Thursday, October 11, 2012

Blame Canada, part 75

The naval officer (make that Royal Canadian Naval officer) who gave heaps of intelligence to the Russians, Jeffrey Delisle, pled guilty yesterday.  And it is times like this that I am not sure whether I have gone native or I am just reacting sensibly to hypocrisy.  Yes, the Americans are upset that a Canadian leaked heaps of stuff, since Canada is one of the five I's club: the five countries that share heaps (not all) intelligence.  These would be US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.  Yep, the Anglosphere actually exists (less important for Smart Defence, I asserted in London on Monday). 

Yes, it did damage US national security interests since the Russians learned more about not just what the 5 I's know about also how they know it.  But the US can hardly get too miffed given Wikileaks, which was a similarly huge data dump where a low ranking military person was able to search and grab whatever they wanted without much interference. 

Plus people tend to have short memories--the US has had plenty of spies in its own agencies including Aldrich Ames (CIA) and Robert Hanssen (FBI).  The Brits can hardly complain (Kim Philby, anyone?).  Spying happens.  Yes, these folks should be found sooner, but as the US learned, mole hunts can be just as destructive as intel leaks.  The search for spies can distract and can ruin careers, so again there are tradeoffs. 

The funny thing for me is, due to my rampant narcissism, how I react to it.  I get mighty miffed when the US is holier than thou.  Would I have reacted the same way before I moved to Canada ten years ago?  Probably, but not so sure.

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