Transatlantic intelligence and security cooperation

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Aldrich, Richard J. (2004)

Despite recent advances in transatlantic intelligence and security cooperation, significant problems remain. The bombings in Madrid in March 2004 have demonstrated how terrorists and criminals can continue to exploit the limits of hesitant or partial exchange to dangerous effect. Intelligence and security cooperation remain problematic because of the fundamental tension between an increasingly networked world, which is ideal terrain for the new religious terrorism, and highly compartmentalized national intelligence gathering. If cooperation is to improve, we require a better mutual understanding about the relationship between privacy and security to help us decide what sort of intelligence should be shared. This is a higher priority than building elaborate new structures. While most practical problems of intelligence exchange are ultimately resolvable, the challenge of agreeing what the intelligence means in broad terms is even more problematic. The last section of this article argues that shared NATO intelligence estimates would be difficult to achieve and of doubtful value.
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