25 May 2017

Weakening our defenses

As the British police pursue their investigations of the Manchester terrorist attack and arrest the suicide bomber's unexploded co-conspirators, they have of course been passing along information to allied countries, including the US.  However, they have now taken the astonishing step of suspending such sharing of information with the US -- because US officials have been careless about keeping it from leaking in ways that undermine the police's work.  Information leaked in the US has included the bomber's name and photos of shrapnel from the bomb.  Even after high-level protests from the British government, leaks continued, leaving the police with no alternative to this drastic response.  The cut-off could conceivably undermine US anti-terrorism efforts, since supporting such efforts is the reason information-sharing is done in the first place.

To be clear, these leaks probably are not connected to the special ineptitude displayed by the Trump administration in so many areas.  There were similar leak problems after the 7/7 subway bombing in London in 2005.  But if Trump were competent, he would be actively engaged in trying to address this problem.  And it shows the kind of harm that can be done by the leaks of sensitive information that Trump has been responsible for, such as his passing of Israeli-sourced intelligence to Russian officials and his revealing to Philippine President Duterte that nuclear-armed US submarines have been stationed near Korea (the latter case is obviously not foreign-sourced information, but it's another confirmation of his general carelessness in such matters).  It won't be surprising if not only Israel but other allies, concerned about what might get leaked, cut back on intelligence-sharing with us.

In dealing with the multiplying scandals and investigations engulfing the administration, Trump and his henchmen have repeatedly tried to shift attention from the allegations to the fact that those allegations are being leaked to the media.  They'd do better to focus on leaks which are actually damaging international cooperation against terrorism.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

If this--and all the other actions of the Trump Administration--does not kill the "both sides are the same" meme or show in graphic detail why yes, elections do matter....then I do not know what will.

25 May, 2017 06:39  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

They'd do better to focus on leaks which are actually damaging international cooperation against terrorism.

But that is rational. Do any of us expect Trump or anyone with any influence on him will do that? My understanding of this administration is that, with a few exceptions, it is woefully incompetent and ignorant. The people in the administration don't appear to understand how the politics works, and that's all the more terrifying because of the know-nothing that is the head of the administration.

26 May, 2017 11:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Marc: I think the only people still clinging to that are the ones who are unreachable and always were.

Shaw: Of course -- I'm engaged in a kind of rhetorical wishful thinking here.

28 May, 2017 04:20  

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