our national intelligence, Prism and international cooperation
another uproar in Belgium about prism is that some think that our Intelligence agency should have asked its partners how it got hold on some information and if they ought to ask this before accepting this information
people asking this don't understand two things
* first you will never have any kind of cooperation between intelligence operations if they have to disclose their sources or methods whenever they have some information they are willing to share with you and there is nothing worse in the fight against terrorism and a bunch of other international problems than intelligence agencies not working together
imagine this ; while intercepting all the internet communications of your government we have discovered that one of your ministers is in fact helping Columbian drug lords launder their money through investments (measn that all the internetcommunications of the government will be re-directed and the keys will be changed)
there is nothing more sacred in intelligence than keeping your sources and methods as close as possible to your chest (but that doesn't mean they could do illegal things - it only means that if you want information it is most of the time very hard to know how the information has been intercepted)
* secondly you have sometimes to get your priorities right. If you receive information that a terrorist cell is preparing an attack on a nuclear installation (as was the case in Belgium), will you act on the information and get the attention of everybody who should be working on that case or will you put the information aside and ask first if the information has been intercepted in a legal and democratically ethical way ?
I am not a spy nor working with spies but I don't expect from the spybusiness to be an ethical business. They are doing the most dirty and illegal (but covered) jobs around. The main question is how to control and supervise them so their operations do not endanger our democratic and private rights and they don't become too powerful and only use their enormous powers when it is necessarily and not to develop a nanny state in which some-one looks over our shoulder all the time to see what we are doing