There are some little discussed, but distinct and immediate advantages to our nation leaving the United Nations as the failed political experiment that it has become.
Once we have left the U.N., it becomes simply another international discussion group if we declare it to no longer be a recognized international political institution officially hosted on American soil. This basic declaration disestablishes the paradigm of political immunity granted to the staff of the various member nations and instantly reduces their long-abused diplomatic rights to those of any other tenant renting space in New York City.
This loss of diplomatic cover provides some direct and immediate intelligence advantages to the U.S. It is a long-documented fact that hundreds of U.N. staffers from many countries and their allies are full-time intelligence officers, usually referred to as “legals” in the trade. Also well known is that a substantial portion of the remaining U.N. staffers have at least some collateral intelligence duties assigned to them.
Take, for instance, the documented soviet agents / personal assistants to the U.N. secretaries-general such as: Viktor M. Lesiovsky (U Thant); Lesiovsky and Valeri vs. Krepkogorsky (Kurt Waldheim); and Gennadi M. Yevstafeyev (Javier Perez de Cuellar). Less is publicly known of Chinese intelligence agents from amongst the host of other nations overtly unfriendly to the U.S. and those from nations often considered allies.
The diplomatic immunity granted to these full- and part-time agents allows them to act freely with little in the way of direct impediments to the conduct of their duties and, when they are occasionally apprehended, it is treated as just another faux pas. These intelligence officers run networks of agents and/or informants that engage in political, military, economic and industrial espionage and/or subversion against the U.S.
The loss of these positions forces the nations that engage them to rely more heavily on their other “legals” operating out of their embassies and “illegals” (those not having diplomatic covers) in trade organizations or using various legends (invented identities) as covers.
It is this sudden, significant increase in the operational loads of these intelligence officers that make them and their networks of agents and sources more vulnerable to detection and interdiction. In 1972-73, the FBI was able to detect and interdict the activities of three developmental agents (codenamed GREK, BREST and BRIZ) being run out of the U.N. Soviet delegation while missing the activities of others (SUAREZ, DIF and HERMES).
This same increase in workload per case officer may also cause the activation of “sleeper” agents to close the gaps in the manpower required to operate the networks. These are trained, but inactive “illegal” agents living under a legend who are emplaced for a time when direct action is needed. Once active, their risk of detection is greatly increased as well.
The gist of the situation is that we could enjoy a limited period wherein unfriendly (or formerly unfriendly) nations could have their intelligence capabilities severely compromised and provide for penetrations of the remaining networks upon which they would have to base, at least in part, the reconstruction of their capacities. It is these undetected new penetrations of their networks that could provide for longer-term benefits to our intelligence communities and strategic capabilities.
The long-targeted economic and industrial capabilities of the U.S. would also enjoy some resurgence of marketplace dominance. Russia retained much of its intelligence capacity and China has been ramping up its capabilities for the past two decades in order to reap the benefits of our domestic technological inventiveness to our disadvantage within international markets. The temporary reduction of their intelligence gathering capacity would not provide a long-term boost because other means to run their networks would be developed, but it would allow for a quicker recovery from our current economic troubles enhanced by the 9-11 attacks.
Certainly that would give more of us than just the spooks and the New York City traffic cops a real reason to smile.
Tom Marzullo is a former Special Forces soldier and a veteran of submarine special operations. He resides in Colorado.