Sleeping Behind The Wheel of Diplomacy and Spookdom

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We’ve become well acquainted with intelligence lapses over the last few decades, what with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, CIA becoming aware of the Berlin Wall’s fall only when it was shown on CNN and arguably the biggest failure of all time, which happened on 11 September 2001.

 

The U.S. government over-compensated for that by devoting a fleetload (boatload comes nowhere near it) of resources to the Middle East and took their eyes off the African ball, which enabled the Russians and worse, the Chinese, to make serious inroads on the continent, so perhaps that may be an excuse, even if it’s really pathetic considering what follows…

 

For sure most of us know a story or two (if not more) about police and other law enforcement agencies bungles, ranging from humorous to serious like the Fast and Furious debacle, while stories of criminals’ ingenuity are legion. Still, how on God’s green Earth a bunch of Turkish and Ghanaian crooks could run a FAKE United States embassy in Accra, Ghana for TEN YEARS without detection is beyond me. Check out http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/state-dept-no-visas-from-fake-embassy-in-ghana-used-to-enter-us-20161206 if you don’t believe me, although even I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this story.

                                                                                         

Look, we’ve heard of, seen and sometimes bought fake goods. We know of identity theft, software piracy and theft of corporate data, but a fake embassy operating in broad daylight in a country the United States of America has diplomatic relations with going unnoticed by Condoleezza Rice, Hillary R. Clinton and the State Department’s own Bureau of Intelligence and Research? How does that happen?

 

For crying out loud, was the CIA’s Ghana station chief playing African roulette (six prostitutes, one of which has AIDS- pick one and screw without a condom) and padding his/her expense account instead of finding out this kind of thing? What about the FBI’s Legal Attache at the genuine embassy? Didn’t that dude(tte) hear of criminal investigations and source development (aka recruiting snitches) among local law enforcement? What about the NSA, DIA and other agencies? Were they plugged into SETI instead of doing their jobs on the ground?

 

This seems like something the Onion or Duffel Blog would come up with, but it’s on a “serious” news website and the implications are utterly scary when one considers what would happen if terrorist groups did such a thing and ignorant Americans strolled in thinking it was a real embassy, to say nothing of other countries’ citizens or U.S. spec-ops soldiers on the run trying to seek sanctuary.

 

Oh, it would be so nice to watch spooks and diplomats explain this one to the House Committees on Foreign Affairs and Intelligence- I'll even hand out free rotten eggs and cabbage to the audience and committee members…

Comments

Mark Klaers Added Dec 6, 2016 - 6:11am
This is the kind of thing that happens when an organization is SO BIG that it literally becomes impossible to track what over-lapping departments are doing.
 
Redundant departments make keeping track of something as simple as paper clips un-doable. I can’t remember the hearing, but literally the department head could not tell Congress where his office supplies came from and how much of his budget was being spent on them.
 
This is just another example of a multi-headed government organization unable to efficiently manage itself. And anytime you have this sort of logistical chaos going, a criminal element will move in. Being smarter than government officials ( the dumb ones enter politics so as to have “legal protection” from getting caught ) they know they are merely “needles in a stack of needles” and can hide in plain sight.  No surprises here, Mircea. We live this daily in the US.
Thomas Napers Added Dec 6, 2016 - 6:13am
As it relates to resources spent in the Middle East versus resources not spent in Africa, let me remind you that it was a Middle Eastern country which harbored the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11.  A different Middle Eastern country was not abiding by its WMD peace treaty it signed for attacking one of our allies in the Middle East.  I don’t know what the “proper” reaction should be for what these Middle Eastern countries did and were doing, but it should most certainly be a very strong one.  As it relates to monies being spent developing African ties, the United States trades more with Africa than any other nation.  Having said that, we’re talking about an impoverished third world continent.  Nobody is making that much a difference there. 
 
Btw, fix your formatting, this article is a mess.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 6, 2016 - 10:35am
Thomas, you missed the point, that is a fake embassy of the United States of America operated for ten years without detection in an African country with which the U.S. have diplomatic relations, and possibly a CIA Chief of Station as well as a FBI Legal Attache. A fake Gucci handbag is one thing, but a fake embassy definitely something else. Thanks for letting me know about the format problem, will take a look at it shortly.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 6, 2016 - 10:42am
Mark, I hear you. Still, one must wonder about the powers of observation of U.S. embassy personnel in Ghana, not to mention their university degrees, which might as well have come from Trump University. It's sad how nobody thought to query the nature of a building flying the Old Glory, even if it was just in passing, never mind getting on an official network to find out if it was a government facility or at least occupied by tax-paying Americans, you know? Scary stuff, but considering who was Secretary of State between 2006 and 2016, perhaps it's not that surprising.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 6, 2016 - 11:14am
Meikl, apparently NBC also has the story on its website, and it broke yesterday while I was watching a BBC series called Mrs. Brown's Boys. It's genuine from what I can tell, but what bugs me is the DoS comment that none of the "visas" issued were used to enter the U.S., which is odd considering people had paid thousands of dollars for them. I mean, the first thing that came to my mind upon reading that was "ahem, so nothing happened in Benghazi either?" Going by this, it's safe to say DoS, CIA and FBI ought to hire me as "securo-Nazi at large" seeing how their employees appeared to be related to Mr. Magoo...
Mircea Negres Added Dec 6, 2016 - 11:35am
Agreed, buddy. Still, I thought there'd be senior DoS officials being thrown out of windows and serious blood spatters on the main boardroom walls after this, considering the Secretary of State is a decorated Vietnam War vet with at least one kill to his name.
Billy Roper Added Dec 6, 2016 - 12:16pm
The attack on Pearl Harbor wasn't an intelligence lapse. Roosevelt provoked it and let it happen in order to drag America into the war to save Communism, which the day before most Americans opposed us getting involved in, after he had secretly involved us in all but name already.
John Minehan Added Dec 6, 2016 - 12:41pm
Up until the GWOT, we didn't care about Africa.
 
Africa was divided between EUCOM and CENTCOM (and did not get much attention from either) before 2005 or so.
 
Wes Clark (who was CG of 1st CAV when I was there and who is VERY astute) wanted to get more involved with Africa when he was a senior Army Planner, but it was just after the "Black Hawk Down" incident and even he could not convince anyone to get more involved with Rwandan Genocide relief.
 
The average American has some grasp of European History and even some grasp of Asian History but, generally, no real knowledge of Africa beyond Tarzan movies and National Geographic Specials. 
 
Additionally, with businesses that focus on THIS quarter, we were not too interested in Africa, that was going to take at least 50 years to develop.  Unfortunately, that started 30 years ago and the PRC has taken the change and we haven't. 
 
It is not too much to say that Africa is the Asia of the 21st Century.  Bright, hard working population that needs everything (including capital) but has vast natural and human resources.  We missed the party.  Oh, well, maybe we will be the Africa of the 21st Century, the sleepy backwater. 
Billy Roper Added Dec 6, 2016 - 12:51pm
MJ Added Dec 6, 2016 - 1:08pm
Mircea, I wonder if the story was even reported in the US?---I bet there are a few red faces today!
Billy Roper Added Dec 6, 2016 - 1:10pm
It was, not in the mainstream media, but by the Alt Right, so I saw it yesterday. If the Somalians aren't bad enough, we need more Ghanians. LOL
Mark Klaers Added Dec 6, 2016 - 2:51pm
Mircea, a degree from a US university is worth exactly as much as the paper it's printed on. What's that...ten cents? No surprises. They're centers of indoctrination not higher learning as evidenced by recent events involving students.
Dino Manalis Added Dec 6, 2016 - 5:42pm
Intelligence is never perfect, but we need it to protect ourselves against terrorists!
Mircea Negres Added Dec 7, 2016 - 12:19am
A theory about Pearl Harbor is the U.S. government was looking for a way into the war because the voters were isolationist and had provoked Japan through sanctions and such things, then dangled the Pacific Fleet as vulnerable bait. Japanese intelligence efforts were known and there was no CIA operating back then to even attempt to collect disparate pieces of intel from competing outfits like FBI, Naval Intelligence and so on.
 
The information was there though fragmented and from different vectors, radio intercepts, and even a sighting or two of the incoming fleet, but just as important, the Japanese communications code was broken but the information too closely held. Add to it naval bureaucracy (a warning of the impending attack was sent but landed on the IN tray of a guy who later said it wasn't his job to take the communique to the guy next door) and confused radar operators, and what America got was an intelligence failure at the operational level which the OSS (and later CIA) was created to avoid.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 7, 2016 - 12:23am
Meikl, I didn't know about the attack on Kerry. I think it was shameful, especially since the Bronze and Silver Stars along with the Purple Heart are definitely not awarded for crossing the street in proper military fashion or submitting paperwork on time. The man displayed a lot of bravery in the short time he spent in Vietnam.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 7, 2016 - 12:27am
Mark, a degree from Harvard, Yale, Columbia or Stanford is still worth a lot more than degrees awarded by South African universities today, but yeah, I've met plenty of parchment-waving candidates for the Darwin Award, including two PhD holders. He he, but the crooks had guts to do this for 10 years, I must say.
Mircea Negres Added Dec 7, 2016 - 12:31am
Dino, that's true, but they must have super glued their eyes shut not to have known about a fake embassy for a whole decade... What were those people doing? Driving home-office, office-whorehouse, whorehouse-home with a black bag and ear muffs on their heads?
Mark Klaers Added Dec 7, 2016 - 6:19am
The whole "Pearl Harbor was to get the US into the War" thing has one major flaw. No one could have forseen how a war in the Pacific would help England with Hitler in Europe. Especially since no "Non-Aggression Pact" existed with Germany and Japan at the time. 
Mark Klaers Added Dec 7, 2016 - 1:49pm
I stand corrected! On the part about the pact, that is. There was still no guarantee that the US would fight in the European Theater.