Tale of leaked US intelligence documents - GulfToday

Tale of leaked US intelligence documents

The CIA logo at the entrance of the intelligence office. (Image via Twitter)

The CIA logo sits at the entrance of CIA's headquarters in Washington. (Image via Twitter)"

Two separate incidents, one concerning South Korea, and the other concerning Israel, showed leaked United States intelligence reports about South Korea resisting US pressure to sell artillery shells to the US, which in turn are to be exported to Ukraine in Kyiv’s war against Russia. This was reported by the news agency Reuters. The other leak revealed that Mossad was involved in the massive protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government pushing constitutional reforms to trim powers of the judiciary. This was reported by the New York Times.

 The South Korean government is to take up the issue of the sensitive details included in the leaked documents with Washington. Meanwhile, the Netanyahu government denied the role of Mossad in the protests. There is much irony in both the episodes. First, intelligence reports are not supposed to be in the public domain in the first place, and they are to become public knowledge only after they are duly declassified after the mandated 30-year period. Second, it is important that the public should know what governments are up to behind closed doors, especially in a democracy. In a strange way, the intelligence gathering in the oldest democracy in the world, which had become institutionalised after the Second World War, especially during the Cold War of the 1950s and 1960s, has been quite brisk if not always accurate. One of the great failures of American intelligence is its inability to detect the crumbling of communist Russia.

But the leaked documents show the fascinating inner workings of political activities in the US and outside. In the first episode of leaked documents, it is revealed that South Korea, a close ally of the US, had just refused to yield to pressure from Washington, and held on to its principles that it would not export arms to a country which is engaged in a conflict, and therefore it cannot export artillery shells to Ukraine. And it would not do so even indirectly, that is sell the shells to the US, which in turn will sell to Ukraine. Though there are various reports in the media over many months that South Korea has been negotiating with the US on selling ammunition, the South Korean defence ministry in a statement said, “In order to make up for the shortage of 155 mm ammunition inventories in the US, negotiations are ongoing between the US and Korean companies to export ammunition. This is under the premise that the US is the end user.”

And on the role of Mossad in Israeli protests, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying, “The Mossad and its senior officials did not – and do not – encourage agency personnel to join the demonstrations against the government, political demonstrations or any political activity.”

The key question that arises in the context of US-South Korea and US-Israel relations is that the US intelligence agencies diligently work away in unearthing sensitive information with the country’s closest allies. In the South Korean case, it shows the sensitive goings-on between the two countries. And in the case of Israel, it shows that the US is actively spying into the internal affairs of Israel. But both South Korea and Israel are not likely to complain against the nosiness of the US spies because they are dependent on the US for their security well-being. South Korea looks to the US to defend itself against North Korea, and Israel is dependent on the US for its survival in the Middle East, and for it to pursue with impunity its aggression against Palestinians. The intricacies of the relations between close allies that these American leaked intelligence documents show make for fascinating reading to understand international relations.

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