Friday, May 11, 2012

MI6, Leaks, and Playing with Intelligence

When I was working in a different world I had a fellow named Eric Ackerman as a Deputy. Group Commander, RAF, and having worked for RV Jones during the War, he was also MI6 if memory serves me correct. Now Eric knew that world well and we often spoke. It was Eric who parachuted into Norway to retrieve the guidance system of a V2, it was Eric who bugged the Soviet phone lines in Berlin, and on and on. Thus Eric was real, he really did this stuff, and fortunately lived to speak of it decades later. Eric was one of those silent heroes on WW II. And having been both successful and survived, I often looked to Eric for advice.

One of the key rules of intelligence is always keep sources and methods quiet, always, really always, otherwise you just muck it all up, yes that is a paraphrase of the MI6 handbook. Now the CIA had learned a bit from MI6, not everything, but a bit. Yet this current set of leaks is a disaster.

So says the Guardian. Specifically:

Detailed leaks of operational information about the foiled underwear bomb plot are causing growing anger in the US intelligence community, with former agents blaming the Obama administration for undermining national security and compromising the British services, MI6 and MI5.

The Guardian has learned from Saudi sources that the agent was not a Saudi national as was widely reported, but a Yemeni. He was born in Saudi Arabia, in the port city of Jeddah, and then studied and worked in the UK, where he acquired a British passport.

 It is amateur night, and it is a shame that all has been placed at risk. The prime directive in this world of clandestine work is that it is clandestine, secret, kept under cover. The same should be the case as regards to black ops, they are black, in the dark, covered.

The risk now is that no one trusts you ever again, and in this world trust is the first thing you lose, but this time it is lost forever. Yes indeed, amateur night. I wonder what Eric would have told me?