Friday 24 February 2017

James Downey: Fine line to walk between diplomacy and espionage

James Downey

James Downey

The US embassy in Dublin. The diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks and made available to the Irish Independent have given a valuable insight into the workings of the US mission in Ireland
The US embassy in Dublin. The diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks and made available to the Irish Independent have given a valuable insight into the workings of the US mission in Ireland

AMERICAN officials abroad are always intensely conscious of their country's security requirements and keen to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that they are not threatened in the countries to which they are posted.

That would be true of any nation's representatives, but the United States is a special case because of its superpower status, combined with the numerous threats to its own territory and to American diplomatic missions, military installations and industrial and commercial facilities abroad.

A fine line -- sometimes hard to detect -- separates diplomacy from espionage.

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