The latest revelation in the NSA Scandal (released yesterday) is that the United States has been regularly spying on our European Allies. According to the released documents the US spied on 38 foreign missions and embassies including the European Union’s Washington office.
Secretary of State John (why the long face) Kerry told a press conference today:
‘I will say that every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs and 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.’
If that is acceptable behavior, than why is Jonathan Pollard who turned over to Israel information that it was supposed to have still rotting in jail, much longer than people guilty of acts of espionage which helped our enemies rather than our friends.
The our allies who were spied upon did not have the same attitude as Kerry:
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande described the disclosures of massive US spying and snooping in Europe as “unacceptable”, with the Germans suggesting there had to be mutual trust if the trade talks were to go ahead on Monday.
She delivered her severest warning yet on the National Security Agency debacle. “We are no longer in the cold war,” her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said. “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.”
He added that Berlin was keen on the trade talks with America, but qualified that support. “Mutual trust is necessary in order to come to an agreement.”
After the Guardian’s disclosure that US agencies were secretly bugging the French embassy in Washington and France’s office at the UN in New York, Hollande called for an immediate halt to the alleged spying.
“We cannot accept this kind of behaviour between partners and allies,” Hollande said. “We ask that this stop immediately.”
The Europeans received their first opportunity to demand answers from the top level of the Obama administration about the massive scale of US spying on its EU allies when Lady Ashton and John Kerry met in Brunei.
Foreign policy chiefs met on the fringes of a meeting of EU, US and south-east Asian governments in Brunei, giving the British peer a chance to air EU grievances over the disclosures in the Guardian. On Sunday she demanded prompt clarification from the Americans as to the veracity of the media reports.
Wasn’t this supposed to be the administration that built/restored our alliances with Europe? In truth Kerry is correct, nations spy on their friends as well as their enemies, which is why it’s so hypocritical that Jonathan Pollard is still in prison. However his reaction (basically “come on grow up–everybody does it) was very insensitive for our nation’s top diplomat.
Our reaction to the “outing” of this program just reenforces the fact that this administration is naive when it comes to international relations (and domestic policy). Instead of building our alliances with Europe, his naivite is tearing them down.