Briefly: Staying on top of all the US intel leaks is harder than keeping up with Taylor Swift’s album release schedule (we’re still back at Folklore). But here are some recent revelations that caught our eye (about US intel, not Tay Tay).
- 🇷🇺Only 1% of Russian social media bots are detected,according to intercepted conversations between Russian officials. Russia has used bots to spread disinformation about Ukraine and vaccines.
- 🇺🇳 The US eavesdropped on UN chief António Guterres, including when he described being “really pissed off” about a surprise public ceremony sprung on him by Ukrainian president Zelensky.
- 🇪🇬 Egypt nearly provided Russia with lethal aid, but agreed to arm Ukraine instead after US pressure. The Egyptian president had hoped to keep the Russia plan a secret “to avoid problems with the West.”
Intrigue’s take: In this day and age, spying is a little like waving at someone who wasn’t actually waving at you: everyone does it, but it’s still embarrassing when you get caught.
But as the UN itself has stated, arguably the most embarrassing aspect of all this is how the leaks happened in the first place: via such a junior US official, privy to so much classified material, and able to remove it so easily.
Also worth noting:
- Eavesdropping at the UN has a long history – the UK allegedly bugged UN chief Kofi Annan’s office in the lead-up to the Iraq War.
- Egypt receives $1.3B a year in US military aid, though the US has withheld some of that in recent years due to human rights concerns.