WikiLeaks Cables Show ‘Biometric’ Spying, DNA and Iris Scans
November 29, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—The leak of more than 250,000 stolen U.S. diplomatic cables, landed yesterday with both a thud and an explosion around the world, as a group of international media outlets, including The New York Times began to publish a series of reports on the sensitive communications between worldwide diplomatic outposts and the State Department. Besides the revelations that should shock no one, such as the government of Afghanistan is corrupt and China regularly conducts cyber warfare against American interests, so far, there have been a couple of interesting and frightening reports, including the Arab world’s support of military action against Iran and North Korea’s secret delivery of powerful missiles to Iran capable of reaching Europe. But the cables signed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her predecessor Condoleezza Rice directing diplomats to spy on foreign officials, UN officials and even Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is generating a lot of buzz. It’s certainly not a shock to learn that some diplomats routinely engage in intelligence gathering, but the bizarre details provided by the communications is receiving attention. Besides basic intelligence, the State Department directive expects U.S. officials to obtain DNA samples, fingerprints and iris scans. The cables didn’t say how.
The secret order to collect intelligence, called the National Humint Collection Directive, was sent to American embassies last year.
The India Express writes:
“The information Clinton directed the diplomats to ascertain ranged from basic biographical data such as diplomats’ names and addresses to their frequent flier and credit card numbers, to even “biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats.” Typical biometric information includes fingerprints, signatures and iris recognition.” [...]
“It asked officers overseas to gather information about “office and organisational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes,” as well as “internet and intranet ‘handles’, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information,” revealed the leaked documents.”
The State Department spokesman PJ Crowley dismissed the spying reports, as much ado about nothing, saying in a tweet “Diplomats collect information that shapes our policies and actions. Diplomats for all nations do the same thing.”
Crowley also released a statement, saying “Let me assure you: our diplomats are just that, diplomats. They do not engage in intelligence activities. They represent our country around the world, maintain open and transparent contact with other governments as well as public and private figures, and report home. That’s what diplomats have done for hundreds of years.”
The White House issued a statement condemning the release of stolen private communications.
“Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the US for assistance in promoting democracy and open government. By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals,” said the White House.
The whistleblower website WikiLeaks dumped the quarter-million private communications to presumably promote transparency, to highlight “contradictions between the US’s public persona and what it says behind closed doors.” But that rationale falls flat. No country should be expected to publicly reveal personal and professional assessments sent under secrecy from diplomats to their governments. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seems more interested in embarrassing the United States and creating chaos.
With the release of the secret stolen diplomatic communications, Assange left his wartime whisitleblower role behind and became an Anarchist instead.
Indeed, PFC Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with stealing the confidential U.S. documents and giving them to WikiLeaks, relished creating a sense of global anarchy.
Before the release of the diplomatic cables, Manning bragged to an online hacker about the prospect of global chaos.
“Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed,” Manning wrote. “It’s open diplomacy. World-wide anarchy in CSV format. It’s Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth. It’s beautiful, and horrifying.”
Photo Source: Wikimedia/Caricature of Mr John Delacour, Public Domain.