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Alliances -- like the Constitution -- don't seem to buy you much protection from aggressive U.S. federal spying

As revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) may have engaged in a massive spying program against the EU breaks, allies are demanding answers.

I. Germany and France -- We're Not Gonna Take It

Steffen Seibert, spokesperson for Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, issued a stiff warning, stating, "If it is confirmed that diplomatic representations of the European Union and individual European countries have been spied upon, we will clearly say that bugging friends is unacceptable.  We are no longer in the Cold War.  Mutual trust is necessary in order to come to an agreement."

Germany's Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger echoes those sentiments, remarking, "If the media reports are accurate, then this recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War.  It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies."

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) with Steffen Seibert [Image Source: Reuters]

The spying leaks could not come at a worse time.  The Obama administration is working to try to broker a new transatlantic trade agreement, which would lower the tariffs and tax barriers on U.S. corporations investing in Europe (and vice versa).  Now that deal may be in jeopardy.

Citing documents it had "in part seen" from whistleblower (and ex-NSA systems administrator) Edward Snowden, Germany's top newspaper Der Spiegel reported on at least three instances where the U.S. spied on European Union offices.  Two of the alleged spying incidents occurred in the U.S. -- at offices in Washington and New York -- while the other was an "electronic eavesdropping operation" against a building at the EU's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.  One of the bugging methods, codenamed "Dropmire", involved electronic interception via a monitoring device placed in the DC office's encrypted fax machine that EU officials use to send each other private messages.

Dropmire
Dropmire was one of the plots to spy on EU officials. [Image Source: Guardian]

According to The Guardianthe British newspaper that first worked with Mr. Snowden to organize and publish the leaks with proper diligence (in a less scattershot approach than, say, Wikileaks), says leaked NSA documents reveal spying operations against 38 embassies -- most of whom are U.S. allies.  Among the other EU nations being spied on were France, Italy, and Greece.  Other allies outside the EU whom the U.S. spied upon include Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India, and Turkey.

French President François Hollande blasted the spying, commenting, "We cannot accept this kind of behaviour between partners and allies.  We ask that this stop immediately."

In addition to hinting that it might pull out of trade talks, German officials suggest that they will consider criminal actions against the U.S.  And German justice officials says its citizens -- many of whom have been spied on -- are eligible to file independent accusations against the U.S. of criminal spying.

II. Obama Administration, Kerry, Defend Spying

The only allies that the U.S. allegedly refuses to spy on include Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.  The NSA refers to countries like France and Germany as "3rd party foreign partner[s]".  But while such partners assist it in spying on other nations and international fugitives, the NSA has no moral compunctions about turning around and secretly spying on them as well, stating in secret documents, "We can, and often do, target the signals of most 3d party foreign partners."

The growing anger among European allies marks the latest setback for U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama, who many Americans hoped would act as a savior to America's poor international image that suffered during the Presidency of George W. Bush (R).  Promising bold policies of "transparency" and downsizing of federal government waste and federal spying, President Obama won many supporters both in the U.S. and abroad.

But it has become increasingly clear his administration is perfectly willing to tell the public whatever they want to hear, while doing whatever suits its own interests behind closed doors -- even if that means engaging in outright lies.

Obama spying
President Obama's two-faced rhetoric on spying has created foreign ill will that rivals even his unpopular predecessor President George W. Bush.  [Image Source: AP]

The Obama Administration has refused to discuss why it may have authorized spying on top U.S. allies.  Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, comments, "[The administration has not seen the report and can] not comment on unauthorized disclosures of intelligence programs. The intelligence community would be the most appropriate to do that."

Meanwhile the intelligence community seems to come close to acknowledging the spying, while defending its right to spy on allies, claiming everyone does it.  

Comments The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), "The United States government will respond appropriately to the European Union through our diplomatic channels, and through the EU/U.S. experts' dialogue on intelligence that the U.S. proposed several weeks ago.  We will also discuss these issues bilaterally with EU member states. While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations."

John Kerry
U.S. SoS John Kerry says spying on allies is ok because everyone does it. [Image Source: AP]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, a former Democratic senator and presidential candidate, echoes that line countering the EU outrage, opining, "Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contributes to that.  All I know is that is not unusual for lots of nations."

III. EU Looks to Squeeze U.S. Officials Special Interest Donors

But Europeans aren't buying the argument that everyone spies on their allies.  Comments conservative German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung in an editorial, "Washington is shooting itself in the foot.  Declaring the EU offices to be a legitimate attack target is more than the unfriendly act of a machine that knows no bounds and may be out of the control of politics and the courts."

The issue is particularly sensitive in Germany as U.S. spying on German internet networks appears massive -- matched only by U.S. spying on nations such as China, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.  On a daily basis the U.S. grabs data on roughly 20 million phone calls on average, grabbing as many as 60 million calls on some days.  That's not quite the rate at which the U.S. spies on its own citizens calls -- 99 percent -- but it's pretty impressive given that Germany only has 80 million citizens.  The NSA also reportedly gathers information on 10 million internet data connections in Germany daily, on average.

Euros
The EU may freeze talks on a free trade deal with the U.S. [Image Source: The Hibernia Times]

European parliamentarians are comparing the spying efforts to those of the KGB, Russia's Cold War-era spy organization.  Indeed from bugs, to interception antennas, many of the spying tactics use by the NSA against its allies appear to be straight out of a Cold War playbook.

EU's Green Party, a minority party in the European Parliament who represents a mixture of interests including protecting civil liberties and the environment, is urging France -- one of the targeted nations -- to offer asylum to leaker Edward Snowden.  For revealing the U.S. spying on its citizens and foreigners, Mr. Snowden has been charged with espionage and is reportedly holed up somewhere in Russia.

The idea of granting Mr. Snowden asylum in Europe remains controversial, over concerns of how that might damage relations.

EU Politicians
Some EU Parliamentarians are advocating a serious response. [Image Source: Alex Higgins]

However, another stand by the Green Party members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is gathering a fair deal of support.  Green MEPs are advocating freezing talks on the transatlantic trade deal until the U.S. promises to stop spying.  Such a freeze could have a serious impact on large U.S. banks and corporations, who pay for the majority of U.S. federal politicians -- including President Obama -- to gain their plush positions.

While these large special interests largely gain from spying -- both domestic and foreign -- via billion dollar contracts to private contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp. (BAH), strong action from the EU could make spying no longer  a lucrative proposition for the "bosses" of U.S. politicians -- large special interests.

Bribe
MEPs look to put pressure on the real rulers of the U.S. federal government -- large special corporate and bank special interests. [Imge Source: Google Images]

Thus the move might force the true powerbrokers in the U.S. -- the campaign financiers to pressure President Obama and other top officials to stop the programs of spying on allies.

Sources: Reuters, Guardian



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/1/2013 11:15:05 AM , Rating: 1
If they do follow through with this, it would hurt them at least as much as it hurts us. We are currently in better economic shape than they are. We're also concentrating on other markets that's not in Europe anyways.




RE: How is this a threat?
By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2013 11:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, they sell an awful lot of german cars, medical equipment, and airbus airliners in the US market.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2013 11:33:36 AM , Rating: 2
Don't they need to increase their security to protect them from Chinese spying anyways?


RE: How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/1/2013 11:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
Trade in goods. The U.S. goods trade deficit with the EU was $115.7 billion in 2012, a 15.9% increase over 2011. U.S. goods exports in 2012 were $265.1 billion, down 1.2% from 2011, but up 57% from 2000. Corresponding U.S. imports from the EU were $380.8 billion, up 3.4 percent from 2011, and up 67% from 2000.

This is exactly why it is a hollow threat and only exaggerated by Jason's sensationalism.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 1:53:47 PM , Rating: 1
Would you rather they threaten us with war instead?

So you're pro-domestic spying AND spying on allies. You've made that clear. Obama and our government can do no wrong.


RE: How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/1/2013 2:45:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you turn everything into an Obama bashing campaign?

How do you get "Obama can do no wrong" out of "EU is enjoying our trade deficit and they need it"

it's reclaimer rant as usual.


RE: How is this a threat?
By retrospooty on 7/1/2013 4:05:14 PM , Rating: 2
Ward is a little hard on the Beaver, but you have to admit, Beav is becoming a major f#$k-up.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 4:44:46 PM , Rating: 3
Please, don't pretend to be so indignant.

Not sure if you're aware of this, but your statements and attitude on this translate into: "So what? We can spy on them with impunity, what are they gonna do about it? They need our trade more than we need them, so fuc* em"

Combine that with your absurd statements on the NSA stories, being pro spying in general, and your pro-Obama big government slant, and that's how "I get" what I'm getting here.

Am I wrong? No, you know I'm dead right about you. You can deflect it all you want with false claims that I'm "bashing" Obama (he IS President during all this, correct?), but you're really just butthurt as usual.


RE: How is this a threat?
By InsGadget on 7/1/2013 10:32:07 PM , Rating: 4
A Republican would do the exact same stuff. This is an American Federal Government problem, not a partisan issue. And before you say "Well Obama's in office now, so ....", read the first sentence again, and believe it.


RE: How is this a threat?
By roykahn on 7/2/2013 6:43:35 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you can blame Keith Alexander (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_B._Alexander).

The reactions from US officials to the NSA leaks should be analyzed by everyone interested in this issue. Instead of focusing on the lies and deception of the intelligence community, they focus their attention on Edward Snowden and label him a traitor - a similar reaction to which we saw with Wikileaks.

Witness the media's role in this (apart from The Guardian). See how eager they are to put the spotlight on Edward Snowden and provide politicians with ample opportunities to spew forth their vile hatred of democracy by labeling the NSA revelations as an act of treason.

This reminds me of the reaction to the torture practices at Abu Ghraib in the book Standard Operating Procedure. High-ranking US officials weren't punished, only low-ranking officers were targeted. The end result was to ban any recording devices from such places, no doubt so there would be no future evidence of torture. It's just laughable how elite immunity works.

Anyway, here's something I'd like to buy for Reclaimer77:
http://www.spencersonline.com/product/bm-bop-obama...


RE: How is this a threat?
By Adonlude on 7/2/2013 1:00:58 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe its time to ask what a Libertarian would do.


RE: How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 9:16:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Please, don't pretend to be so indignant. Not sure if you're aware of this, but your statements and attitude on this translate into: "So what? We can spy on them with impunity, what are they gonna do about it? They need our trade more than we need them, so fuc* em" Combine that with your absurd statements on the NSA stories, being pro spying in general, and your pro-Obama big government slant, and that's how "I get" what I'm getting here. Am I wrong? No, you know I'm dead right about you. You can deflect it all you want with false claims that I'm "bashing" Obama (he IS President during all this, correct?), but you're really just butthurt as usual.


No dumbo, I'm saying the EU is trying to use use 20% of its economy to threaten an issue over spying. It's clear that it's a hollow threat because nobody in their right mind would piss away 20% of their economy because they are upset another is spying on them, something the EU does themselves.

This is not about privacy rights, human rights or anything close to that. It is about using the current frenzy to cripple our government and our people's morale/trust and use it as leverage in their negotiations. If you ever decide to study politics, you will see that a weak national government means an even weaker international standing.

The EU have been trying to overtake the US in both economic and political power its existence. This is just another excuse. I'm sorry you can't grasp your mind around their obvious bigger objective. Every country competing with the US is enjoying this Snowden guy right now, the EU is no exception. If they wanted to offer him protection, they would've done it already. The guy is desperate and pretty much will go anywhere that doesn't land land him in prison.


RE: How is this a threat?
By ShieTar on 7/2/2013 5:03:52 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
No dumbo, I'm saying the EU is trying to use use 20% of its economy to threaten an issue over spying. It's clear that it's a hollow threat because nobody in their right mind would piss away 20% of their economy because they are upset another is spying on them, something the EU does themselves.


Exports to the US were 380 billion $ in 2012, thats 2.9% of the GDP, nowhere near 20%. Also, not having the free trade zone will not kill the already existing exports; and having the zone won't exactly double it any time soon. Even the most optimistic predictions of the people who proposed this agreement are that it will bring a 20 billion $ increase in trade, thus about 0.1% economic growth. It is an important agreement for some big companies with big lobbies on both sides, but for the people in either Union it does not mean that much. Of course I fully expect our politicians to listen to the lobbies.

quote:
The EU have been trying to overtake the US in both economic and political power its existence.


1. The economy of the EU measures 105% of the economy of the US. And that already includes the fact that a lot of services like education or health insurrance are considered to have a lower price in the EU even though they have the same quality as in the US: The EU has a 4.4 trillion $ industry producing actually usefull goods, while the US industry only brings home around 3.0 trillion $ a year. The majority of the great US economy is generated through trade alone.

2. I don't even know how to measure political power, but could you at least give me a single example where the EU even got prominently involved in foreign politics?


RE: How is this a threat?
By ShieTar on 7/2/2013 3:43:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but those are huge companies that either have the means to work around customs, i.e. by having production facilities in the US (see VW), or they sell mainly to the wealthy who don't care that much about customs (so what if the mercedes costs 10% extra).

The free trade laws are more important to small companies or those selling low margin products. The main point of a free trade zone is in any way to take away money and control from the governments and let companies increase their profits by producing in place A, sell in place B and pay taxes in place C.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2013 11:43:47 AM , Rating: 2
What a better way to make a statement than offering asylum Edward Snowden, that's brilliant.


RE: How is this a threat?
By superstition on 7/3/2013 11:26:21 AM , Rating: 2
They won't offer him asylum because this is all posturing. They probably are angling for better terms of the trade agreement.

They don't give a fig about civility, human rights, or anything of the sort. They're no different than our leaders.


RE: How is this a threat?
By superstition on 7/3/2013 4:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
This summarizes all the nonsense perfectly.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/0...


RE: How is this a threat?
By plopke on 7/1/2013 11:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
:P true , i am from europe and i think there is nothing really we can do. Neither do i think we should do anything. But the spyign was a douchebag move. It is a bit if like european countries would put wiretaps on your congress/ambassadors/phone centrals , who knows for all we know some do.

And yes it is a very delicate subject in some of the european countries because not so long ago in history dicators had come to power just by this kind of acts, spying on who has what political motives,....

Still find it a suprize everybody seams ok with it , i doubt they actually read your e-mail but what they do feels the same as a NSA agent knocking on your door demanding to hand over all your written mail and he or she makes note of which political parties,sexual prefrences,state of health/wealth the person might be in just by looking at what kind of letters you receive.

I would just give snowden political asylum from the United States in Europe , still feel like he had a hard time with the morals about spying on everybody their privacy. If snowden really just had morals objectives against this all , i wouldnt want him to rot in some high secure american prison.

Anyway , curious how americans in general look to all this.


RE: How is this a threat?
By ebakke on 7/1/2013 2:30:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Anyway , curious how americans in general look to all this.
I, for one, am &*!#ing pissed. I'm livid that they're spying on me, and I'm disgusted that we're spying on our supposed friends. And worst of all, we have the audacity to stand up and proclaim the moral high ground. Bunch of damn hypocrites (best case) or criminals (becoming more likely every day).


RE: How is this a threat?
By Spuke on 7/1/2013 4:05:32 PM , Rating: 2
A lot people here in the US DO NOT condone this at all (not to mention are plenty pissed about it...I know I am). Not to mention the governments position on Snowden is also not one with which the American public shares. Some politicians are calling him a traitor! Really? He disclosed classified info. That's his violation. Not treason. And he's not the only one that's done this either.


RE: How is this a threat?
By vXv on 7/1/2013 4:09:31 PM , Rating: 2
Crap wanted to vote you up not down. Miss clicked and can't undo it.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 4:54:25 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Some politicians are calling him a traitor! Really? He disclosed classified info.


He disclosed classified info to a foreign power. Actually several foreign powers at this point. That's why he's a traitor.

Look, he straight up stole a USB drive from the NSA full of classified info, and just gave it to the Chinese. That's unacceptable.

He's also taken a world tour of pretty much every Communist country. Putting himself in physical risk of being compromised. If China or Russia decided to interrogate him and purge his brain of all classified info, what could anyone have done about it? He's been absolutely reckless!

Now I want to be absolutely clear on something, I completely agree with him that the public should have been made aware of these things. The problem isn't that he disclosed classified info, it's the WAY he went about it. He could have handed over that thumb-drive to a US Representative and made his case, and he wouldn't have violated his oath in doing so.

He did the right thing, in a horribly wrong way. And for that he's going to burn.


RE: How is this a threat?
By ebakke on 7/1/2013 6:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He's also taken a world tour of pretty much every Communist country.
I'm starting to feel like the only one who doesn't care about the Communist countries. I'm far more worried about our own government abusing us with the information it has been hoarding than I am worried about Russia negatively impacting us with merely a description about the information collection mechanisms.

quote:
He could have handed over that thumb-drive to a US Representative and made his case, and he wouldn't have violated his oath in doing so.
Lol. You don't honestly believe any of this would've ever seen the light of day if he'd done that, do you? Those reps are bound by the same oath he was - they don't just get to decide to release classified material. They were gagged by the same "national security" claim.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 6:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
Okay then he could have at least went to the U.S media. I mean come on, you telling me what he did was the ONLY option? China? Really?

I'm just saying, the way he's gone about this has been reckless and has created a spectacle. If this is how he actually planned to go about this...just..wow dude.

quote:
Those reps are bound by the same oath he was


Uhhh Congress and NSA employees have different oaths, technically speaking.


RE: How is this a threat?
By ebakke on 7/1/2013 7:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not saying going to Hong Kong (or anywhere else for that matter) was the best option. And it certainly wasn't the only option. I agree that it seems that US media could've been a better outcome. But it's also hard to argue that going to Hong Kong and Russia has kept him from US prisons (so far).

I agree that it's been a spectacle. I guess I don't see it as reckless.
quote:
Uhhh Congress and NSA employees have different oaths, technically speaking.
I was specifically referring to the oath taken when entrusted with classified material. You sign on the dotted line saying you won't share it with anyone who isn't cleared and who doesn't have need to know. If Congressmen could share that information with the public, Snowden would've been preempted by Reps Wyden and Udall. But the most they could say was:
quote:
We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted section 215 of the Patriot Act. As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn't know what its government thinks the law says.


RE: How is this a threat?
By TSS on 7/1/2013 8:27:56 PM , Rating: 4
Actually no he disclosed classified info to news papers. Which he's working with in conjunction to make sure no *specific* americans are getting hurt, just the system in general. He hasn't told any direct government anything.

And how else would you get this info to the people? You know damn well any US paper or politician would be labeled a traitor and destroyed. Nobody would take this up in the US, it would've been covered up and Snowden shipped off to Gitmo.

The guy is a hero. Why? Because he risks life and limb to expose and stop wrong doing. That's the very definition of a hero. He did the right thing in the right way, exposing it to as many people as possible. He could've just dumped everything at every newspaper in the world then dissapeared of the face of the planet, all anonymously. The guy's worked with the CIA he's not a idiot.

Everybody who calls him a traitor (including you) is only showing how far the system has fallen, how right snowden was to flee from the US and how dangerous these times have become.

It was never about the info. It was always about the reactions to said info.

"A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism."

Sounds familiar? It should. It's the first result when you google search "Facism".


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/2/2013 1:16:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
He hasn't told any direct government anything.


Wrong, he disclosed sensitive information directly to the Chinese. He also handed over a USB drive to them, stolen from the NSA. Containing who knows what!

This is the moment where your "hero" goes from whistleblower to traitor. How was disclosing this to the Chinese Government helping U.S citizens, exactly? How was that going to end domestic spying programs again? He did it to save his own neck, in exchange for sanctuary. These are facts that's not even in dispute.

If you cannot separate the two actions, it's your problem not mine. I'm fine with Snowden bringing this stuff to light, I support it fully. But anyone using their brain and not raw emotions HAS to draw the line at selling us out to the Chinese, or Russia, or whoever else he's blabbing to.

quote:
You know damn well any US paper or politician would be labeled a traitor and destroyed.


HUH? U.S media and papers have been going full bore on this for like a month. Name me one that's been destroyed please. Hell for 8 years under Bush we had papers and news media slamming him, our foreign policy, our agenda, the wiretaps, EVERYTHING. Nobody got "destroyed".

This calls for a little more maturity and critical thinking than you're apparently able to bring to the table.

quote:
Sounds familiar? It should. It's the first result when you google search "Facism".


wow...my brain just exploded.

Every single time I've referred to this government as "fascist", you and several others have demeaned me, accused me of being a "faux news" wacko, and a tin-foil hat nut-job.

NOW you're quoting, to ME, the definition of fascism? Just...HAHAHAH!


RE: How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 9:01:32 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually no he disclosed classified info to news papers. Which he's working with in conjunction to make sure no *specific* americans are getting hurt, just the system in general. He hasn't told any direct government anything.

TSS, please stick with Europe as you still know nothing about the US.

Spreading classified info to the media is no different than giving classified info to the enemy. Are you too dumb to realize that news is international even if it's just local? anybody can access news.

Sure the guys is a hero that leaked classified information when he had many other routes to go. Then he runs to 2 of the most anti-privacy countries in the world and wants to work a deal with them. What can he offer them besides Top Secret info they want? You would be naive if you believe the Chinese or Russians would actually protect him after he gives up classified data. The correct thing to do would be to get rid of him after they got what they want. He's just a liability to any country. He won't say what data he gave away even if he did because he'll then have a heavier sentence of treason, traitor, etc...

I don't call him a traitor but he may very well be. His story doesn't make sense. He's holding more in his hand than just what he supposedly stood for. He does not want to be a man and face the jury.

If all he did was leaking the 2 pages of that VZ letter then he would've gotten a maximum sentence of just a few years in a minimum security prison, lose his clearance/job, and gain millions of supporters. Instead, he hid more data to sell to other nations/organizations, ran to our worst enemies in the intelligence field, and who knows what he gave them or did.


RE: How is this a threat?
By animedude on 7/2/2013 11:15:50 AM , Rating: 2
If he wanted money, he wouldn't have quit his job and gave up his life. If he wanted things to be easy, he could have gave all these classified information to wikileaks and not filter through them himself to make sure it does not harm anyone. Why you said he sold data? Like he said if he wanted to make $$, he could have just sold the information to China and be living like a king right now in China. Also explain why he just retracted his asylum request for Russia just because Putin said the condition for him to stay is not to leak any more information. Obviously he has high standard that he abides to.


RE: How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 12:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If he wanted money, he wouldn't have quit his job and gave up his life.

if he gave up his life, he would've stayed in the US and face the jury with millions of supporters which will get him a very lenient sentence.

quote:
he could have just sold the information to China and be living like a king right now in China. Also explain why he just retracted his asylum request for Russia just because Putin said the condition for him to stay is not to leak any more information


Sure because China and Russia is known for their honesty, human rights, privacy rights, and protects their own citizens. Are you insane?
You must believe that China is not hacking us either.
Russia....their history with us is just one lie after another.

He's running with nowhere to go and no one to back him up. Whatever info he got is the only thing keeping him alive. He's a liability to any country he's in. Any country he's in, they've got him by the balls and he's at their mercy. The only reason he's not captured is because there's too many eyes on him and he's an international dispute waiting to happen.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/3/2013 12:37:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Whatever info he got is the only thing keeping him alive.


get a life....

This isn't the movies. Seal Team Six isn't coming after this guy with orders to "terminate with extreme prejudice".


RE: How is this a threat?
By BRB29 on 7/3/2013 12:40:02 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about the US coming after him retard.


RE: How is this a threat?
By animedude on 7/3/2013 3:30:23 AM , Rating: 1
You really think he will not be tortured like Bradley Manning? You give too much credit to your government for not doing wrongs or being fair. Look at how much shit you guys gave the Chinese for hacking but when you guys did the same shits and got uncovered. You people and the government just say so what, everyone does it. Hypocrite much. Stop blindly loving your government. They can do wrongs too and this is what Snowden is sacrificing himself for. He left the country because he wants to continue with his work and not be locked up without internet. The reason why he left Hong Kong was that he will be locked up without internet during his asylum request so chose to leave.


RE: How is this a threat?
By InsGadget on 7/1/2013 10:40:28 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not happy about this, but I'm not happy about guns either. If I could snap my fingers and put guns only in the hands of military and police, I would (and no, we really don't need to worry about taking up arms against our government; the days of needing revolutions are long-gone, at least here in the West). But obviously there's no way that we could take all the guns from citizens (although Australia provides an interesting example), so all we can do is hope for intelligent gun control and the rule of law to prevail.

In the same way, I wish this petty spying didn't happen either, but it's been happening for years, and it will continue to happen for years. You can be assured that European powers are doing basically the same things to the US and everyone else. Unfortunate, but true.


RE: How is this a threat?
By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 1:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
Way to not sound like an stereotypical arrogant American...

/sarcasm


It Sure Would Be Nice...
By mmatis on 7/1/2013 11:36:04 AM , Rating: 2
if one of these countries was honorable enough to give Mr. Snowden asylum for exposing this. But then I expect they all shall be groveling before the Chimp in Chief by the end of this week.




RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By bug77 on 7/1/2013 12:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how US' wrongdoing makes Mr. Snowden's deed praise worthy.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By kerpwnt on 7/1/2013 1:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
Exposing wrongdoing isn't praiseworthy?


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By Strunf on 7/1/2013 7:50:25 PM , Rating: 2
Only when exposing the wrongdoing of lets say China, god forbids exposing the wrongdoing of your own country!


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By bug77 on 7/2/2013 3:51:22 AM , Rating: 2
Not when that is a wrongdoing in itself.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By roykahn on 7/2/2013 7:12:18 AM , Rating: 2
That depends on your definition of "wrongdoing". If I was to commit crimes and label all my records as classified information and then hired you to manage my information, would you consider exposing me to the authorities as a wrongdoing (according to your employer) or a righteous act (according to the authorities)? Wouldn't you agree it depends on what your values are? If so, it appears that you value the ability for government agencies to label all their wrongdoings as classified information, ensuring that they are immune from accountability.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By bug77 on 7/2/2013 10:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
Signing a NDA and then ignoring it is wrong (unless you're using double standards in this case).
Remember Deepthroat and his famous "follow the money"? There are ways of exposing wrongdoing without breaking the law in the process.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By roykahn on 7/2/2013 4:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are ways of exposing wrongdoing without breaking the law in the process.
And when those ways don't work, you must break the law. Again, it comes down to values. If you value a document you signed more than the privacy rights of your fellow man, then you'd be just like the rest of the people working for the NSA and its contractors. Thankfully, there are rare cases like Edward Snowden and William Binney whose values and sense of justice are strong.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By bug77 on 7/3/2013 5:23:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
And when those ways don't work...


Do you have the slightest hint of proof he tried other things?

quote:
...you must break the law.


No, you don't have to. You make a choice and if you're man enough you deal with the consequences.
But then again, such a choice puts you in the category of people who think they know better than everybody else. These are usually psychiatric material.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By roykahn on 7/3/2013 10:30:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Do you have the slightest hint of proof he tried other things?
Not if you're referring just to Edward Snowden. But he's not the only one who has been in that position. Just look at Tom Drake and William Binney who reported their concerns through the chain of command. When they tried to do this, they were then caught up in an investigation of who leaked to The New York Times about the NSA surveillance program, and they were persecuted and investigated, and Tom Drake was actually indicted under the Espionage Act and charged with being a spy. The case completely collapsed, but nevertheless, that’s what happened to them.

So, Snowden maybe looked at that and decided that going through official channels wouldn't work. Who knows? Maybe he didn't have faith in a system that has treated Bradley Manning in such a horrible manner. I think if we had a system where people could actually expose wrongdoing without fear of being persecuted, that he may not have broken the law. We need to protect people like this who want to expose wrongdoing.

quote:
such a choice puts you in the category of people who think they know better than everybody else
That's a poor argument and I sincerely hope you weren't serious. The more I think about it, the more I am disgusted by your comment. It's insulting to anyone who wants to make progress, innovate, challenge, dissent, act bravely, demand justice and equality, etc.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By maugrimtr on 7/3/2013 7:35:54 AM , Rating: 2
Rated you down for using "Chimp". Pretty sure you already know why...


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By superstition on 7/3/2013 11:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
Their attitude is:

Thanks Mr. Snowden for giving us some leverage for the trade deal and other things. By the way, enjoy your stay in whatever rat hole you end up in because we aren't going to do a thing for you.


RE: It Sure Would Be Nice...
By superstition on 7/3/2013 5:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So these EU states are perfectly content to allow a country - when it's the US - to use their airspace to kidnap people from around the world with no due process. But they will physically stop a plane carrying the president of a sovereign state - when it's from Latin America - in order to subvert the well-established process for seeking asylum from political persecution (and yes: the US persecutes whistleblowers).

All of this smacks of exactly the kind of rank imperialism and colonialism that infuriates most of Latin America, and further exposes the emptiness of American and western European lectures about the sacred rule of law. This is rogue nation behavior.

It's not just the EU's leaders who have been exposed.
quote:
It's not just Clapper, but multiple "senior US officials", whose statements have been proven false by our reporting and Edward Snowden's disclosures.

Indeed, the Guardian previously published top secret documents disproving the claims of NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander that the agency is incapable of stating how many Americans are having their calls and emails invaded without warrants, as well as the oft-repeated claim from President Barack Obama that the NSA is not listening in on Americans' calls without warrants. Both of those assertions, as our prior reporting and Miller's article this week demonstrates, are indisputably false. Beyond that, the NSA got caught spreading falsehoods even in its own public talking points about its surveillance programs, and were forced by our disclosures to quietly delete those inaccuracies.

Intentionally deceiving Congress is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison for each offense. Reagan administration officials were convicted of misleading Congress as part of the Iran-contra scandal and other controversies, and sports stars have been prosecuted by the Obama DOJ based on allegations they have done so.

Beyond its criminality, lying to Congress destroys the pretense of oversight.


God love those greens:
By R3MF on 7/1/2013 11:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
"Green MEPs are advocating freezing talks on the transatlantic trade deal until the U.S. promises to stop spying."

But they really do hate wealth creation don't they!

At a time when europe needs economic growth like no other, the greens attempt to put both barrels in EUropes mouth.




RE: God love those greens:
By niaaa on 7/2/2013 7:20:39 AM , Rating: 2
read between the lines.

The EU knows they can't do anything to stop the spying, but they will use the media and political impact of this scandal to negotiate a better commercial treaty.

the timing of this coming to light is rather interesting...I wonder who got the idea.


RE: God love those greens:
By roykahn on 7/2/2013 7:52:11 AM , Rating: 2
Such trade deals are typically just about cementing power structures - both internationally and domestically.

Internationally: a country with the higher GDP and/or military influence will seek to enforce trade conditions which favor it over weaker nation(s).

Domestically: the creation of laws that shift power away from consumers and workers into the hands of the elite class. This could be the relaxation of labor safety laws, weakening of labor unions, weakening consumer protection, granting copyright owners favorable treatment, etc.

When such trade deals and treaties are implemented, how much weight is given to the opinions of advocates of civil rights, consumers, laborers, privacy experts, environmentalists, etc? I bet there's not much! Primary importance would be given to the interests of CEO's, industry leaders, large investors, and politicians.


RE: God love those greens:
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 9:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
When such trade deals and treaties are implemented, how much weight is given to the opinions of advocates of civil rights, consumers, laborers, privacy experts, environmentalists, etc? I bet there's not much! Primary importance would be given to the interests of CEO's, industry leaders, large investors, and politicians.


Since when did trade agreements have civil rights, laborers and privacy in there?

Last I checked, it was about GDP, Net import/exports, macroeconomics, resources, and taxes.


RE: God love those greens:
By roykahn on 7/2/2013 5:13:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since when did trade agreements have civil rights, laborers and privacy in there?
I was commenting that advocates of such issues are not generally big players in trade deals affecting the lives and issues they represent. The deal makers mostly focus on money while ignoring anything else. That's the point I was making. Furthermore, it's the money of the elite/stronger party that is of concern. When you see the term "fair trade agreement" used in the media, feel free to add the "un" prefix.


RE: God love those greens:
By superstition on 7/3/2013 11:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The deal makers mostly focus on money while ignoring anything else.

All of those things are involved in the pursuit of "money".

Money, after all, is merely a synonym for exploitation.


By unimatrix725 on 7/1/2013 1:07:30 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully the Eu will bear its full might against our politicians. God knows Americans hands are more or less tied. The USA seems to think they won the cold wad, yet continues as if nothing ever changed. The world should keep in mind we had broken away from English /British influence and made our own mess of a country. I would say their is a tornado over Franklins grave, from spinning. I would renounce citizenship and immigrate to Russia, if it were easy. Let some more papers leak and Snowden will get asylum in the EU somewhere.
Sadly I was raised when the wall fell. It did spark some of the best technology as a result. Maybe Nostrodamus? Was right in predicting another huge altercation between the USA and?? I even worry Germany nor France can do anything as America considers them irrelevant to us....




By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2013 2:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Russia? Not exactly the freedom center of the world. I'm not so arrogant though that I think there aren't better places to live than the US. I've been to Canada(BC), Australia, and New Zealand all of which are great places.


By Ammohunt on 7/1/2013 5:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
Puhlese! Everyone spies on everyone that has been the case forever.

Watch them shutup when they are told their bugging devices we found and or programs revealed this is false indignation and all for show in order keep the European population in check..nothing will come from this.


By TSS on 7/1/2013 6:46:18 PM , Rating: 2
It's one thing to spy on eachother's populations. Hell the prevailing attitude here is "PRISM? is that like ECHELON?".

But it's quite another to spy on the politicians themselves. This time it's not the elite spying on the peasants, but the elite spying on the elite.

I wouldn't think that this has no reprocussions what so ever. Don't get me wrong, i think those spineless bastards in control here won't do anything about it. Now. But this will definitly have changed their perception about the future.

Don't think just because they're in control of countries they're not naive as hell. They live in their own little bubble and i'll fully belive in that bubble friends don't spy on friends. This has shattered that notion, and only time will tell how dangerous that was.


Internal issue
By aston12 on 7/2/2013 7:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
Although every normal paranoid human being would agree that the relevations are not shocking... we all know everybody is spying on everybody, even allies, its part of the game... Most people here in Europe are shocked over the scale of the spying.

The amount of data gathered from Germany is hughe, and pre-election (in 3 months), how do you expect the germans are going to react.
Atleast we would have expected the EU offices would be safe or EU visits wouldnt be to much monitored. But perhaps europeans should blame that on their lack of protection.

As a european citizen i am concerned about how easy the usa can do economic spying and why are governments do not have higher protection. For that i blame ourselfes and perhaps that will get better in time.

On the other hand, i am really disgusted about the domestic monitoring. Using the terrorism card to destroy privacy concerns...it is getting old and i do not consider your domestic terrorism threat that significant.

I do not see a problem between the usa and eu, basically all what was suspected or know, is just publicly confirmed (well a lack of any to the point response from the states confirms it for me).

The problem lies within your domestic policy, sadly i have not seen any protest or whatever on our tv channels about that (are there any big protest about your liberties? what happened to your founding history?).
Whatever the EU is saying it is merely because the public expects some statements. Mostly pre-election talk.

ps: why didn't Snowden directly fly to ecuador before starting this leaking spree?




RE: Internal issue
By superstition on 7/3/2013 11:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most people here in Europe are shocked over the scale of the spying.

Then they're just as foolish as our public, which is hardly shocking.


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