tv Sophie Co RT December 27, 2013 1:29pm-2:01pm EST
most time around next full news update or not international between now and then though sophie seven ounces here talking tonight to a former british intelligence officer about the changing face of espionage is one after the break. although i have gone duck hunting a few times i've never seen the duck dynasty t.v. show but gosh if i heard about the scandal involving one of the stars of the show phil robertson who got suspended for making what many consider anti-homosexual comments in an interview this celebrity scandal is creating a lot of arguments about freedom of speech on social networks many people who believe that robertson deserved to be booted from the show for what he said argue that freedom of speech means that robertson can't be arrested by the government for
what he said but the any t.v. channel has the right to fire whom they like the thing is that if this situation were reversed and robertson was fired for making pro l.g. p.t. statements then people who are currently defending any right to hire and fire as they please would all be bashing the t.v. channel for violating the star's freedom of speech think cry that firing him would violate his rights and i'm sure some websites would make him into a hero or demand a boycott a closing of a and a forever very few people actually believe in freedom of speech for all they just believe in freedom of speech for people who agree with them but that's just my opinion.
hello and welcome to sophie and co i'm sort of the shepherd not say the internet has given intelligence agencies unprecedented capital it has to snoop on anyone they wish but it has also empowered whistleblowers to shed light on what's really going on behind closed doors is wrong with being justified if the government is trying to protect society and this is what we're going to talk about today. spying on phone calls e-mails shadowing people on their travels. the n.s.a. has access to the most intimate details of billions of lives never before has a spy agency the ability to track anyone a. cloak and dagger be replaced by
a future screen. the real james bond. is the digital revolution giving secret services to butch. and our guests today michael smith former british military intelligence officer and author michael it's really great to have you on our show today so as an intelligence insider what is your take on whistleblowers that have recently been in this spot like such as that sounds manning snowden do they deserve scorn or praise. are they. there's a mix of the two really i think the big one of course has been edward snowden and. i think that the information he provided was very important because we didn't know the extent of government surveillance of our e-mail or saw or telephone course. and we did in this country a couple of years ago the government tried to pass a bill through parliament called the data communications bill which would have
allowed to force communications suppliers providers to provide details of the balance telephone calls and such like. peas threw that out the parliamentarians through that and said we don't want it please ministers this is a prime minister of going into parliament said we need this bill when actually they had all the data already they were lying to parliament so that's some major issue there but more importantly of course there is this whole surveillance issue and how people feel about a government the prize in everything you do absolutely everything now but also we've seen in a document showing that the n.s.a. has given money to g c h q isn't that a compromise of national interest sense aren t. one intelligence service receives money from a foreign power. there's always been misleading since
a second more war between it is saying g c h q and i don't see personally i don't see an issue with that because obviously america to be very close our eyes. britain doesn't have the money obviously that america has to for these massive surveillance programs and interception of foreign communications i think there has to be a distinct difference between. a foreign in you for governments communication for military communication and of course for britain and america about. as long as certainly you annoy of being alive that's what you've been watching the russians and you guys have been watching us so that's a normal part of international relations and i don't see that there's a major problem there i think people understand that goes on it's when the currying
out surveillance of their own societies of course was something that went on extensively during the cold war it needs to block and we railed against now we find that we've been doing it ourselves. and when we talk about snowden's revelations as far as the british or american society go i mean that file is for a veil surveillance on a level that is precedented is that scale of spying really necessary i mean especially considering something like the boston marathon bombings isn't even use for. well this is a big question isn't it i mean some of the stuff that the americans have been doing the main way for example which is a collection of domestic data. including telephone cause was going on before nine eleven so you have to question whether it's as effective as they claim. it is you have to question whether it's as important as they claim it is of course all our
country is for britain america russia. china every one of those countries has problems with al qaeda terrorists and we have to deal with terrorists and. terrorist attacks various times and that's the major threat and of course the government has a responsibility to keep a check on it but actually if you look at al qaida and its capabilities in recent years they have diminished very very heavily. it is arguable that the threat from al qaeda terrorism is is much lower now than it ever was and it's highly questionable in my view whether you need such a person phase of surveillance system. i'm not making a judgment i'm just saying that these are questions that have to be asked and the particular of course the key issue here an issue in america is that. as it
stands these. these surveillance operations appear to be illegal under all laws so why is the government. why are ministers citing the worry saying it's ok because i've signed it. does of course make it legal if the president signs it off in america it's it's legal but. it's still highly questionable it's not be parsed by either congress or parliament in britain. i think that. the there are a huge question mark sort of of this should be happening in a way it's happening i couldn't agree with the m.r.i. probably more because they it's all passing under the blanket of the war against terror and i don't see how snowden's revelations have hurt counter-terrorism work in britain or in the usa right he has just said to the world they were all being
listened to. yeah i mean i think to be candid i don't think there is that the snowden revelations as they've appeared in the guardian or the washington post on the new york times or beagle i don't think they've had any damage caused any damage to security and i think there were a few minor things about the use of sources which. we had some revel a tree value but frankly the damage was done not when when the guardian published stories about edward snowden's leaks and n.s.a. d.c.h. keep surveillance the damage was done but edward snowden flew into hong kong international airport and the chinese got details of how they'd been doing what they did so that's the damage to national security for britain and america but over the years there's always been bees national security scandals and the
security services lead turgid services recover every country has had its traitor but also you've used the word trade area of the security services had there are traitors to know that i was wrong here i'm not i'm not right now i don't see snowden as a traitor i see him is rather naive young man who sprayed information all over the place where really what he needed to do was bring out the information that mattered we've seen large amounts of information slowly seep out into the public consciousness and very slowly over here much quicker in america. but some of the guardian's revelations of being really of interesting boring some of the being spectacular i mean only recently they revealed. others here is something like that
fifty or sixty or expose a from this. no leaks that g.c. h.q. would handle handed over the data every single british telephone call mobile phone id dead email identity to the americans that sort of information is is really damaging that sort of information is is having an impact in britain initially the impact was was very light people sort of thought well the intelligence services should be looking for al-qaeda terrorists but that is over here the extent of the whole thing has come out and people are beginning to question it much much more than they had previously and i think you know that in a situation where m.p.'s had actually rejected a bill that sought to provide this sort of information where g.c. h.q. was already providing this information to ministers to the prime minister i think that's disgraceful duplicity it's just the wrong way to treat the british people
it's the wrong way to treat m.p.'s and parliament which you know we we rest here on this idea that we live in a democratic society if you abuse the instruments of democratic power then you actually you want living in a democratic power anymore you're living in what is increasingly becoming what we're sleepwalking towards a dystopian society here because you know it's not just these telephone calls these emails that in incepted if you walk down the street cameras follow you there or your your car if you drive along main roads your car is registered because the cameras pick up your registration plate. your sat nav can be traced your mobile phone can be traced your use of data cards can be traced all of this can be traced
with just a few computer algorithms. away from a society where bureaucrat could type a mind i already want to name and get up a whole farm on those. and actually have what we would be told precisely where we are at a moment that's the sort of society the sort of society that george orwell wrote about in one thousand nine hundred four that the british citizen really wants to live in i don't think any citizen in the world really wants to live in that sort of society well here ask me why i call the big brother has become our reality now and we're going to take a short break and when we come back what a former military intelligence officer and author michael smith will talk about how the times are changing the work of secret services stay with us folks.
lentil . live. rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want. a little. so much more the twenty fourteen olympics what's this place like why is this so special as the russian resort prepares to welcome the world power the games in the city's present and future a lot more so to bring you this is the moment there we brought you from a very cold snowy windy mountainous stop here beyond the olympics. but. on our team.
now we're back with former military intelligence officer and historian michael smith great to have you back now you work with a story about the u.s. and u.k. intelligence community providing false information to justify the invasion of iraq in two thousand and three was it incompetence so genuine mistake complicity with the government's what did you conclude. what did i conclude i think there was. the problem with the british intelligence area was that it got too close to government in terms of what government wanted as the role of the the intelligence providing television that
was required so it provided the government with the information it felt it needed to justify the war when actually that information was probably not as strong as. the government wanted it the government then ranted up even further. by writing a big dot to the intelligence they published the intelligence in the dossier and they put it. introduction which which distorted the intelligence that was in the dossier then they briefed out the same guy. as the campbell who was mr blair's spin doctor briefed out to the newspapers an even more top version of of the intelligence so the intelligence started off reasonably worl and if it had been kept within the proper narcisse if it been
reported with the proper care of it it would not cause the damage it did but the but unfortunately it was distorted further up the line by the politicians by by mr campbell the political spin spin spin master for a paternity blair but sensitive problems here first of all in light of fixing the intelligence about iraq how can people in the u.s. and u.k. trust their intelligence services at all and what about the governments how do they know that they're not being misled by the secret services as well. well i think that in america the cia was bypassed really by the pentagon and you have to remember the pentagon has run at the time by wrong donald rumsfeld who was very very hardline very right wing. defense secretary determined. to use nine eleven to attack iraq from the very start so determined to prove that
iraq was a major threat when actually it was a major threat and we do have this problem which didn't just occur with iraq of course it's occurred. with libya as world where countries which weren't major threats we've got involved in wars in which we didn't need to get involved in at all and the intelligence was fixed. in america by the pentagon and by within the pentagon and the cia reacted against that and tried to fight against it and there is some confusion over the detail there because the cia thought that my six got some stuff from when actually they got some stuff right that stuff particular stuff right. m i six of course relied too heavily because of the political pressure from above on sources which could take the responsibility you
could not take that. did not have the orth oratory that they were given by m i six calling that you and a brit. well. it was where you start putting pressure on people for information then all sorts of things start happening you put stress on the system if you've got an agent who's paid money and you say look we need information urgently he then knows that he can get money for that information and so he comes up with any information he can it's not necessarily in his area of expertise he will have subagents suit people he worked to him who also work for money they will be under pressure to come up with information and you know the attraction of getting money for information means that the intelligence is not
going to be of the same standard that you would normally get from simple collection some of the stuff of what the iraqis were doing was nonsense and some of the stuff on what the iraqis are doing was true so it's. a good brought the intelligence services into disrepute in this country i don't think there's any doubt if i would just talk about secret services in general they seem to exist in a very closed and and accountable world there is no space for transparency they're right it doesn't imply transparency so how can they be kept in check. what. it's a good question and before the snowden revelations. i would have said the term you need you need parliamentary committees to look at them and you need sound . care for oversight from ministers. but the
intelligence and security committee has made itself look like a lapdog here you know we recently had a big to do about intelligence service chiefs appearing before the intelligence and security committee and all they did was come up with our answers to predetermine questions so they'd been told what questions they were going to cost and they they arts of them and they used they grandstand you basically they use the opportunity to say all this information being published in the guardian is disgraceful and it's causing a major threat to national security over time these committees tend. they tend to go native they ted to start feeling of being part of the system as being predictive of the intelligence and security services rather them forever asking questions i mean i'm a journalist you're a journalist i in my belief is as
a journalist the your job is to throw stones and sometimes you might be throwing stones at someone who's doing nothing wrong but you should be flowing stones all the time asking questions all the time. you should be saying yes this is one of one this is lovely and everything's fine because it isn't great and if you start doing that it will become even more. michael michael in that show what would you say is the main difference between the way secret services operated in your days and now. i think they have much more capability. technologically the ports around you the ability to do things the billet see to. find information is a big. you have to remember we were dealing with so we're dealing with terrorists on a routine basis of a time when there was
a major campaign going to want to discount tree we were dealing with broader you. with foreign countries and we managed to produce an awful lot of intelligence the guys know of. amazing amount of ways of producing intelligence i don't think they need to go into quite extensive detail but they are these current programs as exposed by snowden but has time to lititz intelligence ethics in any way. has technology helped that happen was anything off limits before that isn't now and i mean not technically but ethically. i think clearly domestic surveillance was completely off limits it isn't now. forgive me if i'm sort of harping on about this but this says to me is is a major problem. i remember. in my
time you we were operating obviously against your god tree. one of the things that we always said was that russia or nice to block was a surveillance society were people just could go about their business without government finding out about what they were doing now we find we're stuck in. that's a major difference i think technologically you know there is much more capability obviously but i remember listening in to german communications. an officer the british army officer came and visitors and he said don't you don't you feel that you're snooping orderings people well that was listening to east germans not listening to brits so. you know that's the major difference here now your book is called the real james bond is there
a place for people like james plant in the modern intelligence or is it now a death job rating emails i think it's overstated when people say oh this new role for the james bond that's not the case that will always be a front line role for intelligence officers. it's it's true that there are an awful lot of off intelligence officers working in offices either in london for us or in foreign capitals but that was always the case actually that's no different to what it was in the past but there were always the guys at the front line up where one minute left where is the main battle failed between spies now has industrial espionage become more important than the military one i would ask you to answer shortly. the terrorism will remain the front line i think but there will always be
intelligence. every as there will always be. russia and america and britain will always see each other as. britain and america see russia and the other way around. similarly china russia china or america. will be talking to each other the obviously other countries good evolve but they use all the threats still. michael thank you so much for this very interesting insight on intelligence services and how it operates that's all we have for today we've been talking to michael smith a historian and former british military intelligence officer and i will see in the next edition of said.
this is the media leave us so we leave that maybe. by the see motions to. play your part of the physical. issues that no one is asking with again they deserve answers from. politic only on our. jamie diamond is a guy who's begging to be euthanized and i think as a country is a world we should get together and answer his wish he wants to become one with his maker he says look i broke the law please arrest me i want to go to jail and be abused by hundreds of thousands of inmates and so on godly way that's my goal in life i'm tired of being free put me in prison i beg you so he breaks more and more
laws but unfortunately the law breaking becomes the basis of the g.d.p. for a country of like america and they can't put him in jail because i need him out there breaking the law so they can pay themselves huge bonuses at the end of the year so he's really is an existential crisis. the street. strategic leadership. team of journalists trying to release wiki leaks documents it's about zero the united states is trying. more pro-american counter peer. pressure. country blocks the way to information freedom. to. hammer braving the elements in order
thank. you watching on t.v. tonight protesters and police face off in the heart of his. corruption scandal takes the turkish government to the brink of collapse and crew was courting them. as the first syria's chemical. success we recap on the diplomatic achievements that prevented the u.s. strike on a war torn country look at how the civil conflicts transformed during the. u.k. government drive seems to be stuffing the wallets of the highest earners leaving no reason for those in a basic way to celebrate this festive period.