We Are Shocked, Shocked! To Find Out That There Is Spying Going On In Here

That European governments are shocked is literally the headline over at CNN:

European officials reacted with fury Sunday to a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices.

The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions.

“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations,” European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations.”

The scale of the US spying operations is quite huge. EU buildings in the US and Belgium, millions of phone lines and data connections in Germany. But … on some level, I have to wonder if this is a bit of diplomatic kabuki. As I said before, I assume that our government spies on other governments, including friendly ones. And I assume other governments spy on us. And not always for security purposes. France’s intelligence agency used to conduct industrial espionage for French corporations.

I find myself agreeing with Michael Hayden:

“I’ve been out of government for about five years, so I really don’t know, and even if I did, I wouldn’t confirm or deny it,” he said. “But I think I can confirm a few things for you here this morning. Number one, the United States does conduct espionage. Number two, our Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans’ privacy, is not an international treaty. And number three, any European who wants to go out and rend their garments with regard to international espionage should look first and find out what their governments are doing.”

Spying on other countries is part of the President’s job description. To not do so would be a dereliction of duty. As I said in a previous post, even our allies keep secrets for their own reasons. And we zealously guard our secrets even from those allies (which is why Pollard is in jail).

Suppose a friendly country found out about a potential terror attack on the United States. And suppose that country did not want to reveal this information for fear of compromising a critical source. Would it not be the President’s duty to find this information out?

This is one of the problems I have with those embracing Edward Snowden. As time goes on, it seems that his problem isn’t just with spying on Americans but with spying at all. That’s not a purism I can embrace. Because spying is necessary.

Even on our allies.

Comments are closed.

  1. AlexInCT

    Someone should put a nice montage together of all the Eurotrash worshipping this empty suit they thought was replacing a cowboy talking then, and talking now. Heh, I don’t want to sound like an ass by again pointing out that I was sure that when the left got power they would make Boosh look like a reasonable man, and that has again come to pass. The left never disappoints in doing everything they accuse the other side of being guilty off, practically always falsely, and even more.

    And you bet your ass they were spying on everyone they did, not to protect us from terrorist attacks, but for political expediency. This is how the left works. It’s not accidental that you end up with the same shit that happened in the USSR and Communist China. These days they might not need to kill you when destroying you will suffice.

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  2. Poosh

    Should we really be spying on each other :( aren’t we all bros?

    That being said.. the EU is, what exactly? Spying on the EU, as opposed to, say Germany, is quite different. (Didn’t read the entire article).

    And suppose that country did not want to reveal this information for fear of compromising a critical source. Would it not be the President’s duty to find this information out?

    Didn’t your President compromise a British critical intelligence source just so he could look pro-active to the American public?

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  3. Section8

    This is one of the problems I have with those embracing Edward Snowden.

    I’ll admit I haven’t been paying attention to this lately. Did he start dumping this info before or after our government decided to make him all but enemy number 1 for no other reason than embarrassing them and notifying the public they’ve being screwed? While I don’t necessarily agree with him dumping more information, perhaps at this point as he’s on the run he wants to have as many countries not blocking his path as possible, and sharing more tidbits with them is a strategy.

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  4. stogy

    That being said.. the EU is, what exactly? Spying on the EU, as opposed to, say Germany, is quite different. (Didn’t read the entire article).

    I heard as much as 500 million e-mails were being “harvested” from Germany in one month alone.

    But … on some level, I have to wonder if this is a bit of diplomatic kabuki.

    The problem isn’t so much doing it, as being caught doing it. Now the EU gets the chance to flog the US for some tangible concessions in the next round of trade talks.

    And you bet your ass they were spying on everyone they did, not to protect us from terrorist attacks, but for political expediency. This is how the left works. It’s not accidental that you end up with the same shit that happened in the USSR and Communist China.

    This was the continuation of a program that began under the Bush administration. But whatever fits your theory…

    Number two, our Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans’ privacy, is not an international treaty.

    This is an interesting point. Perhaps there should be an international treaty on the right to digital privacy.

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  5. Mississippi Yankee

    This is an interesting point. Perhaps there should be an international treaty on the right to digital privacy.

    stogy, really??? More bureaucracy is your suggestion?
    Do you even bother to read what you type before you hit the submit button?

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  6. stogy

    stogy, really??? More bureaucracy is your suggestion?
    Do you even bother to read what you type before you hit the submit button?

    At the moment, the bureaucracy is still there – it just isn’t transparent or accountable. So let’s make it accountable. Same way as there is protection and accountability for international mail, trade etc.

    And I like the idea that the Chinese, Russian, Bolivian, Pakistani, whatever country and yes, the US governments should have to submit some kind of international electronic search warrant before accessing my data.

    If that means a little more bureaucracy, then I’m all for it.

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  7. mrblume

    Would it not be the President’s duty to find this information out?

    I don’t understand this argument at all. What is “the president’s duty” even supposed to mean? Is it like “a king’s duty?” The formulation alone reeks of imperial presidency. The president is supposed to be a public servant, his job is supposed to be narrowly defined, by his constituents.

    It makes a lot of sense that the peoples of nation would like to take steps to protect themselves against terrorism. Security scanners at the airport and starting wars that kill hundreds of thousands are both possible measures, but that doesn’t mean you get to defend both with the same one-liner.

    Justifying hacking into foreign diplomatic computer networks, of allies nonetheless, by speculating about unshared terrorist attack plans, seems rather far-fetched; and a good reminder of what a silver bullet just about any vague cry about “terrorism” still is.

    If it’s true that the NSA is not spying on the UK government, is the president derelict in his duty?

    Now I always wonder whether the “it’s all a big game of friendly one-upmanship” crowd would truly be surprised if the White House isn’t bugged, and would all be like “good one mate”, if it turns out that it is, but if so, I have no problem calling them crazy. This is no way to run international relations. I for one certainly hope that the Europeans are behaving like adults here, and have no trouble believing that the protestations are genuine – if there is silent consent, it certainly will not trickle done to regular parliamentarians. The point being that this is *not* expected behavior.

    It certainly makes it impossible for Europeans to see Snowden as anything but a man deserving of appreciation. If the US and Europe are antagonists, then the enemy of my enemy is my friend is a perfectly natural attitude to take.

    If the US can’t resist spying on the UN, then complaints by countries like Iran about the unfair nature of the international system get a moral boost. I wouldn’t underestimate that, because it matters a great deal to the naive simpletons that do not understand the great game of hide and seek. They are a majority of the world population.

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