Al-Qaeda's Intelligence Service

Al-Qaeda's Intelligence Service

By Robert Tracinski - December 2, 2010

One of the greatest advantages we have over our enemies in the War on Terrorism is that we have so much more resources than they do--even when you factor in state sponsorship of terrorists. What other power in the world could take a fabulously expensive, super-sonic, intercontinental strategic bomber and repurpose it for close ground support?

And of course, we have a massive, sprawling, multi-billion-dollar intelligence gathering bureaucracy, whereas al-Qaeda has--well, they've got WikiLeaks. Which turns out to be at least as effective.

WikiLeaks, of course, is not an actual al-Qaeda operation. It's just that it might as well be. WikiLeaks is a free-lance intelligence operation run by Western leftists on behalf of al-Qaeda. It represents the final step in which the Western left signs on as the active agents and supporters of the Islamists. They have thrown in their lot with the Axis of Evil.

Why would Western "progressives" work to advance the interests of the most backward, barbaric, bloodthirsty, and oppressive terrorist group on earth? Look at it this way: the contemporary New Left is against civilization as such. If their stated goal is to take us back to the Stone Age (and if you don't believe that, follow the link), then why would they hesitate to support the Islamists who would take us most of the way there?

And it's not just the far left. The New York Times is playing along by cooperating with WikiLeaks to release an in-depth series on the latest set of leaked documents.

A conservative watchdog organization points out the revealing standards of the New York Times when it comes to the publication of private communications.

The New York Times has taken an admirable stand on the potentially criminal release of diplomatic cables by the online "whistleblowers" at WikiLeaks. Said one Times reporter: "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."

Oh, wait. That wasn't in reference to the WikiLeaks documents. That was the Times's former environmental blogger Andy Revkin discussing the so-called ClimateGate emails.

This is not hypocrisy. There is a consistent standard: in both cases, the New York Times has acted in the way best calculated to undermine our civilization.

But don't imagine that the worst damage from WikiLeaks is the release of secret documents. That is a significant factor, of course. Previous releases of intelligence documents from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan revealed information about local informants and collaborators, who can now be targeted by our enemies. But a really effective intelligence operation doesn't just seek to obtain old information. It seeks to disrupt future activity. And that's what WikiLeaks is really meant to accomplish.

Releasing information about local informants is meant to deter others from informing to US troops in the future, for fear that they could be identified and killed. And the latest leak, thousands of private cables revealing our State Department's interactions with leaders and diplomats around the world, is meant to prevent these foreign officials from sharing information candidly with US officials, as well as preventing our own diplomats from communicating candidly with their superiors back home.

Essentially, the goal of WikiLeaks is to shut down American intelligence gathering and diplomacy. It is a highly effective counter-intelligence operation, in the cause of nihilism.

There are a growing number of people who get the significance of this case. New York Representative Peter King describes WikiLeaks as a "terrorist organization," while the best line comes from Sarah Palin, speaking about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange:

Assange is not a "journalist," any more than the "editor" of al Qaeda's new English-language magazine Inspire is a "journalist." He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?

I assume that Palin must have hired ghost writers and speech writers to put together some of the sharp comments she has posted recently at places like Facebook. (I say this because she is not half as good when speaking extemporaneously.) But it is very much to her credit that she has hired good ghost writers.

At least one other person has the right spirit. A "patriotic hacker" took down the WikiLeaks site for a while and tweeted about it with the boast, "Tango Down," which is apparently special forces lingo for taking out a terrorist.

Meanwhile, Interpol has issued a warrant for Assange's arrest--but on an unrelated charge.

It goes without saying that if we had an intelligence system half as effective as what is shown on TV and in the movies, Assange would already have been grabbed off the streets of a European city, whisked away to a secret prison, and waterboarded. As a regular viewer of "Burn Notice," I'm very disappointed.

John Podhoretz takes up a similar theme in his discussion of the leaked diplomatic cables.

If the pop-culture version of the US government had any basis in reality, it would be revealed in these documents. These are, after all, written for a tiny audience of governmental high-ups, and are supposed to be frank and unadorned. If we were plotting to overthrow governments, or figure out ways to divert precious resources for our own use, such things would appear in these cables.

The cables do reveal a lot of lying and duplicity--but on the part of foreign leaders and governments. Elliott Abrams observes that the diplomatic communications of free nations, as revealed in these leaked cables, generally match what has already been revealed in the public debate--thanks to a free press and a parliamentary system with multiple, adversarial political parties. By contrast:

In most cases, cables are marked secret not because the US requires it but because those speaking to us--the foreign leaders across the table--do. They are not keeping secrets from us, but from two other groups: their enemies and their subjects....

Dictators and authoritarians don't tell their people the truths they tell us; their public speeches are meant to manipulate, not to inform. Instead of educating their citizens, as one might have to do in a democracy, they posture and preen on state-owned television stations and in state-controlled newspapers. Their approach is striking: Tell the truth to foreigners but not to your own population.

So in Yemen, for example, we see President Ali Abdullah Saleh discussing action against al Qaeda and insisting, "We'll continue to say the bombs are ours not yours." He is seeking to avoid the charge that he is cooperating with a foreign, non-Muslim power which is killing Yemenis, that he is handing his country over to the infidels....

So the WikiLeaks disclosures make interesting reading in London, Ottawa, and Tokyo, but in the capitals of some weak and undemocratic American allies they are a very unpleasant surprise.

Again, that is the real purpose of the WikiLeaks intelligence operation. It is meant to prevent men like Saleh from cooperating with the US, from giving us information they do not want revealed to their people. Worse, it might destabilize some of these leaders--in favor of more consistently anti-American factions--or it will cause some leaders to take up stridently anti-Western policies in order to counteract the revelation of their friendly behind-the-scenes relations with the US.

The only legitimate reason for a whistleblower to reveal government secrets--or private secrets, for that matter--is to uncover a genuine scandal. The only excuse is if secrecy is being used to prevent the public from discovering that our government is pursuing illegitimate goals or using illegitimate means. But so far, there seem to be no such revelations--which is the surest indication that the only motivation for the leaks is to hurt the West and support its enemies.

Robert Tracinski is editor of The Tracinski Letter and a contributor to RealClearMarkets.

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