The Edward Snowden Saga in context: Part III - Spying vs Intelligence Gathering!

by Administrator 26.Oct.2013 11:43:00

The recent brouhaha around the U.S spying on the Germans and French (inter alia), as well as the Canadians spying on the Brazilians, brought about by the Edward Snowden revelations is surprising when one considers that spying is, and always has been, a normal part multi & bi-lateral relations. 

It is being caught that provokes the scandal! It is perhaps useful to put the inter-nation spying revelations in context:

  • Most embassies and diplomatic missions have declared (to the host country) intelligence agents under the cover of traditional diplomatic roles. Their supposed function is to gather raw intelligence, or clues that might predict future policy or events. This data is used by government to formulate strategy that will secure the competitive edge!
  • Multi-national corporations depend on intelligence gathering to stay ahead of the game – A forward thinking company will anticipate industry and corporate change evolution to ensure they are not left behind…
  • Intelligence gathering is the art of seeing what other have missed or what others do not wish us to know… This data/information is usually hidden in plain sight.. available for astute eyes/ears to uncover!
  • Spying crosses the line into a covert and often unethical/illegal discovery of what lies hidden…
  • Both intelligence gathering and spying are everyday occurrence – The objective is not to be caught. This is not only embarrassing to the perpetrators, but also reveals their intention/strategy direction. Once discovered other countries are obliged to make a diplomatic fuss – Inherently for public consumption. They are probably engaged in the same type of activity!
  • The worldwide Intelligence/Security family or network is a constant – Governments on the other hand come and go – As a sort of power behind the throne influence, these agencies brief incoming governments post election as to world state of play - This would account for oftentimes astounding about turns by politicians once they attain power.  Pres. Obama’s policies post attaining office would perhaps serve a perfect illustration of this phenomenon.
  • It is important to remember that intelligence agencies share/trade information,internally/externally as a matter of course!

Former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden shattered the calm that supports these everyday activities – Many of us are indignant because we believe this is an unusual state of affairs… others resent having to deal with the knowledge that personal details are under scrutiny or at least recorded…

Ongoing AWARENESS of what we let/might let walk out the door is the only real protection individuals and companies have! Conversely, AWARENESS of what other carelessly reveal is of great value in securing the Competitive Edge … nationally, industry wise, corporately & on individual levels!

For my money Edward Snowden did us a favour in heightening our awareness as to what goes on behind the scenes!

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