Friday, July 17, 2009

French Soldiers Posed as Journalists

Two French military officers, in Somalia to train Somali troops, were kidnapped by rebels and are being held for ransom. The two officers had been posing as journalists. Reporters without Borders has expressed anger that the French military used journalism as a cover for its activities in Somalia--a practice that puts real journalists at risk.

I would say that I'm shocked, shocked to discover that this sort of thing is going on, but it happens that when I served in the U.S. Army, many moons ago, the military intelligence outfit I was with had placed a spy undercover among American journalists in Saigon. It took about a week before our rather inept secret agent managed to give himself away (he didn't know the journalists' secret handshake). The French agents seem to have been captured by renegades within the very military unit they were training. The secret agent's life is full of hazards.

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