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Snowden: NSA Spying On EU Diplomats and Administrators

timothy posted about a year ago | from the open-line-sunday dept.

EU 417

An anonymous reader writes "According to a report dated 2010 recently provided by [former NSA contractor Edward] Snowden to the German news magazine 'Der Spiegel', the NSA has systematically been spying on institutions of the EU in Washington DC, New York, and Brussels. Methods of spying include bugging, phone taps, and network intrusions and surveillance according to the documents." All part of a grand tradition.

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For the sake of saving time, (5, Insightful)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year ago | (#44145733)

Could we just get the list of who the NSA isn't spying on? It seems to be much shorter.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145759)

Here you go:

Re:For the sake of saving time, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145833)

98% of the people who participated in our survey preferred using Bing over Google. Don't believe me? Bingiton! [bingiton.com]

Re:For the sake of saving time, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145849)

100% of the people who participated in my survey just now think that you are completely full of fail.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146117)

I hate Snowden. Why does he hate the US so much? Didn't he have a nice childhood here, and go to school, and have a nice girlfriend and home in Hawaii? Maybe he should appreciate United States more instead of hating on it.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146139)

Dear Sir,

Your slavish devotion to the United States government has been duly noted.

For your obedient behavior, you have been awarded one (1) hour of vacation from your wage slavery, to be taken at any time during the next year. It is suggested, if you wish to earn further such credits, that you use this hour to engage in government-approved speech or other nonsubversive activities.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (4, Insightful)

saihung (19097) | about a year ago | (#44146201)

Yeah! Why doesn't he appreciate a government that's illegally spying on OUR ALLIES for no clear reason other than to piss them, and everyone else, off?

Re:For the sake of saving time, (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44146073)

You seem to have redacted the Kardashians. No-one of intelligence cares what they have to say.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146125)

Actually, the NSA thought about recording all the Kardashians' conversations. Then if the secret police ever needed to "break" a prisoner, they could just make them listen to the recordings.

However, the idea was rejected, because even the US government wasn't willing to go that far.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#44146147)

they don't need to record the conversations, they could just play the shows.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44146157)

You seem to have redacted the Kardashians. No-one of intelligence cares what they have to say.

That's because they are actually spooks fulfilling the role of "circus" as in "bread and circuses."

Re: For the sake of saving time, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145767)

This is the largest instance of spying in the history of earth.

Re: For the sake of saving time, (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44145929)

only because the Earth has never been so large as it is now...

Re: For the sake of saving time, (2, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#44145947)

You mean other than God and Santa?

He fucking sees little children while they are sleeping. All of them. Every night. The original surveillance society indoctrination.

Re: For the sake of saving time, (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44146083)

In Santa we trust.

Russia? (1, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | about a year ago | (#44145817)

Well so far Russia seems to be absent from the revelations which, if true, would be amazingly ironic. Perhaps that's why Snowden went there.

Re:Russia? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145991)

Oh, there can be no doubt that NSA spies on the Russians. So, on the other hand Snowden seems to consider Russia a legitimate target, and does not reveal anything about NSA activity over there. Then he goes to Russia on his own and ends up being questioned by Russian officials.

Re:Russia? (4, Interesting)

anarcobra (1551067) | about a year ago | (#44146119)

Or, more likely, he released a report about spying on EU states.
Since Russia is not a member of the EU as far as I am aware, that might explain why they are not on the list.

Re:Russia? (4, Informative)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year ago | (#44146149)

I don't think going to Russia was ever in his long term plan. He was clearly hoping Hong Kong would not extradite him. At some point he changed his mind about that. Russia was likely just part of some short term strategy to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison for doing a good deed. At this point however he may have no choice but to apply for political asylum in Mother Russia. It may not be a Libertarian Utopia. Certainly no more than the US. But it's a hell of a lot better than a US prison or gas chamber. Even North Korea would be better than that.

I probably would have flown to Laos. Not as modern as Hong Kong, but no extradition treaty with the US. It's cheap, and the people are some of the nicest in the world. It might be considered Communist, but it feels freer than the US because no one really bothers you. On paper you're not at all free, but in practice you are often more free than in the US. But I guess Russia isn't so bad.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145837)

The list of people the NSA is not (usually illegally) spying on? That is the empty set.

That's why everybody is so pissed off about the whole thing.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (5, Insightful)

SJHiIlman (2957043) | about a year ago | (#44145881)

If we don't spy on everyone, the terrorists will get us (and maybe the communists, but they're not the big bad bogeymen they once were)! Grope everyone at airports! Have secret courts rubberstamp warrants that allow for the collection of random people's information even though there's no probable cause! Spy on allies! Spy on every single person in existence!

Somehow it seems as if our own politicians hate our freedom more than the terrorists supposedly do...

Re:For the sake of saving time, (4, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44145945)

They have to spy on everybody, because anybody could be, or become, a terrorist, either willingly or unwillingly.

The only people that can be trusted are obviously only a small group of people close to the President, and a handful of Congressmen and Senators.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44146013)

They have to spy on everybody, because anybody could be, or become, a terrorist, either willingly or unwillingly.

Obviously, the most at risk people, when it comes to turning on us, are those who actively resent being spied upon. We especially have to spy on those people.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (1)

KraxxxZ01 (2445360) | about a year ago | (#44146015)

Serbia. Check the map. It's the black spot in Balkans.

Re:For the sake of saving time, (5, Insightful)

stox (131684) | about a year ago | (#44146165)

Offices of Congress. If it ever came out that the Congress was being monitored in its offices, the fecal matter would hit the rotating device at supersonic speeds.

No subject (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145745)

I'm probably wrong here, but isn't it against international law to spy on diplomats? If yes, does this apply to only spying on diplomats residing in your country, or elsewhere?

Re:No subject (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145787)

Guantanamo is likely against international law.
Drone attacks based on 'behaviour patterns' is probably that too.
Let alone the whole NSA spying program, which at least violates human rights.

Why would wiretapping diplomats be off-limits for rouge states?

Re: No subject (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145813)

Rouge is a very gay color, FYI.

Re: No subject (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44145857)

Go tell that to the Khmer Rouge.

Re: No subject (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44145949)

It is believed that 10% of all countries are gay.

Re:No subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145841)

Because rouge states are FABULOUS!!!

Re:No subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145851)

It's FAHBULOUS, Dahling!

Re:No subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145953)

Are we using rouge for Democratic or Republican states now?

Re:No subject (5, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44145797)

The US doesn't do international law.

Also yesterday there was this ex-NSA guy accusing seven EU countries of having secret deals with the US to share communications data. (confirming long held suspicions and subject of one interview last week with a member of the Dutch secret service which was hastily denied by the responsible minister)

Now the Guardian piece on it has been taken down pending investigation. [guardian.co.uk]

At least the big boys are having to work hard intimidating spreading misinformation and sowing doubt.

Re:No subject (5, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year ago | (#44145875)

http://pastebin.com/NTJvUZdJ [pastebin.com]

        Deleted Article by The Guardian

        Original Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/29/european-private-data-america [guardian.co.uk]
        Now redirecting to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/info/2013/jun/30/taken-down [guardian.co.uk]

        ===

        Revealed: secret European deals to hand over private data to America

        Germany 'among countries offering intelligence' according to new claims by former US defence analyst

        At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data,
        according to a former contractor to America's National Security Agency, who said the public should not be "kept in the dark".

        Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions within the
        agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.

        Madsen said the countries had "formal second and third party status" under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand
        over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.

        Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US
        is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships.

        In an interview published last night on the PrivacySurgeon.org blog, Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on espionage issues,
        said he had decided to speak out after becoming concerned about the "half story" told by EU politicians regarding the extent of the NSA's
        activities in Europe.

        He said that under the agreements, which were drawn up after the second world war, the "NSA gets the lion's share" of the sigint
        "take". In return, the third parties to the NSA agreements received "highly sanitised intelligence".

        Madsen said he was alarmed at the "sanctimonious outcry" of political leaders who were "feigning shock" about the spying operations
        while staying silent about their own arrangements with the US, and was particularly concerned that senior German politicians had accused the UK of spying
        when their country had a similar third-party deal with the NSA.

        Although the level of co-operation provided by other European countries to the NSA is not on the same scale as that provided by the UK, the allegations are
        potentially embarrassing.

        "I can't understand how Angela Merkel can keep a straight face, demanding assurances from [Barack] Obama and the UK while Germany has entered into
        those exact relationships," Madsen said.

        The Liberal Democrat MEP Baroness Ludford, a senior member of the European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said
        Madsen's allegations confirmed that the entire system for monitoring data interception was a mess, because the EU was unable to intervene in intelligence
        matters, which remained the exclusive concern of national governments.

        "The intelligence agencies are exploiting these contradictions and no one is really holding them to account," Ludford said. "It's
        terribly undermining to liberal democracy."

        Madsen's disclosures have prompted calls for European governments to come clean on their arrangements with the NSA. "There needs to be transparency
        as to whether or not it is legal for the US or any other security service to interrogate private material," said John Cooper QC, a leading
        international human rights lawyer. "The problem here is that none of these arrangements has been debated in any democratic arena. I agree with
        William Hague that sometimes things have to be done in secret, but you don't break the law in secret."

        Madsen said all seven European countries and the US have access to the Tat 14 fibre-optic cable network running between Denmark and Germany, the
        Netherlands, France, the UK and the US, allowing them to intercept vast amounts of data, including phone calls, emails and records of users' access to
        websites.

        He said the public needed to be made aware of the full scale of the communication-sharing arrangements between European countries and the US, which predate
        the internet and became of strategic importance during the cold war.

        The covert relationship between the countries was first outlined in a 2001 report by the European parliament, but their explicit connection with the NSA
        was not publicised until Madsen decided to speak out.

        The European parliament's report followed revelations that the NSA was conducting a global intelligence-gathering operation, known as Echelon, which
        appears to have established the framework for European member states to collaborate with the US.

        "A lot of this information isn't secret, nor is it new," Madsen said. "It's just that governments have chosen to keep the public in the
        dark about it. The days when they could get away with a conspiracy of silence are over."

        This month another former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed to the Guardian previously undisclosed US programmes to monitor telephone and internet
        traffic. The NSA is alleged to have shared some of its data, gathered using a specialist tool called Prism, with Britain's GCHQ.

Re:No subject (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year ago | (#44146221)

If you want to understand why the article was pulled, I suggest googling the source it quotes.

Wayne Madsen has a long history of being, shall we say, "slightly creative". He's a fully signed up 9/11 conspiracy theorist, birther and ardent believer that Obama is gay. Oh, he also believes that the 2009 swine flu outbreak was a US bioweapons test.

Now, that's not to say that everything he says is automatically wrong. But if you want to look at some of the things he has claimed as absolute truth in the past, then if he were to be right here, it would be on the "even a stopped clock is right twice a day" basis.

For the Guardian to run a major story based on him as its only source is an absolutely shocking lapse in journalistic standards.

+1 terrifying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145897)

Does anyone have a copy of the article?

I always wondered if GCHQ was more loyal to the UK or the USA. If US tried to smear a UK politician to get a more friendly one in power, which side would GCHQ stand? What about the Dutch Secret service?

I noticed smears and leaks have moved much of Europes leadership to the pro-America right wing and I wonder how deep this goes.

Re:+1 terrifying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146195)

I noticed smears and leaks have moved much of Europes leadership to the pro-America right wing and I wonder how deep this goes.

There is nothing substantially new or different about any of this. US meddling in the internal politics of its Western European allies/client states is endemic, and it's been going on since the 1940s. Go read about Operation Gladio.

Re:No subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145975)

I'm probably wrong here, but isn't it against international law to spy on diplomats? If yes, does this apply to only spying on diplomats residing in your country, or elsewhere?

Other way around. Diplomats - hell, all foreign nationals on anyone's turf - are fair game.

I think Snowden did something illegal, and I think America is better off for it, because we couldn't have this debate until he leaked what he leaked. NSA isn't supposed to do surveillance on US persons, and the "minimization" procedures leaked thus far appear to be only as effective as someone choosing to follow them.

But as disappointed as I am to find that pretty much all the rumors about NSA spying on American persons are true, I'd be even more disappointed if NSA wasn't spying on foreign diplomats. (And I'd be just as disappointed in our adversaries if they weren't at least trying to spy on US diplomats.)

Wake up, ye sluggards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145747)

Yarrgh there be trolling to do in yonder slashdot thread yaargh!

And they are not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145755)

Seems like another slow news day.

somebody's got some splaining to do... (1)

Midnight_Falcon (2432802) | about a year ago | (#44145761)

Now that the Obama administration's previous talking points about the spying being very limited, tightly controlled and focused on finding terrorists and those bent on harming the US and its allies -- we found that part of the program is in fact, to spy on our allies? To spy on the EU -- which is essentially an NGO -- is certainly more in line with spying for economic and political interests rather than defensive purposes.

I wonder what poor sap at the White House press room will have to figure out a way to try to smooth over this one, or manufacture a distraction...

Re:somebody's got some splaining to do... (5, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#44145777)

Actually, countries likely have a mutual spying agreement. USA spies on $COUNTRY, $COUNTRY spies on USA, and they share information. Both never technically spy on their own citizens and therefore obey their own constraints, yet they effectively have full unchecked information invasion on their own people.

Re:somebody's got some splaining to do... (3, Interesting)

MrDoh! (71235) | about a year ago | (#44145827)

Yup, this is why the UK dropped out of the last time it was done, Echelon. The US was spying on the UK but wasn't handing all the data over, but giving it to US companies to get better deals.

Re:somebody's got some splaining to do... (1)

rabbitfood (586031) | about a year ago | (#44146021)

That's a good description, with interesting ramifications.

One thing that seems to be falling out of this is that, on account of the secret work of these secret agencies being secret, they're not really accountable. They can't, for example, publish the data they're not supposed to know about, or reveal very much of it even to the governments that are supposed to be running them. Effectively there's a massive, largely autonomous, supra-national bureaucracy, analogous to the G8 or the OECD or whatever, but unanswerable to any such organization or individual government.

Given the intriguing suggestion that every past human civilization has fallen owing to their bureaucracy going rogue - either becoming so unwieldy or corrupt that it's become impossible for governments to govern - I'm wondering if this mightn't be the start of something interesting.

Re:somebody's got some splaining to do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146179)

Given the intriguing suggestion that every past human civilization has fallen owing to their bureaucracy going rogue

Citation or any evidence please. And don't kid yourself. No supra-national bureaucracy is in charge of anything. If anything it's only the mechanism by which the U.S. is in charge of everything. Like other empires, the U.S. will collapse when it can no longer expand its influence. Regardless of its bureaucracy.

Re:somebody's got some splaining to do... (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44146043)

The talking points are part of the program. The "damage control" part.

The US is nobody's friend (5, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year ago | (#44145765)

Our government is a bit like a sociopath. We are nobody's friend. Everyone is merely a potential enemy. We spy on everyone. No exceptions. I'm sure we even spy on the UK and Canada as utterly pointless as that may be. If we ever ended up at war with either Canada or the UK then we'd almost certainly be better off losing anyway.

Of course, from Washington's POV the problem is not so much that we spy even on our friends, but that someone blabbed about it. They won't think about changing their behavior toward our allies. About acting honorably at least toward our allies. Rather they will think more about how badly they can punish the leaker. I can only imagine how badly they are itching to get Snowden's ass to gitmo and torture him to death in very creative ways.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145781)

for a moment i thought you were describing Soviet Russia

Re:The US is nobody's friend (4, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44145873)

"Be careful how you choose your enemy, for you will come to resemble him."

Re:The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145811)

And the reply from the Left: Let's make government bigger!

Re:The US is nobody's friend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145847)

And yet many republicans want to have a bigger government... in certain areas. What areas? The same areas we have to thank for all of this spying. Worst of all, the democrats are right on board with them.

How big the government is is not the problem; the problem is whether or not the powers they have are easily exploitable and whether or not they could be used to violate fundamental rights.

Re: The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145865)

No the left wants to make government work. The national security complex is neither making us safe nor proving particularly apt at maintaining its own secrets.

Re: The US is nobody's friend (4, Insightful)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about a year ago | (#44145937)

Both parties are guilty, this isn't a left-right thing.

Re: The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146009)

It is, partially. "Both parties" are hardcore right-wing.

Come to Finland if you want to see some left-wing parties.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | about a year ago | (#44145861)

In other words they are learning from Business. No wonder they are giving businesses so many perks lately.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145869)

Except for the fact that, *by treaty* The US, UK, NZ Canada and Australia are allegedly sharing all intelligence each of their respective agencies gather. Originally; the intent was to let each nation focus its spending and efforts on just one region that it already had a substantial interest in while still benefitting from a dliligent approach in all the other regions. Explicit in this was a reciprocity. The American NSA, with all its well known and not so well known programs, harvests vast amounts of data on say, UK citizens, perfectly within it's purview of external intelligence, meanwhile MI6 shares all the data it has collected on US citizens.

A lot of people; including myself, have been very vocal about their concerns at the scope of data being collected by the various three letter agencies of the US government. Many people in power get reassured by statements along the lines of "we never keep any data on our own citizens unless there is a link to a person of interest". What gets overlooked is that the US doesn't *have* to keep data on all it's citizens, all they have to do is pass along all the raw data they collect, in keeping with the treaty, and then just ask the partner nations for the digested and analyzed results. (and they of course do the same in return)

It is the top secret version of the "business in the Cloud" problem. The organization WILL collect everything it possibly can, data mine and analyze as they see fit, they will just keep the actual data stores in servers located and operated offshore by "affiliates". Some court rules the organization cannot collect or keep such data? No problem, our affiliate will do that for us offshore and dodge those pesky laws.

The difference here is, the organizations are not in it for profit (though funding is always a motive) they are in it because they genuinely believe it is their duty to do so. Think of it this way; you are a bodyguard, your livelihood depends on the client staying healthy, you love the client and want them to stay healthy as well. Yet the client has made a bunch of rules tohis/her own taste. The upshot is that you can only stand on the left side and can only be within arms reach durign daylight. If you take your job seriously, you would be very motivated to team up with another clients bodyguard so as to cover those gaps in the protection you provide. Your client never said anything about having the _other_ bodyguard in the bedroom at night after all, just you.
  All intelligence agencies have that problem. Being a good weasel makes you good at your job of collecting intel, but the better weasel you are, the easier and more likely it is that you end up no longer truely serving the people you are trying to protect.

If there is one thing history AND/OR current events can teach us, it's that it is a HELL of a lot easier and safer to do ones job well rather than ones duty well.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (1)

Gary Perkins (1518751) | about a year ago | (#44145889)

Actually, I think it's a good thing we're keeping tabs, because allegiances do change. Better to keep our guard up rather than let it down. This is what we pay them for. We're allies, working towards common goals, but NOT the same nation, and we'd damn sure want to keep these intelligence channels open in case something that's unthinkable now comes around tomorrow.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146213)

So if Obama dismisses Congress and implements marshal law, you want to make sure he has tabs on any allies that might actually come to the aid of the American people. Of course, he'll have tabs on you and all of your neighbors as well. I'm being absurd, but dismissing the massive amounts of intelligence gathered by a small number of people is also absurd. You see, when things go wrong, the trick is to make sure one player doesn't hold all of the cards. So go ahead and rationalize it. Go ahead and worry about Canada. In the end, you are simply making a tiny percentage of the human population extremely powerful.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145913)

And yet, when 911 happened I bet you were also wondering - why didn't we know about this and stop it. If you want to have the appearance of an open, carefree society, then you need to have someone making sure the bad people (that sadly do exist irl) don't spoil the party. And sometimes those people pretend to be your friend. I have no problem with my gov't spying on foreign officials, embassies etc. I do have an issue with them spying on their own citizens, which needs to be stopped. But spy away on foreigners, I don't care.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (1)

hherb (229558) | about a year ago | (#44145965)

> Our government is a bit like a sociopath. We are nobody's friend.

I think the rest of the world is intelligent enough to realize that there is a difference between the US government (which indeed appears to everybody else as a sociopathic rabid bully and war mongerer) and the people living in the USA, which are mostly just the same as everybody else on the globe, wanting to make a living, fall in love, raise their children and have a good time.

Yes, I feel threatened by the US government - same as I feel threatened by North Korea and similar totalitarian war mongerers. But no, I do not resent the vast majority of peaceful people in the USA and would like to welcome them as my friends as long as they reciprocate. I guess most educated and thinking people around the world will think similarly.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (4, Insightful)

romiz (757548) | about a year ago | (#44146047)

We may make a difference between government and distinct individuals, but in the end, the only thing that can stop a government is its own people. As long as the citizens of the States of the Union continue to tolerate unlimited corruption in name of "campaign contributions", broken election methods for representatives, and as long as this corruption leads them to elect a leadership with the same behaviour, the rest of the world can only conclude that the people of the USA wants it.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146131)

I don't think too many people really buy into the parliamentary democracy lie any more. They increasingly realize that their vote has little influence on the power distribution between the competing oligarchies called "parties" and what they factually do after elections. They know that - like in law, where the party with the most expensive lawyers has the most advantage - in politics the lobbyists with the biggest pockets will mostly decide what decisions will be made. Individual people simply don't stack up against corporates in terms of resources to manipulate government.

But you are right - change in a country has to originate from it's own people. Part of the reason why the US government is nowadays so despised is because it does not respect that principle and forcefully tries to topple and/or institute governments and legislations in other countries. I wish the people of the USA good luck in one day restoring the human rights and the freedom their ancestors had fought and died for. I hope they hurry up and do so before their government destroys more freedom and human rights in our relatively defenseless countries.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (1)

David Govett (2825317) | about a year ago | (#44146041)

Want a friend? Visit your mother.

Re:The US is nobody's friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146109)

This is why we need the 2nd Amendment. When politicans are worried that the people might rise up and put them all against the wall, they tend to be a little more restrained in their oppression.

Lets meke this simple.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145775)

They spy on everyone. Politicos hardest hit.

They brought the half of the world at war (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145783)

They brought the half of the world at war in every country that owns oil for supposedly chasing terrorists when they are the only actual terrorists that we have a reason to fear.
Well done USA leaders and dumb part of the American people.

At least I've been thinking precisely this for many years but now it isn't shameful to say it in public so that's a win already.
Now comes retribution for what is an act of war against allied nations and the free world.

Google were telling the truth (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145795)

Have you missed the Washington Post PRISM 2 leaks just released?:
http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/inner-workings-of-a-top-secret-spy-program/282/

It proves what Google and Facebook said all along.

When Google Microsoft and Facebook deny they gave *direct* access to the NSA, they were telling the truth. They gave direct access to the *FBI* who gave direct access to the NSA! See! Not a lie!

In the same way I'm not accessing Slashdot, I'm accessing my router! In fact I've never visited Slashdot! You can't prove I'm lying so its the truth!

And they only collect Metadata: Meta-Chats, Meta Emails, Meta File Transfters, Meta VOIP, Meta Logins, Meta IDs, Meta-Metadata (!), Meta Photos, Meta Social Networking, Meta Stored Data, Meta Video, Meta Video Conferenceing.... why, hardly anything at all!

And they do have due-process. They 'duly process' everything with an NSA controlled filter known as PRINTAURA. See, no lie there!

And they told the truth when they said they don't collect files on everyone. 49% is not everyone! Why, it's not even half of everyone!

And they do have warrants to look at the data, the cloud warrants even have a checkbox "[X] are you sure this is legal?" *see*! double checked!

And checks and balances too, Dwayne checks Wayne's filled the form in correctly "[X] is Dwayne sure this is legal?"

So move along citizen, nothing sickening to see here.

Dale Carnegie's evil twin, incarnate : (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145801)

Some of you will know that Carnegie wrote a book called "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

The NSA is currently writing a book which could be titled : "How to Make Enemies and Influence People".

The United STASI of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145815)

The NSA, CIA, FBI are all from the USA (UNITED STASI OF AMERICA). Their behaviour is eerily familar to those who lived in the DDR, yet many Americans and Canadians seem to be unconcerned with the massive spying they are doing when we really should be outraged.

Progressive Disclosure (5, Interesting)

umundane (1490741) | about a year ago | (#44145819)

The leaks seem to be coming out in a clever order, starting with the most credible. An obvious benefit of this is that each lends credence to the next. Perhaps less obviously, each time the government passes up an opportunity to come clean, it makes the lies more obvious. We might have already known (or guessed) all this stuff, but now we have government officials on record lying about the extent of surveillance, over and over, just before backtracking to defend it.

Re: Progressive Disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145891)

Makes you wonder where all this is going doesn't it. If Snowden isn't simply a front for some group he should work in PR, assuming of course he survives this.

Re: Progressive Disclosure (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44146113)

Yes the term limited hangout psy-op is been used.
The public outing of 1980's diplomatic communications between Tripoli and the Libyan embassy in East Berlin should have been a warning to the EU.
The IRA ands its connections to unique supplies from the US east coast should have been a warning to the UK/EU.
The strange messages leaked via Iranian communications in 1991 should have have been a warning to the EU.
The low cost and total trust the EU and NATO put in 1970/80's US crypto compatibility is only now getting traction in the EU?
Did the EU play the USA? Accept the role of Soviet proof communications but fill the pipe with junk?
The NSA went running to the State department over aircraft deals and the EU sat back and LOL - yes we are as corrupt as our coded message imply?
On an international scale nothing is new just confirmed?.
All the good domestic stuff came out with the Room 641A ending and retro active US telco protection.
On a domestic scale nothing is new just reconfirmed?.
US firms helping the Feds as they have always done wholesale and without any legal protest or data protection via CALEA/FISA/letters and private contractors.
The US confirms its all true in public via a demand for a sealed court case?
Expect massive funding for freedom fighters in Syria, a huge hunt in the USA for leakers? A legal/trust disconnect between the US press and been able to ever talk to people in the US gov again?
A buddy system for admins on gov duty and huge new psychology/network roll out to track US gov staff and their habits at work and home?
As for the EU are we really to understand they would test the network traffic only, find it safe and pass on the ok to buy more cheap US/UK encryption units?
The EU seems able to teach math, crypto, CS, physics to an international level, have a history of keeping East Germany/Warsaw Pact efforts out, understand what the Soviet navy and airforce tried to do...
Did EU gov engineers not read up on TEMPEST and look at past cryptographic units sold to them and ask any questions?
Some political deal to just let the USA/UK have it all so they could move up to just under the AUSCANNZUKUS clearance?
Stunned to what the USA/UK can do in 60 years with past ww2/ex Stasi help on a telco system sold to the EU under US guidance?

Re:Progressive Disclosure (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#44146175)

The leaks seem to be coming out in a clever order, starting with the most credible.

Depends on your definition of "credible" - the idea that the NSA spies on non-citizens was not a secret, the particular methods and specific targets were official secrets, but it was basically the official reason for the existence of the organization.

That the NSA spies on citizens is a whole different concept, one that has been officially denied anytime there was an undocumented leak and had to be internally justified by essentially redefining words like changing "collect" to no longer mean "gather up" but instead to access from a database full of information that had already been gathered up.

now we have government officials on record lying about the extent of surveillance, over and over, just before backtracking to defend it.

Other than Clapper who outright lied to Congress before any of the Snowden Files were made public, what are you talking about? Did somebody say "we don't spy on the UN" in the last week or two?

And ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145829)

Tell me something I don't know. They spy on diplomats. Really? Say it ain't so.

With allies like this (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44145855)

you don't need enemies. Anyway, some of them could had been aware, at least the NSA had a data collection agreement with several european countries [salon.com] . But i suppose that the information they gave didn't included the part where they were a target too, and how much truth were in the provided information, the best lies are half truths.

Of course they are... (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#44145871)

it is after all their job to spy.

Is anyone honestly going to claim no one else is spying? Who thinks the EU doesn't spy on the US? etc?

Everyone is spying on everyone else. Its part of diplomacy.

Why? countries lie. Countries manipulate. And no one really trusts anyone in the end. So you spy.

Every nation spies on every other nation to the extent that they care and have the resources. This is why the US catches Russian sleeper agents occasionally... or busts Chinese spies. This happens all the time. And the general convention on the matter is that if we don't punish their spying we won't punish their spying.

How many spies has the US executed recently? None. And we could by international law. Same thing with the spies they catch. They aren't killed. They're exchanged.

Re:Of course they are... (4, Insightful)

romiz (757548) | about a year ago | (#44146095)

Who thinks the EU doesn't spy on the US?

Just for measure, as you may not understand the EU institutions.The European Council is composed of the governments of the states of the EU. It usually works by organizing reunions of ministers for each political domain, as well as reunions of the heads of government, and that's currently the place where important decisions are taken. Given that there are 27 members, it is a piece of cake for the US to know what is said in there, and some countries' governments will gladly tell the US if they ask. Except that they may distort the message to fit their interests. Thus, it is interesting for US spys to get the information directly.
But on the political level, this spying is tantamount to bugging the White House's main conference room.

It is after all their job to spy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146217)

How naïve you are.

Of course they do spy on each other, that we know already. The gross part is that they *collude* to spy on *us* in ways they aren't allowed by law.

The NSA wants to spy on you (an USA citizen, I assume)? They aren't allowed by law? No problem. The MI6 [wikipedia.org] , for example, would have no qualms with that and would, by virtue of some secret international treaty, gladly oblige to forward this information to the NSA. Or whatever (MI6 was just an example among dozens of possibilities).

How are democracies supposed to work under this mess?

That doesn't make it right (1, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44145885)

All part of a grand tradition.

That doesn't make it right.

Re:That doesn't make it right (1)

techhead79 (1517299) | about a year ago | (#44146081)

That doesn't make it right.

I think you're confusing a personal moral you have with the obligation a country has to defend itself.

Re:That doesn't make it right (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44146133)

In all honestly I think we can defend ourselves perfectly well without spying on Britain and hacking their computers.

It's not about morals, it's that at some point, the threat from having a dark, hidden organization inside the government, operating away from the light of disclosure, becomes greater than the threat of foreign countries invading. It's been a long time since Britain attacked us.

That is what the NSA is *supposed* to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145887)

Of *course* the NSA is intercepting foreign communications. That is their mission. That is what they are funded for. If anyone is surprised that a government agency charged with intercepting (possibly relevant) foreign communications/information than they need to get their head out of the sand. Every country does it (they just tend to not have whistle blowers that make it to Hong Kong/Moscow). From all the reports I can read, at least the NSA seems to actually be doing what they are funded to do (unlike some other agencies).

More "revelations" from Snowden (4, Insightful)

xiando (770382) | about a year ago | (#44145973)

It's interesting how the "revelations" from "former" CIA employee and short-term NSA external contractor are so ground-breaking and not just what people who don't own a TV have known for years. Bread and circus, knew the Roman Empire, keep people from revolt. Snowden is a circus. Putin said it best when he pointed out that FSB had no interest in Snowden, it would be like trying to skin a pig: Lots of screams but no wool.

Yeah, I know this is too true information even for slashdot, I'm guessing this will be modded down.

Re:More "revelations" from Snowden (1)

phayes (202222) | about a year ago | (#44146017)

In complete agreement here.

The major success of the Cold War was the avoidance of a nuclear war. This came about in large part because both sides had good information on the other's forces & equipment. Not just because we signed treaties but because we were checking on each other.

The key phrase was: Trust, but verify. Even with allies, trust but verify avoids surprises.

Re: More "revelations" from Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146115)

Actually, we had basically no idea what the Soviets were capable of and assumed their capabilities, for the most part, mirrored ours. The Soviets seemed to have thought along the same lines having concluded that the US was lying abouts its capabilities.

Re:More "revelations" from Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146031)

Putin said it best when he pointed out that FSB had no interest in Snowden, it would be like trying to skin a pig: Lots of screams but no wool.

Actually he said it about the US wanting to get hold of Snowden, widely misreported in the US, UK and Australian press. Much like Al Gore claiming to have invented the internet. The truth isn't sexy (though I'd suggest no inanimate object should be "sexy").

And yes, the rest of what you said is true - except there's a big difference between worldly and educated people believing it very unlikely that intelligence organisations would not hoover up all the data they can, and socially marginalised (psychotic) crackpots who just know the gubmint is spying on their basement/trailer to see how they spend their benefits check/chump change from bagging groceries.

Re:More "revelations" from Snowden (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44146037)

But the effect of merely pointing out the elephant in the room should never be underestimated...

Everyone spies on everyone else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44145977)

Every government spies on every other government, both enemies and allies. This has pretty much been the case since the dawn of civilization. To be surprised or outraged by this is to show that you are an uneducated fool or, to repeat myself, an American.

Sunday morning here (4, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44146007)

European online editions of newspapers have it all over their title pages. Scores of EU politicians and servants indignated. I suddenly wonder if, ironically, this could be one of the many little pushes the EU needs to attain more internal unity. Sad it should be brought along by the discovery of a new intimate foe... But then again, the sun has been going down over the US for some time already now.

Re:Sunday morning here (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year ago | (#44146193)

Won't happen. If anything, the EU will fracture - again - in anti-US and pro-US blocks, as it happened with the Iraq war. The EU is breaking apart from withing, as an effect of the worse economical crisis it ever faced. Anti-German sentiment in southern Europe is stronger than anything against a foreign power. Now, if the EU had any balls, all countries that are part of it would immediately and unilaterally withdraw from NATO, denying the US the bases and assets it badly needs to project power. This would also have the effect to normalize the relationships between the EU and Russia, which happens to be a more important commercial partner than the US. All American companies in Europe should also be investigated. The Nobel Prize foolishly awarded to Bonobo must be taken back, immediately. But do not dream, EU politicians are only strong and brave when it comes to beat down their own citizens... Err, subjects.

Lives there a human... (1)

David Govett (2825317) | about a year ago | (#44146039)

Lives there a human so resolutely benighted as to be unaware that the EU spies on other countries, as do the Russians, Chinese, and every other government, with the possible exception of the Kingdom of Polish Bohemia?

Re:Lives there a human... (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#44146049)

Don't rule out the Grand-Duchy of Transylvania, either. Duke Vlad the Impaler has no citizens left to do any spying for him. Although wait - his castle is full of bats. Now what with their echolocation capabilities when they fly over neighbouring Romania....

Honestly fine with that (5, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#44146053)

I don't see any issue with governments spying on each other. You kind of expect they would do that.

I see far more of a problem with spying on arbitrary citizens with pretty much no oversight (although it amazes me that this comes as a surprise to anyone at all).

Friends (2)

tsa (15680) | about a year ago | (#44146067)

With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Why is anyone surprised? (1)

davmoo (63521) | about a year ago | (#44146101)

This shouldn't be at all surprising to anyone. Countries have been spying on each other and their own citizens since the dawn of civilization. And anyone here who thinks only the US does this and their country doesn't spy on its citizens is living in a dream world.

More dirty work by the NSA...? (1)

lordholm (649770) | about a year ago | (#44146145)

I am expecting that the newspapers soon find documents linking the NSA to the Athens affair and the death of Kostas Tsalikidis.

MUCH WORSE: Normal EU citizens also being spied on (5, Interesting)

rodia (1031082) | about a year ago | (#44146155)

States or "state-likes" like the EU spy on each other, ok.
I find it much more worrying that normal EU citizens are being spied on by UK services [guardian.co.uk] . My government (German) tells me they didn't know about it, and of course I am inclined to believe they are not telling me the truth (new default reaction to free world government officials saying something). The reaction our minister of justice got when she dared to demand some clarification from the Brits, a polite "go f**k yourself", is still interesting. Oh, and literally while I write this comment, this just in: (article in german) the NSA also massivcely spies on the german public. [spiegel.de]
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