Monday, July 30, 2007

The Gang Who Couldn't Spy Straight, Part 2

The Hamas takeover of Gaza left the Central Intelligence Agency caught with its tender parts in a trap, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

When the Islamist group Hamas conquered the Gaza Strip in June it seized an intelligence-and-military infrastructure created with U.S. help by the security chiefs of the Palestinian territory's former ruler.

According to current and former Israeli intelligence officials, former U.S. intelligence personnel and Palestinian officials, Hamas has increased its inventory of arms since the takeover of Gaza and picked up technical expertise -- such as espionage techniques -- that could assist the group in its fight against Israel or Washington's Palestinian allies, the Fatah movement founded by Yasser Arafat.

Hamas leaders say they acquired thousands of paper files, computer records, videos, photographs and audio recordings containing valuable and potentially embarrassing intelligence information gathered by Fatah. For more than a decade, Fatah operated a vast intelligence network in Gaza established under the tutelage of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Hamas leaders are expected as early as tomorrow to go public with some of the documents and the secrets they hold.

Or, as the Journal article sums it up:

• The Find: Palestinian group Hamas seized rival Fatah's intelligence-and-military infrastructure, which was built with U.S. help.

• What's at Stake: Secrets, expertise and technology are now in the hands of a group the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.

• The Damage: Though the ultimate impact is difficult to determine, Hamas leaders say they will make some details public and share others with Arab governments.

I suspect that the CIA spends more time gathering blackmail evidence against U.S. politicians to protect against being held to account than it does gathering actual intelligence about America's enemies to protect our nation. I could be wrong about this....

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