Hats off to the Parliament
Professor Ali Sukhanver
According to the New York Times, an ex-CIA officer Mr. John C. Kiriakou is scheduled to be sentenced to 30 months in prison as part of a plea deal in which he admitted violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by e-mailing the name of a covert CIA officer to a freelance reporter. The paper says Mr. Kiriakou, 48, earned numerous commendations in nearly 15 years at the CIA some of which were spent undercover overseas chasing Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. He led the team in 2002 that found Abu Zubaydah, a terrorist logistics specialist for Al Qaeda, and other militants whose capture in Pakistan was hailed as a notable victory after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 is a United States federal law that makes it a federal crime for those with access to classified information, or those who systematically seek to identify and expose covert agents and have reason to believe that it will harm the foreign intelligence activities of the US to intentionally reveal the identity of an agent whom one knows to be in or recently in certain covert roles with a US intelligence agency, unless the United States has publicly acknowledged or revealed the relationship.
In short this act was introduced just to provide a shelter and shield to the maintenance of ‘secrecy’ which is no doubt the basic factor required for a successful working of an intelligence agency.
Commenting on the working system of the world’s ten best intelligence agencies, the world renowned survey forum Smashing Lists says ‘An Intelligence Agency is an effective instrument of a national power. Aggressive intelligence is its primary weapon to destabilize the target.
The very nature of intelligence often means that the successes will not be publicized for years, whereas failures or controversial operations will be taken to the press.
It’s a thankless situation. Still, from what little has emerged, one can have an idea of some of the better intelligence services out there, with the understanding that this is based on incomplete data.’ It means maintaining secrecy is the basic element which helps out an intelligence agency in ranking itself among the best ones and certainly it is a failure of an intelligence agency if it does not succeed in maintaining secrecy.
Unfortunately, the situation in Pakistan is altogether different. Here the intelligence agencies are expected to lay open all their secret plans to the public and are supposed to be answerable for all their deeds and actions. It is a strange contradiction that in US unveiling the secrecy is a crime whereas in Pakistan keeping secrecy is a sin for the intelligence agencies.
It has become a very common practice in Pakistan to drag in courts the hi-ups of intelligence agencies as well as those of the law-enforcement agencies and defame them through media trial.
The people of Pakistan have a strong belief that all such practitioners are involved in all these activities at the beck and call of their foreign masters and their only aim is to demoralize the intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of Pakistan. No one can deny the forceful sincere efforts these agencies have been doing for the last many years in fighting against the menace of terrorism.
They never lose heart and hope though their professional skills are being harshly tested by the terrorists. They are very well aware of the fact that the menace of terrorism not only distorts the image of Pakistan as a sovereign state but also causes measureless damages to the lives and properties of innocent citizens.
These agencies are also well aware of the fact that it is their sole responsibility to save the nation from the cruel clutches of the menace of terrorism. But they could never be successful in achievement of their targets without a strong moral support from the entire nation. Challenging the validity and legality of their decisions and actions through courts of law simply discourages and demoralizes these agencies.
It is the most important need of time that these agencies must be provided an adequate legal cover and national protection through suitable amendments in law. A few weeks back, feeling the dire need of the situation, the National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously decided to pass ‘The Investigation for Fair Trial Bill-2012’.
This bill would provide the law-enforcement and the intelligence agencies a legal framework which would help them perform their national duties without any fear of being dragged into the courts of law.
This bill would allow them to tape the phone calls and watch the e-mails of the alleged criminals as part of collection of evidence through electronic means. According to this bill electronic material and the relevant data on the phone calls and emails would be permissible in the court of law.
It has ever been a very unfortunate and painful repute regarding the parliamentarians in Pakistan that they rarely show their interest in the issues and affairs of national importance; the Fair Trial Bill-2012 would certainly change this false impression.
This bill has conveyed a very strong message to the world around that the law-enforcement agencies of Pakistan are not alone in their fight against terrorism; the whole of the Pakistani nation is standing by them with all possible support.