Thoughts on information flow

I’ve been musing on the way in which information flows in international politics, and my musings have led me to a memory.

The scene is late 1996; the offices of one of the political parties involved in the Northern Ireland peace talks. Almost everyone is upstairs attending one of the pointless plenaries which took up the first year of the process. One junior researcher is minding the shop.

The phone rings. The junior researcher answers, identifying the political party offices that the caller has reached.

The caller, who has an American accent, asks for the party leader by name. The researcher explains that he’s in the plenary session three floors up, and it will be difficult to get him out of it.

Pause at the other end, and then: “It’s Tony Lake from Washington here. Do you think you could just give me a brief update on what’s going on?”

The researcher does his best, but is somewhat boggled that the National Security Adviser to the President of the United States of America is reduced to personally cold-calling random offices in Belfast to find out the latest news. For a start, why are the CIA not bugging us?

That was just over eight years ago. I am much less easily surprised by that sort of thing now.

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1 Response to Thoughts on information flow

  1. nwhyte says:

    Both Sweden and Croatia.

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