Tom Junod reports on one explanation of why the administration insists on non-transparency about targeted killings: prior agreement with the country involved that operations will not be acknowledged. The article provides a more detailed description of the conversation and the circumstances, but here is the short version:
According to his source: Secrecy isn’t always the main driver here. Sometimes diplomacy is. “The requirement of non-acknowledgement” is. It’s very common for cooperation and consent to be drawn from other countries only if you don’t acknowledge something. They say, “You can do this, but you can never acknowledge that you’re involved.”
So there are deals — deals that have already been made. And part of the deal is that you don’t acknowledge the deal. If you do, then the country you made the deal with is obligated to do react, because now there’s been a violation of sovereignty. The problem is that there are a lot of these kinds of deals, because they are so easy to make. They’re a little like allowing a source to go off the record in journalism. If the source asks, Can I go off the record?, you’ll say, Of course you can, because you want the source to talk. It’s the same in statecraft. You make the deal because you want there to be a deal….
10 months ago
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