US Spying on its European Allies
Rebuilding trust after the shock….
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.