Filed under: Intelligence, National Security, The United States, United Kingdom | Tags: Britain's MI6 and MI5, Terrorism in Yemen, U.S. Intelligence Community
Good news on the intelligence front has not been particularly plentiful. So when news that a new underwear plot was foiled, too much information was the problem. Former agents from the U.S. intelligence community are blaming the Obama administration for undermining national security and compromising the British intelligence establishment, MI6 and MI5.
Mike Scheur, former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, said that leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. “MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president, if he has the balls. This is really tragic” Scheur said.”Any information is too much information. This does seem to be a tawdry political thing.”
Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA counter-terrorism centre, in an article for al-Jazeera, said the spies of the US intelligence community “rather than quietly celebrating success are wistfully shaking their heads…As the director of national intelligence launches an investigation, he does so knowing the real culprits—in the White House and on Capitol Hill — are beyond his reach. He added “As for British intelligence, …they must be really unhappy. …The Americans are doing a very good jjob of undermining trust, and the problem starts at the top.”
It was clear that the information from this agent could have gone on for some time, when it was cut off by a leak. His intelligence was helping to target crucial drone strikes within Yemen, including one that killed the man responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. The leak appears to have frustrated a painstaking and risky operation.
Yemen has been a key target country for the CIA and MI6 in line with the growing strength of Aqap in recent years. But the lead on the ground has been taken by the Saudi intelligence service, the Mabahith, which is best placed to operate in the local environment and exploit links on either side of the border.