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Espionage - Tradecraft or Statecraft ?
Espionage is a very delicate subject of disquisition. It is one of the oldest professions that were prevalent even before the recorded history. It has been covering the domains that encompass every kind of human intelligence.

With the advance of time, the sources and methods of espionage have changed but one factor that runs through and through is the secrecy and forced privacy – a profession hidden absolutely from the public scrutiny. Ethics or moral philosophy of  a spy pals into insignificance before the national interests. A spy is one who facilitates the destruction of a potential enemy while a slice of bread is cut between them. To quote Oliver Cromwell – "There are great occasions in which some men are called to great services, in the doing of which they are excused from the common rule of morality."

The uniform secret service training syllabus, around the globe, includes the lessons to lie, deceive, steal, hide information, launder money and kind of other activities that would be certainly illegal for a normal citizen. They call these tactics 'Tradecraft' and intelligence officers practice them in all the world's intelligence services. Ethics and 'Statecraft' which they call 'tradecraft' are never made for each other. There is no such activity as 'legal spying'. What  makes it legal, are the interests of the state that works in the interests of individual for whom the State is formed. Espionage and war are always practiced in defense of the nation. That is the moral justification. World Society, as a cohesive whole, has not given the right to assault or murder the individual and steal from the neighbors. It is a game in the name of the Nation. Goal of intelligence often demand for ruthless methods.  It is a curious activity and we can discuss the process, causes and effect at different avenues, UNO being the latest among the last.

Following the above discussion, we found the most powerful countries are those who are deeply engaged in this adventure. A latest development when India had to summon the top US diplomat thisWednesday to complain for the third time about spying. In a classified document made public by the Washington Post on Monday claimed that Bharatiya Janata Party was among the authorized targets for the NSA in 2010 while it was India's main opposition. US administration has shown the audacity to include the BJP in the list of six foreign political parties - along with Egypt's Islamist movement the Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistan People's Party.

It is interesting to note that this news was broken by fugitive US intelligence worker Edward Snowden. "We have taken note of these reports of illegal spying by a foreign country's agency on the BJP and it is certainly not good," the party's vice president and senior spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the press.

The only saving grace in this exposure is that India is not the only victim of their strategy. Recently an employee of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency has been arrested on suspicion of spying for the United States. He was in contact of the two lawmakers who were members of the nine-person parliamentary control committee. Similar as it happened for India. The relation between  Germany and America were  strained last year  after the revelations of mass surveillance of German citizens by the US National Security Agency were made.  The surveillance activity included the monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

The news-broker this time is again Edward Snowden. According to his report, the man, who is German, had admitted passing to an American contact details about a special German parliamentary committee set up to investigate the spying revelations. The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it had invited the US ambassador to come for talks regarding the matter, and asked him to help deliver a swift explanation. Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said: "We don't take the matter of spying for foreign intelligence agencies lightly."

Is there a silver lining to these dark clouds? Yes, but a flimsy one. Now, belated but fresh, the former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton had taken up the cudgels for Edward Snowden. The powerful lady feels that Edward should have the right to launch a legal and public defense of his decision to leak top-secret documents if he returns to the America.

"If he wishes to return knowing he would be held accountable and also able to present a defense, that is his decision to make."

Snowden is now relaxing in Russia where he has been accorded temporary asylum. In US he has been charged with three separate violations of the US Espionage Act. These charges include stealing government property and sharing classified documents with the Guardian and the Washington Post.

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