Monday, July 1, 2013

Sam, I Thought We Were Friends

Trey Smith

US intelligence services are spying on the European Union mission in New York and its embassy in Washington, according to the latest top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

One document lists 38 embassies and missions, describing them as "targets". It details an extraordinary range of spying methods used against each target, from bugs implanted in electronic communications gear to taps into cables to the collection of transmissions with specialised antennae.

Along with traditional ideological adversaries and sensitive Middle Eastern countries, the list of targets includes the EU missions and the French, Italian and Greek embassies, as well as a number of other American allies, including Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. The list in the September 2010 document does not mention the UK, Germany or other western European states.
~ from New NSA Leaks Show How US is Bugging its European Allies by Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger ~
Gee, this news would seem a bit embarrassing, don't ya think? As I write this post Sunday night, I am wondering about how the Obama administration will attempt to worm its way out of this one. What can they say? Will they advance the idea that they think our allies are terrorists too?

If nothing else, I guess it's a good thing that we at least are not targeting a strong ally like Germany. Oh wait, hold on a second. A news bulletin just came across my desk.
The reports of NSA snooping on Europe – and on Germany in particular – went well beyond previous revelations of electronic spying said to be focused on identifying suspected terrorists, extremists and organised criminals. (emphasis mine)
It turns out that the US government is something akin to a peeping tom! They spy on potential terrorists. They spy on innocent Americans. They spy on innocent citizens of the world. And they even spy on the leaders of their own allies. It is getting to the point in which a person might ask: Is there anyone US spy agencies and contractors don't spy on?

Now, I think it should be really obvious why the NSA and other US agencies spy on European leaders. It is not because of terrorism; it's more that negotiations go much smoother when you already know where everyone else is coming from. When you can see the cards everyone else is holding, it makes it that much easier to place winning bets. It also makes it far easier to blackmail folks.

In essence, while members of the US government like to talk about the rule of law and good faith negotiations, our leaders apparently don't believe in either. Like a mafia organization, we like to win any game we enter and the best way to guarantee that sort of outcome is to cheat.

Cheating your enemies is par for the course. But cheating your best buddies? That's darn audacious, but not very good form!

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