The pre-Iraq war and pre-9/11 performance of some secret
services is subject to harsh criticism and, in some countries, various
investigations. Governments are accused to have taken essential
decisions based upon dubious information. The different agencies are
blamed for inter- and intra-agency rivalry blocking the efficiency of
any early warning system. In addition, they are heavily criticized for
delivering the message their political masters wanted to hear.
We do not want to blame anybody. But we believe that it is
necessary to rethink the whole business of secret services.
Without knowing the details that obviously led to serious
deficiencies, there are several fundamental problems with the work of
secret services in open, democratic societies. In democracies, there is
often a basic mistrust towards intelligence gathering. It seems to be a
dirty job. Democracy asks for openness and transparency. People in
democracies do not like the work in a shadow. Scientists and journalists
refrain in general from cooperation with secret services. They are
afraid to destroy their access to foreign countries and colleagues.
Recruitment of qualified young people has become difficult.
Dieter Farwick. Internet: <http://www.world securitynetwork. com/showArticle3.cfm?article_id=9226> (with adaptations).
In the previous text,
"mistrust" is synonymous with distrust