Snowden: The US is Spying on the EU

Snowden: The US is Spying on the EU

Spiegel is breathlessly reporting that according to Edward Snowden, the US has not just been spying on its own citizens, but they’ve been spying on–gasp!–everyone.  The report says that the US “placed bugs in the EU representation in Washington and infiltrated its computer network…In this way, the Americans were able to access discussions in EU rooms as well as emails and internal documents on computers.”

The comments are what’s truly breathtaking, however.  Here’s a classic:

As a citizen of the USA, please accept my apologies for the improper activities of our government. It is bad enough that it spies on it’s [sic] own citizens without open court approval, but it is rude to do so on our friends!

This is the problem.  It’s “bad enough” that the basic founding document of our entire governmental system is being shredded, but spying on other countries is just plain “rude.”  What?!  In truth, what this American calls “rude” has another name.  It’s called normal, run of the mill intelligence activities.  What he calls “bad enough” also has another name: Constitutional abuse.

Every country in the world is trying to get information on other countries.  You can rest assured that at any given moment, any enemy—or ally—that the US has is actively trying to gain information on our military, our tactics, our military and/or political plans; they will take anything they can get to gain any bit of advantage they can.  In return, the US does the exact same thing.  In short, the fact that the US has been spying on the EU is not even remotely news for anyone who can rub two brain cells together long enough to think about it.

What makes this news is the fact that the information, listed in a 2010 top secret document, was shown to Spiegel by Snowden, who is apparently trying to do more than his original Robin Hood act.  Snowden is handing out information that he already knows is part and parcel of any intelligence service.  Why is that?  Certainly not because he’s a noble soul who just wants to expose wrongdoing.

Here’s a sad, dirty, but absolute truth.  Spying on other governments is fine.  Spying on other countries’ citizens is fine.  It’s not rude, it’s not this awful thing that we shouldn’t do because it’s mean and nasty.  It’s what we do, and it’s how we keep citizens safe.  Spying on American citizens, however, is not fine.  It’s illegal.  It’s unconstitutional.

There is a difference between America and the rest of the world.  The difference is, we have a Constitution.  We have protections that other countries could only dream of having.  We (theoretically) enjoy rights like due process, free speech, and privacy from government intrusion until there is probable cause and a warrant.  This means, who the US spies on outside the border is absolutely not the same thing as who the US spies on inside the border.

Not that I expect Spiegel to know that, but Snowden should.  Either he’s a moron, or he’s a lot more conniving than people are giving him credit for.  Considering how long he’s spent in countries who are most definitely spying on us, my money’s on the conniving.


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