A revealing page-one article in [Thursday's] New York Times (“Tap on Merkel Provides Peek a Vast Spy Net”) reports on how the NSA’s global spying program, dating back at least to early in the Bush/Cheney administration, was vacuuming up the phone conversations (and no doubt later the internet communications) of not just leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, but opposition leader Merkel before her party took power in Germany.
As the Times puts it, the phone monitoring, which actually dates back to the Cold War Era before 1990, “is hardly limited to the 35 leaders of countries like Germany, and also includes their top aides and the heads of opposing parties.”
That’s pretty far-reaching, and the paper says that it has learned, primarily courtesy of revelations from the documents released by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, that the spying went even beyond that, to target up-and-coming potential leaders of so-called “friendly states.”
But the Times buys without question the explanation offered by professional liar James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence and ultimate head of the embattled National Security Agency, that the NSA’s spying on leaders and potential was and is and has been, first of all, well known to presidents, and secondly that its purpose was simply to see “if what they’re saying gels with what’s actually going on, as well as how other countries’ policies “impact us across a whole range of issues.”
That’s pretty broad. The first explanation is really a euphemistic way of saying the NSA wants to see if American’s purported friends and allies are lying. The second is a euphemistic way of saying that the US is spying to gain inside information about its allies’ political goals and strategies, and probably their negotiating positions on things like trade treaties, international regulations, etc.
What the Times does not ask in its entire report on this spying program on leaders and potential leaders is whether there could be another motive for this extraordinary spying campaign on leaders: blackmail.
How else to explain the remarkably tepid response from the leaders who are the victims of this spying by the NSA on their private communications? How else to explain Europe’s unwillingness to grant sanctuary to Snowden, who after all has allowed them to know about the perfidy of the US? How else to explain Europe’s supine acquiescence to the US in its criminal wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, and its unquestioning support of Israel?
Nor does the Times ask the next obvious question, which is: If the NSA is spying on foreign leaders so widely and thoroughly, actually recording the conversations, not just the numbers being called, and submitting the recordings to keyword searches, isn’t it likely doing the same thing to leaders in the US? And if it is possible to imagine that the NSA is enabling the blackmailing of foreign leaders, isn’t it equally possible that the same thing is going on domestically?
Following that line of thinking, we should next ponder who would be doing the blackmailing? There has been some suggestion from the White House that the president “didn’t know” about the spying on Merkel and other leaders. Clapper and NSA Director Keith Alexander have denied that the president was kept in the dark about its spying on leaders of friendly nations, but both men are known to be liars regarding the NSA’s actions. Clapper indeed was forced to admit that he lied to Congress -- and right there we have prima facie evidence that the NSA has been blackmailing members of Congress, or at least that the members of Congress think they are vulnerable to blackmail. This is because despite Clapper’s outrageous offense of lying to the Congress about his agency’s massive spying program, not one member of either Senate or House, or of the two Congressional Intelligence Committees, has called for a contempt resolution against him.
How can that be? Members of Congress routinely cite or threaten to cite sports figures for contempt of Congress for lying to senators or representatives about their steroid use, and yet when the head of the nation’s spying organization network lies about an unprecedentedly huge spying operation, they just let it pass?
There has to be a reason for such cowardice in the face of such an institutional insult.
~ from Is NSA Spying Really About Blackmail? by Dave Lindorff ~
Leave it to a journalist like Dave Lindorff to ask some of the obvious question unasked by the mainstream media. Come to think of it, I raised similar questions about members of Congress awhile back too!
It shouldn't take a brainiac to figure out that something is going on that either we aren't being told about or the mainstream media is not looking into. While it is readily apparent that certain elements within the US government want to have a leg up in every negotiation -- insider information -- it should also be readily apparent that this kind of information provides the perfect scenario for blackmail and, concurrently, intimidation.
This is a point I have raised on more than one occasion. If the NSA is hoovering up information willy nilly, it stands to reason that some of that information pertains to members of the elite. Not only do US spy agencies have the capability to figure out who you and I text or skype with, but they must also know what members of Congress are discussing with staff and amongst themselves PLUS they must know what Wall Street is up to at any given moment.
For all we know, the NSA may be spying on the US Supreme Court! What's next? Might they also be tapping into the thoughts of God?