What is the deal with the current email scandal? Arguably, it is not entirely what it seems.
There are two levels to this scandal. The first level is more superficial, involving current and former members of the current administration – as well as former members of the former administration.
It is being alleged, and sometimes merely insinuated, that these people mishandled classified information. In their defense, much of the crucial information was probably not classified as secret at the time information was sent along the email grapevine. Personally, I think that top-secret classification came much later, several years later in fact. At the time, they felt that they were just spectators, watching a train wreck.
Still, those officials who read the emails are certainly guilty, if not of a crime, then of falling short of the highest ethical standards. For them, “If You See Something, Say Something,” does not apply. That advice only applies to us schmucks who ride the subway.
So, what was in these notorious emails? Here we dive deeper into the scandal, past the ordinary question of “what did she (or he) know, and when did she (or he) know it?”
Various US agencies, departments and bureaus of the US government have described the contents of these emails as extremely damaging, as too harmful to make public. Above top secret. Wow. What they must contain!
Indeed, were the contents to be revealed it would open a can of worms.
One surprising thing is how many people already know, with varying degrees of detail, the basic contents, which include, among other things, two failed assassination attempts.
The first one was directed (on the ground) by a woman (not American), and the second was directed by two men (both American).
These operations were sanctioned (if that is the right word) by a clique in the administration, but actually initiated – and run – by more unaccountable types who span not one, not two, not three, but four administrations.
To complicate matters, this operation-gone-awry involves one major US ally and implicates at least two other US allies. So if the contents of these emails were exposed, there would be some turbulence in other countries.
Meantime, when several rival governments gathered the information, they did not reveal it. Instead, two of these rival governments did nothing, and the third, supposedly a sworn enemy of America, used the info as a negotiating strategy to win favorable terms and untold billions of dollars. True, there were all kinds of subtle negotiating tactics going on, and sophisticated diplomacy, but at the end of the day it was blackmail.
Meantime, the intelligence services of two major superpowers, for reasons of their own, probably somewhat understandable, went about business as usual. There are rules of the game that I know about (obviously), and there are rules of the game that I do not know about (obviously). But the longer one plays the more rules one follows. And they have been at it a long time.
But there was no need for either of the two superpowers to hack into anyone’s email to discover the mechanics of this assassination program. Ironically, when some members of the current administration first read these classified emails (people who are now under scrutiny), they were some of the last people to learn of it, among the world’s political elites.
At least one of these superpowers stayed abreast of the operation in real time, by means both conventional and unconventional – and might I say shockingly unconventional. You figure it out.
The other superpower intercepted communication between participants (also at the business end) of the operation – in February of 2010, a month before the Secretary of State learned of the… situation…
Now she faces her own dilemma. If she is ever indicted or prosecuted, she could reveal the scandal and bring down the entire house of cards. But then the paradigm would change. And she would never be president. And so she teeters on the edge of the dilemma.
So, if the contents of these emails are to be revealed, they will not be revealed by some intrepid reporter (that appears to have been a fatal move by one and probably three people thus far).
Instead, the contents would have to be revealed by the controllers themselves, by the backstreet boys who imagine themselves as guardians of the republic, but who are actually just goons with unlimited funds, protecting a sclerotic regime.
These controllers now face a dilemma.
On the one hand, if they allow the contents of the emails to be exposed, then there will be political turbulence and probably regime change in some western countries, with ripple effects from one end of the Middle East to the other. Certainly, things would not be the same.
On the other hand, if the controllers continue to cover up or contain (their word) then they will be revealing themselves as weak and cowardly – and exposing the system they are desperate to maintain as fragile.
This weakness would still be glaring if the controllers substitute the real scandal for pseudo-scandals.
There is also the cosmic question (in their world) of rule breaking. A cover up would violate their own declared rules of engagement, which apparently apply only when they are winning. The Hegelian dialectic torn asunder.
Thus far, these controllers have little faith in the capacity of the American system to adapt to changing circumstances. And so they prefer to fossilize the American body politic. Well, they seem undecided. Or divided.
Time will tell.