The Limits of Spy vs. Spy

This year, on April 23, 2017, the Jerusalem Post — citing Germany’s Interior Ministry — published a piece asserting that “Germany is a hotbed of Iranian spy activity that targets Israel.”

Other countries Germany investigated included Russia, China, Turkey, Syria, Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Morocco.

On October 26, 2016, the Times of Israel shared the existence of files from Russia’s KGB showing that Israeli officials at the highest ranks were part of

“an extensive Soviet spy ring in Israel, encompassing Knesset members, senior IDF officers, engineers, members of the Israeli intelligence community, and others who worked on classified projects.”

Just about a year before that, on January 29, 2016, citing “documents attributed to leaks by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden,” Reuters (via the Huffington Post) published an article asserting that:

“The United States and Britain have monitored secret sorties and communications by Israel‘s air force in a hacking operation dating back to 1998.”

Meanwhile, two years prior, on May 6, 2014, Newsweek published an article claiming that “Israel Won’t Stop Spying on the U.S.”

More than 60 years ago, after World War II ended in 1945, more than 1,600 Germans, including Nazi leaders, were recruited to work for the U.S. government, in “Operation Paperclip.” The extent and nature of this initiative has been heavily investigated as is documented on the website of the CIA.

The effort was cloaked in secrecy. On June 7, 2006, UK’s The Guardian ran an article asserting that Israel’s capture of one of the worst Nazi war criminals, Adolf Eichmann, “caused panic at the CIA.” This because both the Americans and the Germans knew where he was for several years, but did not tell Israel — “they believed it did not serve their interests in the cold war struggle.”

That spycraft is ubiquitous in the world today goes without saying. It is an activity as old as time.

The question I have is, are we all clear on the global rules of engagement? Or should we be content with an “anything goes” mentality?

If we want to end physical war between nations, we ought to come to a clear international understanding of the legitimate ends of intelligence-gathering, and the penalties for broaching their limits.

“You don’t bother me, and I don’t bother you.”

Common sense dictates that respect for international boundaries also dictates respect for a nation’s inherent right to privacy.

All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released to the public domain. Photo by Couleur via Pixabay.

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