Friday, April 04, 2014

That’s how you know it’s not covert

Jay “Hey Rube” Carney explain how you know that the covert ZunZuneo program wasn’t a covert program, it was a “development-assistance” program: “when I say a program like this is not covert and then I talk about it, that’s how you know it’s not covert -- because I’m talking about it.” See, and you thought it was a covert program.

If the definition of not-covert is that government officials talk about it after it leaks, I like Edward Snowden’s chances in court.

Okay, no I don’t.

Rather than being covert, Carney says the program was “discreet.” If that sounds like a man furtively sneaking into a cheap motel room in the middle of the day to fuck a woman not his wife, there’s probably a reason for that.

Further evidence of its non-covertness is that it was supposedly debated by Congress. Actually, the covertness of an intelligence-gathering cum covert op like this is not measured simply by the level of disclosure within the US (and I would suggest that “Hey, we told the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session with everyone sworn to secrecy” does not suggest openness and transparency). Covert also refers to the level of disclosure within the country in which we’re operating. There Carney might be on firmer ground, in that after more than 50 years of CIA monkeyshines, there can’t be a Cuban who didn’t know exactly what ZunZuneo was when they saw it. Still, if you’re acting in another country without informing that country’s government, that is what used to be the very definition of covert. That Carney doesn’t seem to have paused for a second to consider that before declaring this psyop not covert tells us something about how the US government sees itself as entitled to do anything anywhere in this Age of Drones.

While this was, obviously, a covert action aimed at undermining the Cuban government, it was also an intelligence-gathering op aimed at discovering the political allegiances and interests of everyone in Cuba, but I’m sure we can’t think of any way in which that sort of data could be misused.

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