German secret agents intercepted one of Hillary Clinton’s phone calls while she was US secretary of state and also listened in to a call by John Kerry, her successor, it emerged this weekend, in an embarrassing reversal of the spying scandal that blew up when it was revealed last year that America bugged Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.
The Germans are claiming this happened by accident. That’s almost believable because no one in their right mind listen to John Kerry on purpose. But this is really not surprising or particularly enraging. Allies spy on each other. They have to because even the tightest of allies have different interests and needs from time to time and it is the duty of the intelligence agency of any country to pursue its own interests. I am sure that the Germans, not being known for their stupidity, have a lot of intelligence assets in this country. When the Merkel thing blew up, I said that the if the Germans weren’t spying on Obama, it was only because they couldn’t.
Still, it’s fun to see a little bit of egg on previously outrage teutonic faces.
What concern you ask? Well, how easy it was for 6 members of the Taliban to hold an entire Pakistani naval facility hostage for over 16 hours, destroy 2 P3C Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft, kill over a dozen people, and in general to make the Pakistani military look as inept as I suspect it is. The good news is that the Pakistani military has regained control of the base, at least they claim to have done so. The bad news, and man is it bad, is that Pakistan is a nuclear country, and one has to wonder how secure they are in contrast. Could the Taliban, or any other group of terrorists, get nuclear materials this easily as well?
There are some troubling details about the raid. This was supposed to be a secure facility, so the raiders got primo intel from someone to pull this off. Maybe the ISI faction that’s pro Taliban was behind this. It embarrasses the military and makes them look weak in the eyes of the world. When the world reacts they can then claim Pakistan is being humiliated and consolidate their more radicalized faction’s control and power. I certainly hope our intel community isn’t just sleeping on their laurels, and actually are working hard to figure out what this was about. And in the mean time we should keep a close eye on Pakistan and let them know that any nuclear attack with materials from them, even when stolen, comes back to them getting blamed in the end. In the mean time lets beef up our relations with India. Or maybe not. If the Obama admin stays true to form, they would throw them under the bus like they have done so far with every one of our allies.
As I suspected and as the news hinted, it now looks like we finally got Osama because the US went at it alone instead of telling the Pakistanis we were going after him as was the case in the past. That’s because the Pakistanis were actually playing us and helping him.
American diplomats were told that one of the key reasons why they had failed to find bin Laden was that Pakistan’s security services tipped him off whenever US troops approached. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID) also allegedly smuggled al-Qaeda terrorists through airport security to help them avoid capture and sent a unit into Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban.
The claims, made in leaked US government files obtained by Wikileaks, will add to questions over Pakistan’s capacity to fight al-Qaeda. Last year, David Cameron caused a diplomatic furore when he told Pakistan that it could not “look both ways” on terrorism. The Pakistani government issued a strongly-worded rebuttal.
But bin Laden was eventually tracked down and killed in compound located just a few hundred yards from Pakistan’s prestigious military academy in Abbotabad. The raid by elite US troops was kept secret from the government of Pakistan. Only a tight circle within the Obama Administration knew of the operation. In December 2009, the government of Tajikistan warned the United States that efforts to catch bin Laden were being thwarted by corrupt Pakistani spies.
Explains why the guy was so effective at hiding out for so long, despite our major effort to find and bag his ass. The Pakistanis played us, and played us good, and this revelation should reshape our policies and actions towards them. At a minimum we should stop giving them any money or aid. And we should be seriously concerned that so many in the military and intelligence agencies of a nuclear armed Pakistan are in bed with al Qaeda, a sworn enemy, that has repeatedly said it wants to nuke the west. Doesn’t this qualify Pakistan as a terror enabling state: our worse night mare? This is going to be one heck of a foreign policy problem for us. At least Pakistan now should be made aware that any WMD action by al Qaeda means we obliterate their country. Might serve as a deterrent, might not. We are dealing with insane religious fanatics and evil men here in most cases.
Think about it: how can we ever feel secure with al Qaeda having ties to a government that not only has sympathies for their cause, but has nukes? And what’s China’s role in all this? Pakistan is one of their proxies – against rival India – and I am sure China has going-ons there that are definitely not in our interest. Seriously, while the death of bin Laden is a big score, the revelations that come with it should make us wearier than ever that we can win this war against the terror enablers without resorting to a brutal “hammer them all down” approach. Does the west reach a point where it simply looks at the cost vs. return and decides that since these people want to drag us all back to a dark age that it’s us or them? These revelations are not good for anyone I think, but we can not ignore them. Looks like team Obama is going to have to do some serious growing up here.