I love the NSA. It's like having a secret fan-base you will never see, but they're there, watching everything you write and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that I may be some person's only form of unconstitutional entertainment one night.
Anyone surprised by this is, frankly, naive.
This has only been going on for 5,000 years.
But if this came out in 2005, it would have been a media circle-jerk. Today, it's a blurb after the entertainment news.
I'm not sure that many in the American public fully understand the gravity of the possible activities directed at leading strategic allies. The relationship is one that has been forged over time from a combination of shared interests and an accumulation of mutual trust. Without sufficient trust, collaboration can wither except to the point where critical interests require it. Such a diminished relationship would not be anything close to that which currently prevails. Gone would be the warmth and sense of community that have greatly benefited countries and peoples on both sides of the Atlantic. In its place, would be a colder businesslike relationship based on interests, alone.
Secretary of State Kerry understands the risks. Not surprisingly, he has tried to downplay the activities as being within the norms of what is customary. In addition, resorting to a timeless diplomatic device for buying time, he has stated that he is not familiar with the details of the first Der Spiegel report of the issue, even as that report has been out for more than 24 hours.
Nevertheless, events continue to unfold. The EU will now be sweeping its "premises" and computer systems. Germany has summoned the U.S. Ambassador. Some European legislators want to suspend discussions aimed at reaching a major trans-Atlantic trade accord.
If the Der Spiegel reports are accurate, the activities would be anything but customary. Their scope could well be unprecedented. At a minimum, those activities would extend far beyond the realm of counterterrorism on which the NSA program was authorized. Those activities would also suggest that the U.S. government has evolved across two Administrations--one Republican and one Democratic--into a worldview of distrust from which even leading strategic allies are not spared (excepting four 2nd-level NSA partners: UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).
That would be an unhealthy outcome, as it would have fundamental implications for bilateral and international cooperation, not just from key allies, but also prospective partners. The losses from reduced cooperation would very likely outweigh any of the perceived benefits of the activities described by Der Spiegel.
Hopefully, the Der Spiegel articles (as more are being published) are not accurate. If they are, it is very troubling. Those activities would have potential profound implications that could, at least temporarily, dent U.S. strategic relationships and undermine possibilities for cooperation with many other countries.
Building on the point of the gravity of the matter, Reuters is now carrying the following banner: Breaking News: U.S. will provide all information that European allies want regarding spying allegations: Obama
Given the profound implications, I am not surprised that the White House would take such a sweeping posture. The value of the strategic relationships involved is vastly greater than any of the possible benefits derived from the alleged activities. Doing anything less risked undermining critical U.S. interests. This is a welcome development.
NSA warrantless surveillance (2001
CNN.com - Bush*says he signed NSA wiretap order - Dec 17, 2005
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Last edited by Hatuey; 07-01-13 at 10:48 AM.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK