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Government Privacy

German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the turnabout-is-fairly-played-out dept.
cold fjord writes: According to Foreign Policy, "The revelation that Germany spies on Turkey, a NATO member, should dispel any notion that spying on allies violates the unwritten rules of international espionage. ... For nearly a year, the extent of NSA surveillance on German leaders ... has drawn stern rebuke from the German political and media establishment. ... Merkel went so far as to publicly oust the CIA station chief in Berlin. 'Spying among friends is not at all acceptable,' Merkel said. ... [C]alls made by Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were accidentally recorded. ... 'It's a kind of delightful revelation given the fact that the Germans have been on their high horse.' Christian Whiton, a former ... State Department senior advisor, added that the report on German spying is a perfect example of why rifts over intelligence among allies should be handled quietly and privately." The Wall Street Journal adds, "Cem Özdemir, the head of the Green party and a leading German politician of Turkish descent, told Spiegel Online it would be 'irresponsible' for German spies not to target Turkey given its location as a transit country for Islamic State militants from Europe." Further details at Spiegel Online and The Wall Street Journal."
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

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  • Trust, but verify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @02:44PM (#47705957) Homepage

    doveryai no proveryai

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:19PM (#47706327)

    Anyone who thought that Germany's protests over surveillance was anything other than hypocritical bullshit is an idiot. All countries spy on all other countries. They always have and they always will.

    True, and in general it was dealt with in a low key manner with the occasional low level diplomat getting expelled and then a bit of tit for tat. Both sides knew the game and had no desire to escalate the situation.

    With the germans, I'd guess domestic political considerations necessitated a stronger response, spiced with a bit of schadenfreude, while at the same time the very same politicians were thinking, "Mein Gott I hope we don't get caught as well."

  • Re:Bottom line... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gtall (79522) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:46PM (#47706613)

    Spying serves a valuable purpose. It allows a country to ascertain whether another country's pols are lying or telling the truth. It can also help prevent surprise attacks, and it can help explain another country's behavior. We should want countries to spy on each other, then there are fewer secrets.

    Nation states arose not because of mistrust, but from shared language, culture, and so on. Trust has almost nothing to do with it.

  • Re:Bottom line... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neoritter (3021561) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:55PM (#47706693)

    That's exactly the point. The problem with anarchists is that there is no such as anarchy. Humans naturally create social circles and tribes. Removing "governments" or "nation-states" would only result in tribalism. Hatfields vs McCoys, etc.

  • Re:Bottom line... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @04:39PM (#47707083)

    It's been well known by everybody for decades that every state in the world spies on all the other states

    On balance, that is a GOOD THING. Exactly 100 years ago, the German Army was marching through Belgium, the Russians were preparing to invade East Prussia, and millions of men were being mobilized all over Europe. World War One was a result of a series of diplomatic blunders, secret treaties, and severe misjudgements by many leaders of the intentions of both enemies and allies. It is quite likely that it could have been avoided if better intelligence had been available. Voluntary mutual transparency would be best, but spying is still better than secrecy.

  • Re:Bottom line... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jratcliffe (208809) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @04:59PM (#47707267)

    Much as with credit ratings. All voluntary transactions include a mutually agreeable arbitrator in case of contract dispute. If you fail to fulfill your contract, the arbitrator marks it as such on your contract fulfillment rating. Fail to abide by the arbitrator's corrective directives, and your contract rating falls more severely, to the point you have to accept very bad terms on future contracts until you repair your rating. That's the anarcho-capitalist, totally government-free version of the solution.

    This scenario doesn't do much for the party injured, however. If your roofer caused your house to collapse, the fact that it's going to be a black mark in his book, and make it harder to get contracts going forward, doesn't help you keep the rain out of your living room.

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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