US Spy­ing on its Euro­pean Al­lies

Re­build­ing trust af­ter the shock….

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Saadula Aqrawi

The US and its Euro­pean al­lies work to­gether to sup­port mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, col­lect­ing what in­tel­li­gence they need to pro­tect US forces in ar­eas where they work to­gether as na­tions. But Europe and Wash­ing­ton are now trad­ing ac­cu­sa­tions of spy­ing, as both sides seek ways to re­build trust af­ter shock rev­e­la­tions about the scale and scope of Amer­ica’s sur­veil­lance of its al­lies. Could Pres­i­dent Barack Obama re­ally not have known the United States was in­ter­cept­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tions of al­lied lead­ers in­clud­ing the Ger­man Chan­cel­lor, An­gela Merkel?!

The Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency’s elec­tronic sur­veil­lance net­work was re­vealed in clas­si­fied leaks by the for­mer Agency con­trac­tor, Ed­ward Snow­den. Euro­pean of­fi­cials and in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers trav­elled to Wash­ing­ton to dis­cuss a new ba­sis for trust and new reg­u­la­tion for Euro­pean co­op­er­a­tion with the US in this area.

Europe in cur­rently en­gaged in in­tense dis­cus­sions with US part­ners at both the in­tel­li­gence and the po­lit­i­cal level. A se­ries of news­pa­per re­ports based on leaked Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency files al­lege that US agents hacked into ca­bles used by Google and Ya­hoo, as well as re­veal­ing the vast scale on which the NSA snoops on tele­phone calls and In­ter­net traf­fic.

The for­eign pol­icy pur­sued by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has come in for crit­i­cism across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. Hawk­ish con­ser­va­tives such as John McCain and South Carolina Se­na­tor Lind­sey Gra­ham have ac­cused the Pres­i­dent of be­ing timid and in­ef­fec­tual in wield­ing Amer­i­can in­flu­ence, while more "dovish" lib­er­als such as Jimmy Carter and Den­nis Kucinich have ac­cused him of cyn­i­cism and heavy-hand­ed­ness. In par­tic­u­lar, many crit­ics say he has pur­sued im­pe­ri­al­is­tic poli­cies sim­i­lar to those of his pre­de­ces­sor, Ge­orge W. Bush, of whom Obama was deeply crit­i­cal as a se­na­tor and dur­ing his 2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. How­ever, polling in­di­cates that Obama's poli­cies en­joy higher global fa­vor­a­bil­ity than those pur­sued by Bush or pro­posed by ei­ther of Obama's pres­i­den­tial elec­tion chal­lengers (McCain in 2008, and Mitt Rom­ney in 2012). The same polls also in­di­cate that for­eign views of the United States in gen­eral have im­proved since he be­came Pres­i­dent.

There has been an uproar across Europe in the wake of news ac­counts that the US Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion has been spy­ing on Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel's of­fi­cial cell phone as well as mil­lions of phone calls made in France and Spain.

The NSA has also eaves­dropped on the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment and hacked the pub­lic e-mail ac­count of for­mer Pres­i­dent, Felipe Calderon, along with the e-mail do­main used by him and Cab­i­net mem­bers, ac­cord­ing to Ger­man news mag­a­zine Der Spiegel.

Most of the news ac­counts are based on doc­u­ments pro­vided by for­mer NSA con­trac­tor, Ed­ward Snow­den.

Euro­pean part­ners are ex­pected to be part of the con­ver­sa­tion about the new con­duct code, while the Euro­pean Union could tighten its own pri­vacy laws, re­strict­ing the shar­ing of cer­tain kinds of in­for­ma­tion with the United States.

Amer­i­can pub­lic opin­ion now dis­ap­proves of the US spy­ing on its al­lies. Al­though some Amer­i­can law­mak­ers be­lieve spe­cial dis­pen­sa­tions must be granted in re­la­tion to the gath­er­ing of in­tel­li­gence, a mood that en­abled the pas­sage of the land­mark anti-ter­ror Pa­triot Act, oth­ers be­lieve this at­ti­tude no longer pre­vails. But one thing is for cer­tain: Euro­peans are shocked and ap­palled at be­ing spied on by friends.

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