Does US threaten to expose gay affair even if "target" of personal information gathering may be subject to execution at home for homosexuality? What is most effective for national interest in end? Intelligence gathering at the UN of course is part of the job description of most diplomats. It is understood by the players. However, the method of gathering intelligence had been increasingly trending to conversations with others serving at UNHQ and other more informal exchanges of views. It has been a most effective way to focus on slices of information where technology has produced an immense amount of noise that then has to be prioritized and delivered to those who may be able to apply it. The exchanges of views made over coffee or cocktails may not always have the weight of sincerity, but they are more effective than the shotgun blast approach of reliance upon technology. It may be a two way street. War may be avoided and human rights more preserved by the delivery of the targeted message to a counterpart. “Spying” could be as much about what one says to engage in a dialogue as what one hears, (although a good intelligence gatherer should always be first a listener even when talking). “Spy Store” on First Avenue Of course, old fashion “cloak and dagger” is always present around the UN, particularly eavesdropping and surveillance. The “Spy Store” that openly advertised its many wares across the UNHQ on First Avenue should have been a clue to the uninitiated, (although my hunch is that this store catered more to jealous lovers and suspicious business partners as well as wannabe 007’s). WikiLeaks has now exposed apparent instructions to US diplomats at the UN to gather personal information on counterparts, from credit card numbers to personal life style issues, (that in end would most likely be turned against that individual in some form of personal pressure, intimidation or blackmail). Of course, that has been part of the array of tools employed by especially the big powers that are able to bottom net fish through sheer numbers and technology. Real and/or faked information about everything from political loyalties to affairs of the heart can pressure another country’s diplomats to become agents or at least provide service when called upon by the “handler.” Exposing the Gay Diplomat? However, this was not something that was systematically undertaken by higher-level accredited diplomats. It is not just about being exposed and potentially expelled from another state. Diplomats acting as crude spies on the persons with whom they are there to presumably interact with diplomatically may no longer be part of, invited to exchanges and conversations over coffee or drinks or just walking through the hallways of the UN. Spying on each other’s countries is perhaps part of the job, but diplomats will not be keen to subject themselves to personal inquest. (Another question is what will the US do and how far will it “pressure” with potentially compromising information: for example, will it threaten to disclose a gay affair especially if the target diplomat comes from a state that criminalizes even with death penalty homosexuality – a recent vote at UN just exposed how wide is the gap between cultures and national laws). Losing Assets even while perhaps Storing much Information Which brings us to perhaps the most important bottom line question, at least as far as national interests are in question: by instructing its diplomats to spy on persons, diplomatic counterparts, regarding information of a personal nature will the US State Department close the window on its ability to gather useful information about other states, their plans, intentions? Will the US at the UN squander opportunities to work with other states through their diplomats to build critical diplomatic/global coalitions, (from solid fronts to confront abusive dictators to a broader movement toward greater tolerance and open societies)? Will the US lose its ability to catch the nuances and deliver the hard message without necessarily always having to scream above the crowd?
OK to Spy at UN? by "mo"/ "Spying" or intimidation/Blackmail?
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