How many people read the News of the World tabloid newspaper ? Quite a lot on Sundays, when the weekly paper edition is published . How many people read the News of the World's multi-authored "politics blog" on a Saturday ? At guess, hardly anyone at all.
Even the usual blog search engines do not seem to pay much attention to that newspaper blog.
However, when an online article published on the Saturday is picked up by a "real political blogger", in this case Iain Dale, then other bloggers and commentators (and the search engines) will take note. This precisely the opposite of the usual information relationship between newspapers and bloggers.
This particular News of the World blog article seems to scream "disinformation", and deserves some sceptical comment, which will end up in the search engines for posterity.
News of the World
CIA freeze intel over Libya
Saturday, September 5
BRITAIN was facing the likelihood of an increased terror threat last night -- after America's CIA chiefs threatened to stop sharing vital intelligence with us following the Lockerbie bomber's release.
The Americans have already warned British intelligence services that sending cancer-stricken Abdelbaset al-Megrahi home to Libya has destroyed our "special relationship".
What "special relationship" ? The one where US politicians and officials blab details about alleged terrorist plots in Pakistan, which force the UK authorities to arrest their suspects here in the UK far too soon to gather any real evidence against them, like the mythical "gas limos" plot ?
But the fallout following the bomber's release has now worsened with the CIA threat to stop sharing information on terrorists gathered by their agents.
What threat ? Made by whom, exactly ?
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton seems to have obliquely threatened our useless UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, with something similar, at the end of July, over the Binyam Mohamed torture allegations High Court case, but that has nothing to do with Libya.
How could such a nonsensical threat ever be justified ? It would weaken US national security as well as that of the UK - which would be a victory for the terrorists and for other foreign intelligence agency enemies.
They have also warned they may not pass on vital information picked up by their sophisticated eavesdropping satellites.
The United States "sophisticated eavesdropping satellites" are run by the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency, for the entire US Intelligence community, not just for the benefit of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) alone.
The Americans are furious at the bomber's release -- and at revelations this week that the Libyans had been told privately that Gordon Brown did not want al-Megrahi to die in jail.
As are many people in the United Kingdom.
Now senior security sources in Britain have told the News of the World the row threatens to put Britain's security at risk.
This anonymous briefing of mainstream newspapers is utterly counterproductive.
Why should anyone ever trust such anonymous "senior security sources" ?
If the Whitehall securocrats were really serious about the "Prevent" strand of their National Security Strategy, then they would have a proper, much more open press and internet operation, with named official press spokesmen. and would issue press releases online, so that they could be found by web search engines.
Ideally they should also digitally sign such press releases to reduce the chance of forgery.
It is not a waste of time for them to rapidly rebutt stupid "climate of fear" stories, disinformation, conspiracy theories and rumours - it should be a core part of their mission to protect our society from national security threats.
Instead they still seem to be operating in a fantasy world which tries to ignore the 24/7 broadcast news and non-stop internet reporting and commentary.
There does seem to be funding, however, for the joint Home Office and Foreign Office
Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU), which apparently, according to The Guardian, seeks to monitor and influence foreign and domestic UK media and "non-media" sources of information, with anti-Al Queda propaganda.
They say American intelligence was vital in Operation Pathway -- which thwarted a possible UK al Qaeda operation in April.
Operation Pathway was an utter intelligence disaster !
14 people were held at gunpoint (a couple of innocent people at the University campus were pinned to the ground at gunpoint, but not arrested) , not in dawn raids, but during the early evening, thereby putting the general public at more danger than necessary, in a rushed operation brought forward because of the former head of the Metropolitan Police counter terrorism command, Bob Quick's security breach which exposed secret briefing papers about Operation Pathway to the digital zoom lenses of press photographers on his way in to a meeting at Number 10 Downing street.
Not one of the 12 people arrested has been charged with any terrorism offences, nor any other criminal offences, presumably because not a trace of any explosives, weapons, terrorist plans or money was found after their arrests.
How the CIA are meant to have been involved in the supposedly intercepted emails about a wedding, which were seemingly interpreted as a coded list of unnamed explosives ingredients, is a mystery. This farcical theory was put forward to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), when it considered the deportation of several of the Operation Pathway arrestees, who were not charged and then released, but still held under immigration regulations..
It also helped foil the plot to blow up an airplane flying out of Heathrow in 2006.
How exactly ? Which airplane plot was that ?
Surely not the rushed Operation Overt , the security theatre over-reaction to which, lead to the multi-million pound collateral damage to the airline industry, and increased danger risk to passengers (lots of baggage was flown on planes , without the corresponding passengers just like the Lockerbie Pan Am Flight 193 bomb), as a result of the farcical and ever changing bans on even the most harmless liquids carried by passengers ?
Patrick Mercer, chairman of the House of Commons' counter-terrorism sub-committee, also says: "We depend upon the US for much of our intelligence gathering. Gordon Brown must not let the co-operation be ruptured.
"To do so will endanger this country and its citizens."
The Conservative opposition spokesman Patrick Mercer always seems ready with a quote for the media, even when there is utter silence from Labour Government Ministers.
One security source revealed: "A large number of CIA agents are effectively British intelligence officers. They are doing a terribly important job."
How are we meant to assess the reliability of this anonymous "security source" ?
Is this an oblique reference to the Sunday Telegraph story which claimed that the CIA was running its own agents within Pakistani communities here in the United Kingdom, thereby sidestepping the legal framework of the Security Service Act 1989 (and 1996) , the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 etc.
He addded that the FBI had joined forces with the CIA to show the US anger. The recent public letter from FBI director Robert Mueller lambasting the bomber's release was written "because the CIA are so p****d off with us but dare not speak it, so the FBI are doing it instead. That is unprecedented."
Robert Mueller's letter makes no mention of any intelligence sharing at all - it is only about legal prosecution and justice, neither of which have anything to do with the CIA.
Tories stepped up demands for an inquiry into al-Megrahi's release after Justice Secretary Jack Straw admitted trade and oil were central to the decision.
Is Jamie Lyons, the Deputy Political Editor of the News of the World, being manipulated by his anonymous "senior security sources", into blaming the CIA for the Operation Pathway intelligence disaster ?