SAS secrecy policy is again shot down by allies

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

So who needs enemies when you have friends like the Norwegians.?

The question will have been raised in the Beehive – surely – after Norwegian General Sverre Diesen told Oslo-based newspaper VG the SAS would replace a Norwegian special forces contingent that had been based at Kabul.

The Norwegians had been involved in the arrest of “several wanted insurgent leaders responsible for planning and running suicide attacks against targets in the Kabul region”, Gen Diesen said.

The SAS would “take over” from the Norwegians, he said.

It’s not the first time our allies have published details of an SAS deployment while the New Zealand Government remained silent.

In 2002 Prime Minister Helen Clark was forced to confirm the SAS were in Afghanistan after the White House website revealed their presence.

The same has happened this time, and (as NZPA reported) –

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed New Zealand SAS troops are in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The location of New Zealand’s secretive Special Air Service (SAS) troops was revealed by Norway’s defence chief.

The New Zealand Government has a policy not to publicly divulge their whereabouts.

Mr Key previously announced the SAS had left New Zealand and today he confirmed they were in Kabul.

It was a “long-standing” practice not to reveal the location of the SAS.

“The Norwegians have publicly said that they’re replacing them in Kabul, I’m not going to deny that’s not the case, that is.”

So what’s the big deal about keeping secret the location of our SAS forces?

The rationale for not revealing the SAS’s location was often claimed to be safety.

But this never looked like convincing, to Alf, and he notes that The Boss said yesterday he did not believe the SAS were in any danger because their location was known.

More significantly, for the future of the SAS secrecy policy –

The Government was not trying to be “obstinate” and maybe it was time to review the policy, he said.

But he refused to discuss what the SAS would be doing in Kabul.

Whatever it is, you can be sure the enemy will soon find out if it involves engagement with them. There are no secrets about SAS bullets whistling around your ears.

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