Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spying on their allies again

First the NSA was caught spying on Germany. This time, its France:

The French president, François Hollande, has called an emergency meeting of his country’s defence council for Wednesday morning after revelations that American agents spied on three successive French presidents between 2006 and 2012. According to WikiLeaks documents published late on Tuesday, even the French leaders’ mobile phone conversations were listened to and recorded.

The leaked US documents, marked “top secret”, were based on phone taps and filed in an NSA document labelled “Espionnage Elysée” (Elysée Spy), according to the newspaper Libération and investigative news website Mediapart. The US was listening to the conversations of centre-right president Jacques Chirac, his successor Nicolas Sarkozy, and the current French leader, Socialist François Hollande, elected in 2012.

The recorded conversations, which were handled by the summary services unit at the NSA, were said to reveal few state secrets but show clear evidence of the extent of American spying on countries considered allies. WikiLeaks documents suggest that other US spy targets included French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the United States.

“The documents contain the ‘selectors’ from the target list, detailing the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysée up to and including the direct cell phone of the president,” a report of the taps published in the French media revealed.

The NSA justifies its existence by saying it spies on the US's enemies. Instead, it seems to spend most of its time spying on their allies, gathering information which isn't about defence, but advancing economic interests and global prestige. In the process it sours those relationships and makes it clear that it is the US which is everyone's enemy. Americans might want to consider whether that sort of spying is really in their interests.