Monday, July 01, 2013

Nobody likes a snoop

The latest NSA leak: the US is spying on its "allies":

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.

And it wasn't just embassies on US soil - they also abused NATO facilities in Brussels to spy on the EU Council of Ministers and European COuncil, and placed Germany "in the same US spying category as China, Iraq or Saudi Arabia" (that is, with states the US regards as its enemies).

The Germans are pissed, and are threatening to pull out of free-trade talks as a result. No-one likes a snoop who deals in bad faith. And if more of the world responded in that way to US spying, then maybe they'd do less of it.

(Meanwhile as a US ally who participates in their spying network, we should expect diplomatic fallout as well. And it would be entirely justified)