The Fourth Eye

Transatlantic Intelligence and Security Cooperation

Aldrich, R. J. (2004). “Transatlantic intelligence and security cooperation.” International Affairs 80(4): 731.

There is confusion between the distinct subjects of secrecy, privacy and anonymity.


  • “Intelligence and security services, as their name implies, are designed to provide a supporting ‘service’ to other operational and policy mechanism.
  • Secret services are primarily focused on prevention and counter action, and that material unlikely to be in the public domain, unlike police intelligence or military intelligence.
  • “However, proportionality is now an increasingly difficult concept to apply in the face of a new kind of terror, which has no upper limit. In the face of the threat of a strategic terrorist attack, the difficult question to answer is, how much surveillance is enough?” p. 734
  • ‘nevertheless the preservation of the boundary between the public and the private is at the core of what defines the liberal state.” P. 736
  • “Intelligence exchange between these organisations is a world within a world, governed by its own diplomacy and characterized by elaborate agreements, understanding and treaties. The main substance of these agreements focuses upon the security of intelligence rather than intelligence exchange itself, and reflects concern over how that negligence will be circulate within each national system. This, in turn, fosters an attitude of intense caution towards the idea of sharing, and especially towards multilateral sharing.” P 737
  • “Sharing in this realm between the US, the UK, Australia and Canada is so complete that national product is often indistinguishable.
  • Club of Berne, 17 members, European intel
  • Myriad complex interfaces with the many competing American agencies. “The American intelligence community has long been noted for its lack of communal identity. Ingrained reluctance to share, together with compatible data system, was a key factor in explain intelligence problems preceding 9/11” p. 741
  • “Some of the most recent EU-US agreements have permitted too much access to personal data by categories of offices that are extremely widely defined. This is a substantial threat to privacy that points to future trouble.: p 742 Sharing police info, travel info, commercial data, “draconian data retention laws” biometric technology, photos, fingerprints. “Despite the creation of new frameworks for cooperation and better electronic databases of targeted persons, this work remains complex, detailed and slow.” P 744
  • border control
  • Joint Vision 2020 has an objective of creating a ‘networked battlespace’ in which ‘information dominance’ has been fully achieved. P. 745
  • “networked battlespace’ characterized by extensive use of pilotless aircraft with real-time video and sigint packages.
  • “It’s dedicated to information warfare in two other respects. The first is information warfare as psychological operations, including flying television broadcast systems whose C-130 aircraft ear the eye catching logo, “we fire electrons not bullets”…The second is ‘netwar’ defined as electronic attacks by one set of computers upon another. Both of these aspects of information warfare are intelligence-related.” P 746
  • C4I – command, control, communications, computers and intelligence)
  • “Currently, decisions as to whether the US acts unilaterally or multilaterally are still partly political; in ten years’ time they will be largely determined by technology.” P. 745
  • “a corrupt version of the former KGB has remained in place.” P. 748
  • “These people do not negotiate, they do not have a platform, they do not have a political stance that we can talk to them about, and they do not have fear of prosecution or punishment.” Terrorists like Aum Shin Rikyo cult, radicalized mujahedin. “However, western security agencies do not agree on their broad analysis of the ‘drivers’ of the new terrorism…. American intelligence agencies have always preferred to focus on a single homogenous opponent. For this reason, the American intelligence community found the shift to the post-Cold War era particularly disconcerting and dealt with it spectacularly badly.” P.750
  • “A globalizing world is less amendable to state-based security agencies.” P. 751
  • “It is essential that ways are discovered to share precise information rapidly and confidently, without inundating partners with torrents of useless data.”
  • “Michael Herman has sagely remarked that in the field of intelligence, ‘international exchanges are a necessity for international society.”

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