not concerned that information sharing among intelligence partners would stop.

Trump is, to be frank, a complete idiot. Meeting with the newly minted dictator of Turkey (on the back of an referendum that he nearly lost to get there) really does push that point across. You have to ask yourself – was Trump providing intelligence so that his fellow megalomaniac could lock up and torture more of his citizens. You really couldn’t trust this childish leaker of the free world not to do so in his attention seeking.

McMaster might not be worried about the effect on intelligence partners  willing to trust the US with sensitive information, but he’d be a minority of about one.

Even NZ with its various operations around this end of the Pacific really doesn’t need its own intelligence gathering operations blown by the current incompetent blowhard of the White House. Bearing in mind that this appears to be the new norm in US executive politics, our intelligence community should start reviewing and adapting the existing doctrine of how and when we should share information with the US.


lprent: Bearing in mind the number of soapbox fools who didn’t read what the post was about before they started jumping to conclusions like George W Bush did about Saddam Hussien, I’ve now auto-moderated the post. Comments that don’t relate to the primary topics in the post will also be shunted to OpenMike. Excessively creating work to do that are likely to get you bans. The post is about the unconstrained leaking of 3rd party intelligence by Trump and specifically if NZ should change its policy about passing intelligence to the US .

40 comments on “Four eyes and an arsehole”

  1. Yep he leaked and has admitted it. No thought of consequence just an egofart trying to show hes a big man. Shame on his supporters and the bullshit spinners who try to muddy the waters around this dangerous idiot. Low impulse control is trumps excuse not sure what the excuse is for the fake news spinners – wishful thinking maybe.

  2. Stunned Mullet 2

    Good analysis Lynn, I find myself continually surprised that Trump is as daft and ego maniacal as he comes across and that there is zero depth to the man.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Doesn’t surprise me. It seems to be part and parcel of the right-wing. They all think that they’re special, better than they are and that the rules don’t apply to them.

      Key was the same.

      • Stunned Mullet 2.1.1

        “Key was the same.”

        Strange you also display all the same traits DTB ..and I’d had you pegged as a LWNJ.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1

          No I don’t so that would be you projecting yourself onto me.

  3. greywarshark 3

    Who knows in the complex world of fear, wariness, sudden death etc of international relations whether Trump does have a useful role in breaking in through its not so smooth wall of misinformation, lies and secrets.

    Trump’s leaks aren’t too dissimilar to selling or giving a foreign power news of a new weapon, as spies and subversives have done for so long. He is putting a spanner in the works, and perhaps he’ll be the nut that turns concepts round. The USA and the Russians have shared space exploration. That is counter to all their professed attitudes back in the day. Who knows what a new approach may result in?

    Perhaps we should ban film making, as a subversive weapon of war and fear. Hollywood was the site of the nest of subversion that was dug deeply by McCarthy and his band of unmerry men as they delved into people’s brains looking for the latest scary idea, communism. The creatives are used for making propaganda which films are. Their area of expertise is rife with subversion of ideas, principles, long-held shibboleths. Trump applying chaos theory to the propaganda story may bear some fruit if it veers away from a new iron curtain.

  4. Bill 4

    So far, all there have been are unsubstantiated and unverifiable allegations made by unnamed people who were not at a meeting.

    That’s a fact and not in any way a defence of Trump.

    There’s a power struggle going on within the US establishment. It’s kind of beyond me why some people are so keen to pick sides – to jump on bandwagons. Maybe they achieve a sense of gratification or something from running with a kind of liberal mob rule that stokes their hatred of Trump?

    Meanwhile, “Israel quickly declared it had “full confidence” in its intelligence-sharing agreement with the US..”

    Turkey is a NATO ally and it would be astonishing if a US President didn’t meet with with Erdogan (fellow bastard that he is) given the disgusting and shambolic goings on in Syria.

    And when are people going to wake up to the fact that it’s all that sits behind Trump that’s the problem and the danger and a far more appropriate target for whatever level of disapproval or opposition?

    Get rid of Trump. Get Pence. Same shit, different figurehead.

    • lprent 4.1

      So far, all there have been are unsubstantiated and unverifiable allegations made by unnamed people who were not at a meeting.

      Plus McMaster and Trump stating in public that intelligence was passed about ISIS (but not detailing what) in response to questions about the particular allegations made by WaPo.

      That is always what you get with anything to do with intelligence in anything less than decade time spans. Generally intelligence is only detailed in the history books. For instance the details about how the Zimmerman telegram got into the hands of the US were only released more than 90 years after the first world war. The details about the cracking of the enigma machine were released more than 50 years after the second world war. It has taken about 15 years to get any details about the decision to start the second gulf war.

      Your expectation is rather endearing in its simplistic nativity. However it isn’t something that I have ever seen happen.

      There’s a power struggle going on within the US establishment. It’s kind of beyond me why some people are so keen to pick sides – to jump on bandwagons.

      The increasing partisanship at various levels and directions in the US government has been obvious for decades.

      However my interest is how it affects NZ and how we should respond. Your interest in comments seems to be how it will affect Russia – something that I find to be a rather weird focus. I have no time for the dictatorial, kleptomaniac and crony economy of Russia. I tend to react when I see the faithful dribbling on about it because they like sucking down propaganda about the benevolent dictator of Russia from RT as if it was credible.

      However I also don’t see it as being at all relevant to NZ except for the way that it interferes with debate about NZ – which is why I was getting annoyed yesterday.

      • Bill 4.1.1

        They have indicated they passed details about a plot involving lap-tops. That info was so fucking top secret that the Washington Post in its article claims to know all about it. (Lap tops were banned as carry-on for UK bound flights back in April btw)

        Like you say, there’s quite a time lag at play with regards the public getting any measure of detailed info on intelligence community shenanigans. That’s absolutely no excuse to run with wild unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources that someone may have told someone else a thing about a something that we have no idea exists or if it does, what it might be.

        It’s wavy armed conspiratorial nonsense.

        That aside, I hope your not going for the lazy “Russian apologist” angle with that second to last para? You should damned well know by now I’m no supporter of any state based governance.

        On “Five Eyes”. Correct if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the US already have unfettered direct access to anything NZ might pick up through Waihopai? Because if that’s the case, then NZ tormenting itself on whether or not to pass intel to the US becomes a laughable moot point.

        • lprent 4.1.1.1

          There was a lot of russia defensive crap going around yesterday.

          It annoyed me because every time anything was raised about the actual effect on how we should act, then it was immediately diverted off into RT speak.

        • lprent 4.1.1.2

          Like you say, there’s quite a time lag at play with regards the public getting any measure of detailed info on intelligence community shenanigans. That’s absolutely no excuse to run with wild unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources that someone may have told someone else a thing about a something that we have no idea exists or if it does, what it might be.

          And there we completely disagree. Effectively you are arguing that we do nothing because we don’t know absolutely what happened or is going to happen.

          For instance if we used that as a criteria for discussion then we’d never talk about climate change. No one has ever actually seen it happen because the timescales are too great. But the potential costs of not doing anything are too high to not make decisions based on probabilities. For that matter labour law legislation carries exactly the same levels of unknown risks.

          In fact in politics and science and damn near anything else I don’t know of anything that carries the level of certainty that you seem to be after. After all even with physics we know that the current apparent ‘laws’ that govern physical matter and energy were probably quite different in the past and are likely to be different in the future (basically if you want certainty then never read any cosmology).

          Yet you seem to think that intelligence work is different somehow? WTF! And why?

          Personally I look at the risk levels between our intelligence operations and what looks very much like a breach of trust by one of our intelligence partners because of someone who looks to me like a childish dickhead. I want to know that the issue is being dealt with responsibly from our side. I’d also like it to be dealt with preemptively rather than to wait around until after Trump or his minions release all of the phone calls and emails from leftie activists (just to take a random example).

          And having diversions into discussions about irrelevant twaddle isn’t going to assuage that desire.

          • Bill 4.1.1.2.1

            If a claim of an action can be substantiated to some degree or other, then run with it. If the veracity of a claim can be inferred from other known stuff, then run with it.

            If the person or persons making a claim are utterly unknown and they can offer not a skerrick of fuck all beyond their finger pointing to underscore what they say, then nah.

            And btw, I’m not pointing out that it’s bullshit to run with something because “we don’t know absolutely what happened”. I’m saying it’s bullshit because we absolutely do not know what happened.

            Throw on top of that the obvious existence of people peddling agendas and even some of the more incurious of numb-skulls would be making some level of judgement call based on the likelihood of there simply being an agenda in play.

            Or so I’d have thought. Seems though, that you and others want, or are willing, to uncritically accept something as true. Which…whatever.

            btw – did you really just claim in your comment that the laws of physics are mutable?!

            • lprent 4.1.1.2.1.1

              I’m saying it’s bullshit because we absolutely do not know what happened.

              What I am saying is that there are a lot of things that we work with not because they have happened, but because the risk of them happening is what is important. Certainty be damned because it is usually not relevant to working on possible issues. It is the uncertainty that is the problem.

              For instance there is a hell of a lot of extra work gone into buildings and roads because of the risk of earthquakes, floods and even snow, wind or very heavy rain happening. At the time when the work is being done then none of those things are happening. Clearly because building usually doesn’t happen when any of those are happening.

              In this case there is uncertainty if Trump released third party intelligence compared to the prior presumption that wouldn’t happen. Any good intelligence person would have to reassess the risk based on the increased level of uncertainty. It is a standard part of ANY risk assessment.

              FFS: This is pretty basic to most jobs. For instance I have to do this every time that I get strange results out of the hardware and software on the gear I am developing or have developed. In fact I am doing it right now chasing the strange result setting a configuration.

              btw – did you really just claim in your comment that the laws of physics are mutable?!

              Really a topic for another post. But..

              Of course physics is mutable over time, distance, and observation. Offhand I can’t think of much that you could say is not mutable unless you want to add a whole lot of conditions about the reference frame about time, region, velocity and how deep the local gravity dimple is.

              Sometime have a look at what is required to explain the big bang (inflation – which looks like it happened) or steady state (how exactly do we get matter and energy popping in – which looks like we didn’t have).

              But I was dealing with a more basic level than that. Very little science is very certain. All of it is probabilities rather than certainties.

              Physics doesn’t exactly explain happens past the event horizon of a black hole, or the interesting quirks of quantum theory like quantum coupling or zero point energy that are both theoretically possible and increasingly appear to be experimentally probable.

              Even such basics such as how gravity operates are currently largely theory and are only really based on local observation (ie within about a light centuries) because when we go past that we’re peering too far back in time when the certainties of the physical rules we are assuming that we are looking at are less probable.

              However science compared to a large number of other assertions like politics or religion tends to be pretty accurate within a constrained limit because it is widely tested. Of course we really can’t test it a lot because we are a bit constrained in terms of time and space.

              But anyone who is actually trained in science (like I was in my BSc) are acutely aware of the limits of certainty and that science is based on constrained observations and a whole lot of theory over time and space.

    • One Two 4.2

      missing the point….probably compromised sources”

      The salient point is that not a single commentator/author/mod on this site has the first clue what the underlying event’s are..

      • lprent 4.2.1

        ..has the first clue what the underlying event’s are..

        Who really cares apart from the citizens of the US and those who want to go there?

        The reality is that there is a president there who appears to not respect the security of information being passed to them by 3rd parties like NZ. Trump’s response so far is rather explicitly that because he can do it legally then nothing else matters.

        For this country I don’t think that is acceptable and that in the view of that attitude we should change how we share information with the US.

        Is that so hard to understand that you can’t wrap your wee mind around it?

        • Bill 4.2.1.1

          No. Trumps response so far has been that he didn’t pass on sensitive information – that he only passed on info that was pertinent to a possible terrorist attack.

          Can he declassify info? Apparently. Has he? Apparently not.

          Are Israel okay with the intelligence relationship? Apparently.

          Has a plot to bring down a Russian airliner been averted? Possibly.

          Does the US take the info it wants from NZ spying activities or is it given? The way Five Eyes is set up (vague memories of Snowden stuff) it’s taken.

          • lprent 4.2.1.1.1

            And you trust what Trump says?

            What does Israel attitudes have to do with us?

            The treaty arrangement is that we allow them to take whatever they want within the agreement. It will also allow us to vary the conditions because no country makes completely open ended treaties.

            The question is that bearing in mind there is an probably an issue with a White House leaker who will probably be there for 3.5-7.5 years – shouldn’t we change that agreement.

            There is fuckall we can do about having Trump in the White House. That is up to the US. So how about concentrating on NZ where we do have an ability to change things…

            • Bill 4.2.1.1.1.1

              An unknown person accused Trump of being a sheep-shagger (essentially) and offered no proof of that being the case. Trump denies it. It’s not about believing him or trusting him, it’s about the accuser offering up some fucking credible and tangible ‘something’ beyond the mere sound of their own accusation.

              The treaty arrangement is…and you accused me of being naive!

              Why is there probably a White House leaker? No-one who was present at the meeting has made any kind of claim about anything untoward being said or offered up.

              You think NZ has the ability to change (presumably) it’s intelligence services relationships with the US. I don’t think so. It’s a master and servant relationship – not one of equals.

              • McFlock

                Unknown to us, not unknown to WaPo. And WaPo concealed some details and identites for (if the story is true) very good reasons.

                Yes, it could be completely fabricated. But that is significantly less likely with WaPo than it is with either the trump regime, fox news, or reddit.

                So really, we have a “X said, but Y said” situation. X generally tries to tell the truth, has built a commercial reputation on telling the truth, and while it has had a few failures to do so or has exagerrated the truth on occassion, it’s usually pretty reliable.

                Y is a narcissistic pathological liar, and the allegation is perfectly consistent with Y’s known behaviour.

                I can understand a certain amount of scepticsm or a “wait to see if we see more” approach, but it’s not a random and extreme allegation that came out of a vacuum.

              • lprent

                No-one who was present at the meeting has made any kind of claim about anything untoward being said or offered up.

                And that is an interesting point.

                Basically what you are arguing is that WaPo didn’t have a source. Curiously enough that would be a cause for the security apparatus to execute warrants for iff the executive said that ut didn’t happen. That obviously hasn’t happened.

                The wording in tbe last few days from Trump, McMaster and Spicer was unusually precise in what they said and what they answered.

                It never says that what WaPo alleged didn’t happen. What they carefully say is essentially that no classified information was communicated. Which is technically correct because Trump said it and it was essentially declassified as he would have spoken it.

                What was pretty weird about that meeting was also (from memory of the news reports at the time) was that the audience didn’t have the usual type of people in it from state and the intel side.

                But as I pointed out earlier. That is all irrelevant to our decisions. That the issue has been raised about Trumps handling of 3rd party Intel is sufficient for us to examine what we entrust to the US.

                • Bill

                  Basically what you are arguing is that WaPo didn’t have a source.

                  No. I’m saying (have said over and over) that beyond telling us they were not present at the meeting, they are not providing any information about their sources .

                  That means we can’t evaluate those sources or the information they are providing.

                  In cases where sources cannot be revealed, the information presented is usually verifiable. But we don’t have that in this case.

                  You’re willing to accept it all as gospel because “Washington Post”? Seriously?

                  You don’t think the Washington Post is ever fed baseless or dodgy stories to run for the sake of propaganda – and that they do that willingly? You haven’t hesitated to wonder why not one of the liberal msm that ran with the Washington Post story on their front pages asked or wondered about the Washington Post’s sources?

                  First fucking rule of journalism in the absence of any actual evidence I’d have thought – y’know, who is saying whatever and why might they be saying whatever.

  5. Tinfoilhat 5

    “There’s a power struggle going on within the US establishment. It’s kind of beyond me why some people are so keen to pick sides – to jump on bandwagons. Maybe they achieve a sense of gratification or something from running with a kind of liberal mob rule that stokes their hatred of Trump?”

    🙄

    • lprent 5.1

      And how does that affect debate about passing information from our intelligence gatherers to the leaker of the free world?

  6. Anne 6

    Over and above the well known symptoms of narcissism are the six behavioural signs below:

    1) Highly reactive to criticism.
    2) Underneath the self-adulation and sense of entitlement they have low self esteem.
    3) Inordinately self righteous and defensive.
    4) React to contrary view-points with anger and rage.
    5) Project onto others qualities, traits and behaviours they can’t- or won’t – accept in themselves.
    6) Poor interpersonal boundaries.

    Trump has exhibited all six behaviours in their most toxic form in the past week alone!

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201311/6-signs-narcissism-you-may-not-know-about

    Bill is right about one thing: We’re between the devil and the deep blue sea. Get rid of the “toxic” narcissist and we have the “nutty” fundamentalist tea-party Christian to contend with.

    As a non religious person, all I can say is God help us!

    • lprent 6.1

      Oh I agree that he is right about the Trump / Pence / House – because of the nature of US politics.

      However what my question is is quite different. What do we do about it in terms of our long term program of intelligence sharing with the US. For that matter with other ties to that state?

      • marty mars 6.1.1

        We do nothing like we always do.

        The Euro capitalist cultural connection won’t break easily if at all. Remember at our end of the intelligence chain is the tick from dipton – oh dear we’re fucked.

      • Anne 6.1.2

        What do we do about it in terms of our long term program of intelligence sharing with the US…

        It’s interesting to note that Andrew Little drew immediate attention to the question when responding to the latest development yesterday. He noted NZ might have to reform their processes of information sharing in light of the Trump regime. He declined to comment on what he might do as prime-minister which was the correct response in light of Trump’s behaviour and excesses.

        All English was prepared to say was… it’s got nothing to do with us (or words to that effect) which is nonsense. As members of the 5 Eyes fraternity, it has everything to do with us.

        Thanks lprent for an illuminating post.

        • lprent 6.1.2.1

          I didn’t see that from Little. But I’m damn glad that someone in our media or parliament is raising the question.

  7. Ad 7

    Lyn you will particularly enjoy the new story that Comey wrote a memo detailing a meeting between himself and Trump in which Trump directly requested that the investigation against Flynn be stopped:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-comey-memo-trump_us_591b6e8de4b0a7458fa3f31e?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    Just hitting the MSM now.

    Comey’s paper trail on his Trump meetings and calls will I am sure be as good as any senior bureaucrats’.

  8. Ad 8

    Just hitting the media now: Trump requested Comey stop the investigation into Flynn.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/james-comey-memo-trump_us_591b6e8de4b0a7458fa3f31e?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

  9. adam 9

    Leaving aside the use of intelligence gathering outside of a war, and the moral implications that has.

    Leaving aside that historically, leaders have chose to ignore intelligence. Thinking Stalin and the German invasion.

    Leaving aside the situation inside the USA. Trump is an Idiot, and that Pence gives me nightmares.

    New Zealand, has no choice, but to keep gathering information and pass it on. That is the essence of the 5 eyes.

    As for the bases we have here, are in at least one case, is maned by personal of the NSA. How many others have staff who are out side the GCSB and indeed foreign nationals working for their respective agencies – we do not know?

    We have at lease two USA bases in NZ, so we have no choice.

    Whilst it might be nice to think we could walk away from this, it is never going to happen. We are so tied into the programme we just have to tip our caps and go yes sir, becasue that is the club we are signed up to.

    If the NZ public wanted to go neutral, and God knows it’s a position I would support. It would mean a real break with the USA, that in this political environment would bring not only political, but economic costs.

    • McFlock 9.1

      yep. Sadly, our safest course is probably just to keep passing stuff on – not that we really filter stuff from the bases, anyway. With the proviso that anything they choose to pass back to us might have already been burned by the vapid bluster of a septugenarian adolescant.

      Not that they told us shit about Rainbow Warrior, but they might have passed on something useful in days gone by.

      I suppose the interesting quandary would be if our folk in harm’s way actually cultivated a high-level source in a Taliban or terrorist group.

      Would we pass on full details about the fruits of that source, or just snippets, or even just shut up and hope the yanks never found out we knew the IEDs were there, because the source was delivering more information that kept our troops safe and we couldn’t trust the yanks to keep the source a secret?

      • Bill 9.1.1

        No quandary. As soon as any communication is made about any such supposed quandary, the US has the information. Well, if there’s any electronic communication made.

        So short of using couriers and/or carrier pigeons…

        Also. Let’s assume just for a sec that NZ did deliberately withhold info from the US and the US then got wind of that fact. What you reckon as to the repercussions? And then, knowing there’d be repercussions if info was withheld, what are the odds of that ever even crossing the mind of NZ intelligence?

        • McFlock 9.1.1.1

          If our armed forces can’t even manage non-trivial encryption, they wouldn’t pick up the intelligence in the first place.

          Anyway, repercussions: standard military relations and diplomatic fare. Not providing air cover in a timely manner. Not aiding in logistics. Not voting our way in UN.

          As for the oods of witholding crossing NZ’s mind, it depends entirely on how many NZ soldiers you think they’d be prepared to sacrifice. Given the media prominence when our soldiers die one at a time, even a single large attack would drastically change the government’s priorities. And then the intelligence folk need to worry about the link between their carelessness with sources and those deaths.

          So yeah, I don’t think it would be an outright rubber stamp to just burn the source by handing intel over to the yanks.

          • Bill 9.1.1.1.1

            Thinking repercussions would be more likely of an economic variety – y’know, hit people/countries where it hurts. Not that it will happen – NZ like other ‘club members’ are master’s well behaved and generally grateful little servants.

            • McFlock 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah, maybe some of the old “oh, this case of crayfish looks odd, we’d better delay at customs the entire $200k worth for a week until they’re all good and smelly” treatment too. I doubt formal sanctions though – too much paperwork.

              Grateful servants are one thing, but it takes a special kind to slit their own throat for their master. If they had a major source who was regularly saving NZ lives with good intelligence, I’m not sure NZ would arbitrarily hand over that source to the yanks to be given to putin who might or might not be co-operating with the Taliban at some level.

              Now I’m not actually opposed to the Russian move as such because I suspect they’re actually doing it the way the yanks should have donein the first place (as in deal with each Taliban group on its own terms and steer clear of the nuttier ones), especially if they’re focusing more on humanitarian and infrastructure aid rather than “here are some new guns to play with”.

              The trouble is that it provides a chain of motives for the identity of a source saving NZ lives to end up being outed to the source’s colleagues, who might be angry in a very pointy way.

              • Bill

                You do know that the Taliban tried on numerous occasions to hand Bin Laden over to the US before 9/11? Problem was, the US at that point didn’t ‘recognise’ the Taliban as the legit government – fuck, they even had him in court and asked the US to provide proof of involvement in embassy bombings so they could add it to charges and wash their fucking hands of him. And the US sent them….wait for it….a tape recording of a 60 Minutes programme! Second problem was that the yanks were really stupid at reading between the lines of what the Taliban were telling them with regards Bin Ladens whereabouts and security at any given time. The third problem was that even when the Taliban tried to extradite him through Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia wouldn’t allow it.

                Anyway. I digress.

                • McFlock

                  Yeah, pretty much.

                  But then I also know that the Taliban are a much looser arrangement of local power structures than in most other parts of the world. Some are in nutbar territory, some just go with the flow to keep their people safe and would have flipped if the yanks were any good at empire. Can’t build good roads, either.

                  Hence why I’m not immediately all “what da fuk” at Russian involvement with some Taliban groups.

  10. bwaghorn 10

    trump to putin
    ‘i’ve got a secret but you mustn’t tell anyone ‘

    of course we should stop telling the fuckers anything till they turf the cunning idiot to the curb.

  11. UncookedSelachimorpha 11

    I wonder how Trump’s supporters will put a positive spin on this one?

    Personally I think we should already be extremely wary of intelligence cooperation with the US – and should avoid military cooperation entirely. With the US we are getting in bed with a country that tortures and without legal process kills and detains (and that was under Obama!).

    His support for waterboarding and killing the families of militants is already reason enough to question any cooperation – and not keeping secrets makes cooperation just ridiculous! With friends like that, who needs enemies.

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