Four of the five signals intelligence members of the FIVE EYES alliance are increasing their use of special handling caveats to deny intelligence to the United States—the fifth member of the grouping. According to intelligence community insiders, the presence of certain individuals within the Trump administration has resulted in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, known as “Second Parties” to the Five Eyes partnership, embargoing critical intelligence sharing with Washington. These second parties fear their sensitive intelligence could be compromised to a number of hostile and non-trusted intelligence powers with ties into the White House. These include Israel, Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Ukraine.
Suspected agents-of-influence for Israel, including Donald Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner, his son-in-law; special White House international negotiator Jason Greenblatt; and Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, have prompted the “FOUR EYES” to restrict classified intelligence that deals with sensitive sources and methods, particularly in the Middle East, and prevent it from being shared with the U.S. National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency. Trump administration officials who have close business relationships with Russia, China, or Ukraine, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, are also seen as potential leakers of foreign government-derived intelligence to hostile espionage services.
Denmark, a “Third Party” to the FIVE EYES alliance, is also steering its intelligence sharing away from the United States and NATO. Denmark recently joined two non-NATO European-only military alliances, the European Intervention Initiative (EI2), which is led by France, and the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), which is led by the United Kingdom. EI2 members also include France, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain, and Portugal. The JEF includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, and non-NATO members Finland and Sweden. Along with the UK and Denmark, these countries, all Third Party members of FIVE EYES, are limiting intelligence sharing with the United States.
Trump’s personality, which Malaysia’s nonagenarian prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed, recently called “mercurial,” has resulted in poor personal chemistry with the leaders of the FIVE EYES partners.
A week after becoming president, Trump insulted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a phone call. Trump said his call with Turnbull was the most “unpleasant” of all the calls with foreign leaders he took that day. The transcript of the conversation leaked to the media. The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), NSA’s Australian counterpart, has responded to frayed ties between Canberra and Washington by marking more Australian intelligence with the caveat “AUSTEO,” which stands for “Australian Eyes Only.” Other intelligence is restricted from the United States with the caveat “SENSITIVE: CABINET,” which means the intelligence is only available to senior Australian government officials and definitely not with U.S. envoys or the U.S. ambassador or CIA station chief in Canberra. The handling of classified information as “AUS/USA EO,” which means “Australian and U.S. Eyes Only,” is becoming increasingly rare.
Trump’s relationship with Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is more than merely frayed. It is bitterly sour, especially after Trump tweeted, after the G7 summit in Quebec, that Trudeau was “very dishonest and weak.” Canada’s NSA counterpart, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE), is marking more intelligence as “CEO,” or “Canadian Eyes Only,” as a result of worsening relations with the United States.
Only marginally better than Trump’s relationship with Turnbull, is that with British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump has dismissed May’s “school mistress” tone over issues ranging from tariffs to Trump’s support for British white separatists. In reaction, Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), NSA’s British partner, is now restricting intelligence shared with the United States by categorizing it with the caveat “UK EYES ONLY,” which means not to be shared with any foreign country. Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI-6, uses the caveat “UK EYES ALPHA,” to restrict the sharing of British intelligence with the United States.
Trump’s relationship with New Zealand’s young female prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is also icy. After meeting Ardern at the ASEAN summit last November in Vietnam, Trump, pointing to Ardern, told other Asian leaders, “This lady caused a lot of upset in her country.” Trump was referring to Ardern leading a left-of-center Labor-led coalition. Ardern replied to Trump, “no one marched when I was elected,” a reference to massive protest marches in the United States after Trump’s election. The New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) is classifying more intelligence, especially that derived from monitoring South Pacific communications, as “NZEO,” or “New Zealand Eyes Only.”
France, not a second party to the Five Eyes alliance, is also restricting intelligence sharing with the United States. More French intelligence documents are bearing the notation “USAGE STRICTEMENT NATIONAL” and/or ‘CONFIDENTIAL-DEFENSE” to prevent them from being shared with the United States.
In the world of Western intelligence, the United States has become a true pariah nation.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).