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Snowden: NSA Spying On EU Diplomats and Administrators 417

Posted by timothy
from the open-line-sunday dept.
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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Snowden: NSA Spying On EU Diplomats and Administrators

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  • by Guinness Beaumont (2901413) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:25AM (#44145733)
    Could we just get the list of who the NSA isn't spying on? It seems to be much shorter.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:36AM (#44145759)

      Here you go:

      • by Cryacin (657549) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:19AM (#44146073)
        You seem to have redacted the Kardashians. No-one of intelligence cares what they have to say.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:32AM (#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.

          • by geekmux (1040042) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @04:44AM (#44146375)

            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.

            The idea was rejected?

            Well, we do have standards for torture for anyone with an IQ over 70, so makes sense I guess.

            Also explains why they are still relevant in any way.

            • 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.

              The idea was rejected?

              Well, we do have standards for torture for anyone with an IQ over 70, so makes sense I guess.

              Also explains why they are still relevant in any way.

              Once again, 1% of the population getting special treatment...

    • Russia? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Roger W Moore (538166)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by anarcobra (1551067) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:30AM (#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? (Score:5, Informative)

          by 0111 1110 (518466) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:42AM (#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:Russia? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by quenda (644621) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @06:57AM (#44146651)

            I probably would have flown to Laos.

            Unlike HK or Moscow, the CIA would not think twice about illegally kidnapping him from Laos.

        • by symbolset (646467) *
          I don't think we needed to be reminded that NSA spies on Russia. Also, Target spies on Sears, and my daughter who runs a lemonade stand spies on her rival one block over.
    • by SJHiIlman (2957043) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:10AM (#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...

      • by davester666 (731373) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:29AM (#44145945) Journal

        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.

        • by tlambert (566799)

          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.

        • by ae1294 (1547521) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @06:18AM (#44146567) Journal

          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.

          Yes I think there are around 400 to 500 of them which collectively own and control our system. They can be trusted because of their mass wealth and the fact that any thing they want whether legal or not will be given to them. They have no reason to get involved with messy religious martyrdom products practiced by poor ignorant brown people. I mean after all they select few have no souls to begin with so why bother with anything other than money an power. If they gamble their money away the government will always cover the lost since they are to-big-to-fail and it was really the consumers fault somehow anyway,

          Welcome to our brave new world, It only gets worse from here on out. Start stashing water and food some place safe for when the riots start. There is no way to know when but I'd say with-in the next 10 years the US will be coming apart at its seams... People are perfectly happy to watch TV and ignore everything until they are starving from lack of affordable food and massive inflation in each and every sector of our economy. When people start going hungry (I think congress just failed to pass the farm bill for the first time in 40 years). That's the food stamps program among other thing.. Yeah people get really pissed off really fast when they can't have their Mt Dew and Cheeto's. Doesn't mater if the SNAP program is right or wrong when you are being mugged at knife point so someone can by some Raymons,,, These poor people might be leaching of the rest of us but putting them in jail costs more and they aren't going to suffer like some here would love to see. No they will attack and it will be random and bloody. Think about that the next time you are talking with your friends about cutting mental health and food/medical assistance from the poor. You are being short sighted and you and your family with pay, one way or another...

          • by khallow (566160) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:59AM (#44146843)

            Yes I think there are around 400 to 500 of them which collectively own and control our system. They can be trusted because of their mass wealth and the fact that any thing they want whether legal or not will be given to them. They have no reason to get involved with messy religious martyrdom products practiced by poor ignorant brown people. I mean after all they select few have no souls to begin with so why bother with anything other than money an power. If they gamble their money away the government will always cover the lost since they are to-big-to-fail and it was really the consumers fault somehow anyway,

            I don't get why people think that tremendous wealth is a key to power. Power can always just take wealth or sell its exclusive services for a high price. But in contrast, the kind of power the NSA exercises here can't be created with just wealth.

            As to your complaint about food stamps and such, remember the saying that "a government powerful enough to give you everything you need, is also powerful enough to take away everything you have." All these little services are power - both because of the transfer of wealth (which among other things can be partly diverted for projects such as SNAP) and because creation of a public good inevitably leads to regulation of consumption of that public good to avoid tragedy of commons issues. Consider for that last point, the necessity of collecting information about the potential consumers of the good (who has your mental health data for your mental health care?), enforcement of law (just about every bureau and department has some sort of law enforcement group), and the need to regulate related human behavior (selling food stamps for cash).

            Your post is a great example of how people can complain about government abuses of power and yet at the same time advocate giving that government power to abuse. It's all the same government. Why can you trust it with food stamps or mental health care when you can't trust it not to nose around in your affairs or with military matters?

            You are being short sighted and you and your family with pay, one way or another...

            I'd rather my family pay for their own services rather than my family pay with a loss of freedom. With freedom comes risk. I think that's a great tradeoff.

    • by stox (131684) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:53AM (#44146165) Homepage

      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.

      • by XcepticZP (1331217) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @06:10AM (#44146555)
        Aren't those precisely the people we SHOULD be monitoring? I mean, they are in public office. We scrutinize every single other piece of their vein lives, why not their office-life? Oh, that's right, because it'll expose the broken system of supposed Democracy(TM) we think we have. They'll just find a myriad of underhanded deals, office-politics, lies, lobbying favors and all sorts of things we would not like. And that's assuming the NSA would divulge that information instead of using it in their own little government power-plays.
    • by amiga3D (567632)

      The entire point of having an agency like the NSA is to spy on people. If you aren't going to spy on people why in hell would you have this kind of agency? It makes no sense to get mad about the NSA spying since that is their entire reason for existence. I mean really, you hire a bunch of spies and then what? They spy on people, that's what. Jeeez!

  • No subject (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:27AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lxs (131946) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:45AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:09AM (#44145875) Homepage Journal

        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 intercept

        • Re:No subject (Score:5, Interesting)

          by RogueyWon (735973) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @03:18AM (#44146221) Journal

          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.

          • Re:No subject (Score:4, Interesting)

            by lxs (131946) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @04:05AM (#44146313)

            Thanks for the background information. It certainly makes the "Madsen is a loon" theory more likely. That or the "Madsen is a loon who is being fed damaging misinformation by his NSA buddies to divide the EU against itself" theory. His information does line up with other pieces of information that have come out, but then Madsen has access to newspapers as well.

            The weird thing is that when I read the story yesterday it didn't seem all that major to me . Another in a long line of leaks that has surrounded the whole Snowden thing. Now because the story has been pulled (not before the Observer had taken over the story and printed it on the front page) it's turning into a major paranoid shitstorm.

  • 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

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:38AM (#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.

    • by rusty0101 (565565)

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

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:09AM (#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.

    • 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.
    • by hherb (229558)

      > 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 fee

      • by romiz (757548) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:08AM (#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.
    • by horza (87255) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:02AM (#44146857) Homepage

      It is a bit strange. The diplomatic cables leak was embarrassing but mostly damaged dictators overseas. It actually showed the US as pretty reasonable behind the scenes. Of course Manning should be punished, he clearly betrayed the trust put in him, but the incredible level of torture he was put through completely contradicted the Obama aim to close Guantamo Bay as a show of a return to human rights. Then chasing a journalist like Julian Assange including leaning on the Swedish and UK governments? Ridiculously over the top. The US is just painting itself out to be a global bully, trampling on the rights of its allies. If they kill somebody in the Middle East we just skip past that page in the newspaper but their actions clearly show it could be *you* next that gets "extraordinary rendition" if you accidentally upset them. A bit worrying.

      The same thing with Snowden. Here the leaker may actually have a point, if he genuinely believed he was revealing systematic breaking of the law by officials put in place to protect them. In the UK we've known about the US slurping up all our communication for decades. We know we are getting a pretty raw deal, with 'sanitised' intelligence scraps being thrown to us when the US feel like it. They just have to keep silent on this debate and it will be forgotten in a couple of weeks. All they have to do is say "Snowden broke law X, and if he returns to the US he will be arrested". Leave it at that! A witch hunt shows a level of immaturity other governments do not want to see from a nation with the sigint and military might the US has.

      Phillip.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:45AM (#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.

    • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:40AM (#44146997) Homepage Journal

      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/ [washingtonpost.com]

      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!

      That's not what Google said. Google said [blogspot.com] "First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers."

      Note that the statement was not limited to NSA spying.

      That WP graphic you linked isn't inconsistent with Google's statements, though. The graphic implies, but does not state, that the data for the "tasking" is automatically extracted and returned to the FBI without any involvement by the company. If instead you assume that the tasking merely results in the delivery of a properly-formatted request to the company, then it fits. Google's statement does say that Google provides data to the company after its legal team reviews the request, and the Google Transparency report shows that Google does provide at least some data for 70% of requests. If we assume the legal staff reviews requests, pushing back on overly broad or otherwise inappropriate requests, then directs the collection of the data and sends it to the FBI, that process would match what's described, with the key addition of a human review process.

      (Disclaimer: I work for Google, though I don't know anything about any of this stuff. I do, however, have pretty good reason to believe that Google is being truthful, mostly because Google's statements fit the company's culture and approach, and the theories about direct access or backdoors do not, and because I think this kind of program would be very hard to hide from Googlers... and I think the aforementioned culture would make it impossible to suppress if it were discovered.)

  • by umundane (1490741) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:53AM (#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.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @03:00AM (#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?

  • 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.
  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:09AM (#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.

    • by romiz (757548) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:24AM (#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.

    • by ladoga (931420)

      his 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.

      Being in company of China and Russia with your track record isn't something I'd consider to be proud about.

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @04:14AM (#44146329) Homepage Journal

      I really don't think Finland is spying on the congress.. unless you count reading newspapers as spying - which you very well might.

      but now - if their hacking gets caught red handed it's extradition requests time!

      (EU doesn't have a NSA equivalent no matter how much you fantasize about james bond, no central CIA either, because many countries don't want to deal with the political and moral problems of assassinating people, because that's not how we roll and you better hope we never start to roll that way)

  • All part of a grand tradition.

    That doesn't make it right.

    • 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.

      • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:35AM (#44146133) Journal
        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.
        • by Subm (79417)

          It's been a long time since Britain attacked us.

          The British invaded in the 60s with biological vectors like Beatles, blunt objects like Stones, and aerial attacks by Zeppelins. On our side some were Grateful just to be Dead.

  • by xiando (770382) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:38AM (#44145973) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by phayes (202222)

      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.

  • by vikingpower (768921) <<exercitussolus> <at> <gmail.com>> on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:56AM (#44146007) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:11AM (#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).

  • by tsa (15680) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:17AM (#44146067) Homepage

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?

    • Re:Friends (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @07:10AM (#44146683) Homepage

      The US needs enemies - without them, they can't justify the country's wartime government budget that has lasted since approximately 1940. If the US doesn't have any enemies, it goes out of its way to create some.

      Of course, "terrorist sleeper cells" are the best enemy anyone's ever thought of because (a) they could be anywhere, (b) it's impossible to say you've destroyed all of them, (c) everything you're going to do to stop them is required to be secret, (d) they could attack anywhere in the US at any time creating a wonderful fear factor, and (e) the government is supposed to catch them before they've actually done anything criminal.

  • by rodia (1031082) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @02:49AM (#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]
  • Terrorists (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frankie70 (803801) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @03:51AM (#44146283)

    They are just keeping the EU safe from terrorists

  • by Seumas (6865) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @05:12AM (#44146439)

    More than half of the discussion I hear recently is about how awful it is that the US is spying on other countries. I'm baffled by this. Of course we spy on other countries. And they spy on us. And each other. That's what the CIA/NSA/KGB/etc are for. That's their role, am I incorrect?

    The issue isn't "ermagherd, we're spyin' on other countries!". It's "holy fuck, our own government is spying on its own citizens, even though they are expressly forbidden from doing so".

    • by Arker (91948)

      It's more than that, the issue is a state apparatus completely gone out of control and we are just seeing signs of it. Contrary to all the faux-sophisticates in this thread, spying isnt a matter of everyone does it and anything goes. Of course intelligence agencies *gather data* but bugging diplomats is quite illegal in most circumstances, both under international and domestic law. It also tends to piss people off. Spying on a nation you are at war with is expected, yes. Spying on your own allies is just a

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @06:32AM (#44146591)

    We made our bureaucracy so vast it's impossible on spy on all of it.

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.

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