Thursday, June 14, 2012

US Expands Intelligence Operations in Africa

The Washington Post ran two articles on June 14, 2012, by Craig Whitlock on growing US intelligence activity in Africa. Click here to read the first one titled "U.S. Expands Secret Intelligence Operations in Africa." Click here to read the second one titled "Contractors Run U.S. Spying Missions in Africa."

German Radio Deutsche Welle asked me to comment June 14 on the first article.

I replied that most of the information in the article has been reported before. The U.S. military base at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti has been widely covered. The drone operations in Victoria, Seychelles, and Arba Minch, Ethiopia, have been reported previously. There has been considerable discussion of the small U.S. military support operation in Uganda, South Sudan and the Central African Republic to track down Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army. There have also been a few public references to the assignment of U.S. commandos at Manda Bay, Kenya.

What was new to me were the surveillance operations out of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and Nouakchott, Mauritania. The latter ended in 2008, although they may resume.

The only permanent base among these operations is the one at Djibouti. The others will continue only to the extent there is a continuing terrorist threat. To the best of my knowledge, the United States has no effort focused on Boko Haram in Nigeria and it is questionable if the Nigerian government would even request U.S. assistance.

African governments have obviously approved these activities, including drone intelligence operations. It is not clear that the African street approves of them. A recent study by the Pew Research Center (see item below) included reaction from the street in Egypt and Tunisia to U.S. drone operations and it was negative.

No comments:

Post a Comment