Secretary of State Hillary Clinton needs to step in and dissuade the British Government from pursuing theBoston College tapes any further.
The attempt to bring the case to the Supreme Court by Boston College and others will almost certainly fail, as the relevant U.S./British treaty that the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals judges accepted when releasing the tape ensures the ability of countries to seek materials related to terrorism from another country.
The relevance of the treaties for, say, obtaining Al Qaeda information from another country is clearly highly prized, and the treaty is written so that there is very limited discretion for overturning it.
The British are seeking the tapes to see what dissident IRA supporters stated about Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and his alleged role in what happened long ago in Northern Ireland.
What purpose that serves other than to disrupt and potentially cause major problems for the peace process is hard to see.
The history ofNorthern Ireland during The Troubles is replete with violence done by all sides to each other. One of the most amazing aspects of the peace process has been the ability of all parties to move past those grim times and give peace and politics a chance.
Now comes an opportunity for Clinton to add yet another plus beside her major contributions to the peace process.
There is precedent here. Several extradition cases involvingIRA members in America were dropped by the British government following the Good Friday Agreement after quiet diplomacy by the U.S. government which saw the greater good in having those cases not pursued. That is clearly the case here.
The Boston College interviews were deeply flawed efforts to undermine the peace process, conducted by those, including journalist Ed Moloney and academic Anthony McIntyre, who are deeply hostile to Sinn Feinand Gerry Adams, with opponents of Adams who were only too keen to try and finger him.
How and whyBoston College agreed to the interviews under those conditions, given the political leanings of those who took part, is still astounding. Now they are belatedly trying to push a legal case that experts believe has very little chance of winning.
However, the political path seems far more promising. A quiet word from Clintonthat the Americans believe this is potentially harmful to the peace process and merely gives succor to those who oppose the process is the best way forward.
Given her outstanding work on behalf of the process in the past, there seems little doubt that Clinton could step up to the plate again.
Let us hope so.
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