Smart power: US allies “stunned” at scope of NSA surveillance

posted at 8:41 am on June 11, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Who can blame them?  As the scope of the NSA surveillance programs became a little clearer since their exposure last week, the ostensible targets abroad turned out to be a little unhappy with Uncle Big Brother, too.  German chancellor Angela Merkel will lead the EU on its opposition to NSA snooping when Barack Obama travels to Berlin next week:

European leaders, describing themselves as stunned by revelations of an extensive U.S. surveillance program that included their citizens, moved Monday to demand more information from the U.S. government and said they would discuss ways to bolster their already stringent privacy laws. …

The discontent from Europe pointed to the breadth of fallout from the affair and to the potential for fresh strains between the United States and allies wary of American intrusiveness.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to raise the issue when she meets in Berlin with President Obama next week, a spokesman said, and other German officials said they were concerned by the apparent monitoring of their citizens. Top officials of the 27-nation European Union also said they would press the U.S. government on the matter at bilateral meetings this week.

The PRISM surveillance program, portions of which were described in recent days by The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper in Britain, makes clear that U.S. intelligence services now have the power to vacuum up data about telecommunications traffic across the world. An apparent snapshot from an NSA Boundless Informant database published on the Guardian’s Web site indicated that in March 2013, foreign intelligence gathering was primarily focused on the Middle East. For that month, more pieces of intelligence were gathered in Germany than anywhere else in Europe.

As the Washington Post’s Michael Birnbaum points out, Germans have only had a generation as a whole to be free of the kind of snooping that took place for almost 70 continuous years in East Germany.  After the Gestapo and the Stasi, Germans aren’t keen on government probing into their private affairs, and they’re even less keen on foreigners doing the snooping.  It doesn’t help when the President of the United States defends the program at home by saying, Hey, we’re not snooping on you … we’re snooping on everyone else in the world!

The EU has already been hostile to American dominance in the Internet and computer industry, taking Microsoft, Apple, and Google to court on anti-trust complaints over the last several years.  Not coincidentally, these are also the major partners of the NSA on PRISM and other collection programs. Merkel and other leaders are likely to get a lot more hostile to operations of American Internet providers in Europe, and might start thinking about subsidizing serious competitors as a defensive measure to keep NSA from snooping on their data.

Nevertheless, the White House says that the NSA programs are here to stay:

The Obama administration considered whether to charge a government contractor with leaking classified surveillance secrets while it defended the broad U.S. spy program that it says keeps America safe from terrorists. …

A senior U.S. intelligence official on Monday said there were no plans to scrap the programs that, despite the backlash, continue to receive widespread if cautious support within Congress. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive security issue.

We’ll see.

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workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 9:52 AM

If all of that doesn’t constitute tyranny and oppression of our civil rights, what does?

Galt2009 on June 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Xactly.

Orwell’s 1984 is selling like hotcakes on Amazon as people try and catch up.

It’s interesting how many people are flocking to work for gubmint cause it’s a job.

The loyalty to the state is the objective…turning American against American is the strategy.

There is no R v D anymore.

There are Statists (Political or Actual, because they have to feed their families) and there are Dissidents that will either unite to preserve the Constitution or will remain fractured and eventually singled out by region for re-education.

Old Formula.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Booz Allen says NSA leaker Edward Snowden terminated on June 10 -
@BoozAllen

Story metadata:
Submitted 8 mins ago from http://www.boozallen.com by editor
=====================================================

canopfor on June 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM

exactly

flackcatcher on June 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

well said

CoffeeLover on June 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Could be a resurgence of old school communications…Snail Mail & printing presses.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

…because of paranoid, misinformed people…

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Paranoid, misinformed people who the IRS spies on at will. How low will you sink, and how dark are those blinders?

MadisonConservative on June 11, 2013 at 10:05 AM

flackcatcher on June 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM
(Sigh) There is.

flackcatcher on June 11, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Galt2009 on June 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Xactly.

Orwell’s 1984 is selling like hotcakes on Amazon as people try and catch up.

It’s interesting how many people are flocking to work for gubmint cause it’s a job.

The loyalty to the state is the objective…turning American against American is the strategy.

There is no R v D anymore.

There are Statists (Political or Actual, because they have to feed their families) and there are Dissidents that will either unite to preserve the Constitution or will remain fractured and eventually singled out by region for re-education.

Old Formula.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM

It’s truly amazing – in my ‘discussions’ with Proggies on other sites the best they can do is a simple denial that our rights were suppressed. Which is hardly surprising since it’s their side who’s doing the oppression as it usually is.

It’s even more shocking that some are proud of the Dear Liar’s oppression.

But it’s also interesting that Proggies here don’t want to admit to their support of Obama’s Police state – even though that is what they are clearly doing as demonstrated by my multiple and un-responded to inquires on the previous page.

As to that some have to participate in this oppression for economic reasons – it should be clear that it’s coming down to the only peaceful solution will be ‘going Galt’.

Galt2009 on June 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Last night on FB, Treach posted “We’re winning.” I sure hope he’s right because lately it looks more like everyone is losing.

I can hardly keep up.

Bob's Kid on June 11, 2013 at 10:18 AM

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 8:52 AM

What is wrong with you?

Anti-Control on June 11, 2013 at 8:57 AM

Bit by painful, ugly bit, bluegill continues to out herself as a good little serf and a leftist.

Solaratov on June 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Eric Holder still having his job shows just how valuable bluegill’s “oversight” is.

MadisonConservative on June 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Could be a resurgence of old school communications…Snail Mail & printing presses.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Every piece of mail is photographed.

weaselyone on June 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Am I crazy here?

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Magic 8-Ball says: “YES!”

Solaratov on June 11, 2013 at 10:27 AM

…because of paranoid, misinformed people…

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Here’s the problem with your labels.

Congressional hearings have proven the facts of executive agency abuse on ordinary citizens to oppress their constitutional rights through coercion and harassment.

In the big picture…

The Federal agencies have done this on a regional level to effect private sector businesses and industries in targeted regions. In the Red States or right to work states these agencies seek to break the economies of these states.

In the Blue States the economies are held captive to entrench stratification of classes and that individual states dependence on Federal support which effects that state’s constitutional autonomy…effectively rendering that state to being a vassal to a central power and their representatives being entrenched insiders loyal to the central federal power.

In the specifics or detailed picture…

Individual citizens and their groups (Political,Religious,Businesses and Social Activist) have been targeted for coercion…and anybody aware of this active coercion by the State is coerced passively (Fear of being concerned, involved & subsequently labeled & targeted)

So any American with a capability to reasonably follow events and apply a simple strategic formula based on a study of history and doing a basic comparison of the mechanical tactics used in the strategy is now a mis-informed paranoiac?

Hardly…But then for many people…Ignorance is a choice of the will and a hope for bliss.

Then again it’s hard to achieve bliss with the boot of the State on your face.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Could be a resurgence of old school communications…Snail Mail & printing presses.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Every piece of mail is photographed.

weaselyone on June 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Aren’t they busy…

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Is Krauthammer also just a fascist sympathizer? Is he a rube?

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Sadly, he sometimes is.

Krauthammer wrote a 2006 article in National Review, urging Obama to run for president, and predicting (even guaranteeing, IIRC) that if he did run, he would lose.

Krauthammer also wrote a column in 2008 in which he described Obama as a “first rate intellect” and a man with a “first rate temperament.”

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Angela, you delectable slice of hot Aryan sweetie pie, you know what I like even without a match from NSA.gov.

Seth Halpern on June 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Oh good. Europe is freer than the U.S. now. Hey, but if it can save even one life…

Isn’t there a German history lesson about a guy who just wanted to make Germans safer?

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

CoffeeLover on June 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM
Thank you. I have spent most of my life serving this country in one form or another. My first experience with this technology was in Iraq. It gave our people a small but critical edge. Like any tool, care has to be taken in its use. Otherwise, the effect would be like lighten up a nuke in a city, if not carefully controlled. We still do not understand the power of the tools we have harnessed. Today is only a very small example, of what can happen when the tools of information are misused, or abused for power. We, as Americans have a chance to fix this, so future leaders won’t be so eager to abuse this again.

flackcatcher on June 11, 2013 at 10:51 AM

The potential for abuse is there, of course. We must have oversight. But we would be idiots not to use this technology and surveillance if it could foil terrorist attacks.

bluegill on June 11, 2013 at 9:02 AM

So, where would you draw the line in stopping terrorism? Is there no burden too great? Right now, in order to theoretically detect some unspecific threat, we:
submit to searches in airports, including physical pat-downs
limit what we take onto airplanes
have all of our phone records collected
have all of the contents of our emails collected
have security cameras in more and more locations

We could go further, of course. If we banned cars and trucks, terrorists wouldn’t be able to get around freely, and wouldn’t be able to create car bombs. If we destroyed every gun in America, then no home-grown terrorist would be able to get one. If we have police investigate whenever the NSA detects the words “bomb” or “blow up” in a phone, email or street conversation, then we might stop a future attack.

Are those steps too far, if it can save even one life?

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 10:55 AM

It’s truly amazing – in my ‘discussions’ with Proggies on other sites the best they can do is a simple denial that our rights were suppressed. Which is hardly surprising since it’s their side who’s doing the oppression – as it usually is.

It’s even more shocking that some are proud of the Dear Liar’s oppression.

But it’s also interesting that Proggies here don’t want to admit to their support of Obama’s Police state – even though that is what they are clearly doing as demonstrated by my multiple and un-responded to inquires on the previous page.

As to that some have to participate in this oppression for economic reasons – it should be clear that it’s coming down to the only peaceful solution will be ‘going Galt’.

Galt2009 on June 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Most of these folks have been unwittingly conditioned to Doublethink through a public school education and the steady removal of contrasting voices within those systems as demographics shift.

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. – Orwell. 1984

This is accomplished by undermining the traditional institutions that bind communities beyond the original tribal or ethnic affinities (Churches) and protect those in the communities from coercion by either the aristocracy acting as agents of power or the secular state. Church communities in the USA have evolved separately in the USA because of the constitutional protections that prevented an established State Church vulnerable to State Coercion.

The fundamental duty of churches in the social contract is to bind communities through acts of charity and shared interests and act as social morality critics…especially as critics of the State since the State is prone to abuse it’s citizens through exertion of power.

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. – George Orwell

By replacing the Priest or Rabbi with a scientist as the go-to for Moral Authority…The State adjusts the social morals relatively.

When a society loses the balance between these traditional entities…the moral compass becomes skewed since Truth is no longer Universal…but Relative based on the continuing scientific experimentation.

For example:

Crime becomes a psychological sickness…so Criminals never complete their sentence because the justice system that used to allow for fundamental redemption is replaced by a secular scientific formula from which there is no escape since the label is no longer based in a concept of redemption.

The concept of redemption in civil justice is a moral concept that is based in Natural Law…which is based on our western traditions of Judaism and Christianity.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. – George Orwell

Political chaos is connected with the decay of language… one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end.
George Orwell

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

For example:

Crime becomes a psychological sickness…so Criminals never complete their sentence because the justice system that used to allow for fundamental redemption is replaced by a secular scientific formula from which there is no escape since the label is no longer based in a concept of redemption.

The concept of redemption in civil justice is a moral concept that is based in Natural Law…which is based on our western traditions of Judaism and Christianity.

CS Lewis wrote some excellent essays on this development and the potential outcome.

We are seeing this happen in our country today.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Oh good. Europe is freer than the U.S. now. Hey, but if it can save even one life…

Isn’t there a German history lesson about a guy who just wanted to make Germans safer?

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Yeah.

Germany is propping up the entire EU economy…Hence we see the reactionary rise of nationalist political groups.

It is starting to dawn on regional citizens that the autonomy of their countries has been sacrificed to a central EU authority within which they have no real or actual representation.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Anyone who still has the balls to call skeptics of government “paranoid” after all we have learned deserves to live the rest of their life in servitude to the state with no rights.

MadisonConservative on June 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM

Fascism is good if it ‘keeps us safe?’

slickwillie2001 on June 11, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Anyone who isn’t disturbed by what this government is doing isn’t paying attention, isn’t very bright, or, perhaps like bluegill, is hopelessly naïve.

“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. “That’s going to be very, very powerful,” Waters said. “That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”

The only other alternative is that the person is, like corruptocrat Maxine Waters, confident that they’ll be among the beneficiaries, rather than the targets, of the massive data mining.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Fascism is good if it ‘keeps us safe?’

slickwillie2001 on June 11, 2013 at 11:16 AM

The NSA doesn’t like it when you call them Facists. They’re reading this right now, so maybe you should apologize before something you get audited.

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM

The only other alternative is that the person is, like corruptocrat Maxine Waters, confident that they’ll be among the beneficiaries, rather than the targets, of the massive data mining.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

I think that’s the starting point for most Democrats. They believe that, on balance, they’ll get more out of the system than it takes. And some on the right seem to be buying into that, with the “well, security is worth it” meme.

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Yes, except that it’s clear after the Boston Marathon bombings that “security” is the last thing they’ll get out of this massive spying program.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Are those steps too far, if it can save even one life?

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Well, there’s always the NATIONAL ID CARD, complete with all biometric information.

Or, how about an “INTERNAL PASSPORT”; complete with “visas” issued by your local police as “permission slips” to travel more than fifty miles from your home?

Lil barry is just getting started on controlling the population…
to keep us safe from the terrorists.

Solaratov on June 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Solaratov on June 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Yes, I was thinking earlier that at some point, they’ll want to outlaw cash, because with debit and credit cards, it’s so much easier for the gov’t to keep track of us peons and our purchases. And big business, of course, wants that information about who’s buying what, and where they’re buying it, so that they can target their ads. The Dims, who need businesses to keep complying with all the government’s illegal requests for info on Americans’ phones, computers, etc., want the info so they can win/steal elections.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Bunch of Wingers!!

Watching Faux NEWS!!!

The truth is Obama has restored the respect we have around the world!!

Why can’t those wingers understand that we were a LAUGHING STOCK under Bush!!

Axeman on June 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

“But I am disappointed to see many people here, who would have rightly supported this under Bush, now want to hold up Snowden as a saint because they think he will hurt Obama.”

I was ambivalent about the program under President Bush and that has mutated to active opposition under President Obama. To my mind, extraordinary measures such as the Patriot Act should be time-limited and restricted to wartime. But this “war on terror” , like the “war on drugs” has no definite end point. It is the “new normal”. We’re never going to be totally free of sociopaths killing in the name of religion or whatever else. Which means we need peacetime protocols to address the issue.

Also, we’re out of Iraq and we’re leaving Afghanistan. A lot of the apparatus of war is there for a war that’s no longer being fought, but things like IRS records are being deployed with increasing frequency against domestic American citizens.

Finally, as far as I’m concerned any government policy which depends on the government being moral is a bad policy. If it’s a bad idea under President Obama OR President Bush it’s a bad idea period. If it takes having an opposition party screwing you to draw your attention to how bad an idea is, that doesn’t mean it magically becomes a good idea when it’s your party in power. It just means that you made a mistake that you need to correct, for the freedom of everyone.

Reading this thread and others here — here in Virginia we do not have political party registration, but I’m just about at the point where I flip my internal self-identification from “Republican” to “Libertarian”. It seems to me there are plenty of Republicans who love the idea of an all-powerful police state so long as it’s being used against “terrorism”, never you mind that increasingly the definition of terrorism the government is using does NOT include just Islamist radicals.

I want more freedom, more limited government, separation of powers, no illegal search and seizure, and I don’t want to give up two hundred years of freedom just because murderers exist in the world. Murder and sedition existed back in the 1860s, but somehow we managed to avoid becoming a police state permanently back then.

pendell2 on June 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Yes, except that it’s clear after the Boston Marathon bombings that “security” is the last thing they’ll get out of this massive spying program.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Those aren’t the terrorists they are looking for.

bitsy on June 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Yes, I was thinking earlier that at some point, they’ll want to outlaw cash, because with debit and credit cards, it’s so much easier for the gov’t to keep track of us peons and our purchases.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM

It’s also easier for it to come up “Purchase Denied”.

Just like the reason that libs might champion electric cars, fueled by dirty coal, instead of cleaner gas ones is that if you get all your energy out of your outlet, its easier for them to throttle back your allotment of carbon.

Axeman on June 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

I want more freedom, more limited government, separation of powers, no illegal search and seizure, and I don’t want to give up two hundred years of freedom just because murderers exist in the world. Murder and sedition existed back in the 1860s, but somehow we managed to avoid becoming a police state permanently back then.

pendell2 on June 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Yes, but then in the 1860′s our government wasn’t importing foreign murderers and terrorists into our country at the rate they are now. We have Dearbornistan in Michigan, Little Somalia in Minnesota, and radical Islamist schools and training camps being operated in northern Virginia — all because our idiotic government worships at the altar of “diversity” and thinks “patriot” is a dirty word.

Did you notice that the one terror attack the federal government claims it prevented through the PRISM spying involved an Afghani refugee? It would have been a lot easier to stop that planned terror attack if, instead of spying on millions of innocent Americans, our government had not invited the Afghani terrorist wannabe to take up residence in the U.S. in the first place!

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Those aren’t the terrorists they are looking for.

bitsy on June 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Right, and the only kind of “security” that PRISM enhances is job security for corrupt politicians (who then help to line the pockets of corrupt big business).

Eisenhower once warned us of the dangers of the military/industrial complex. It’s now morphed into the big government/big business complex, and it’s about to devour us all.

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I want more freedom, more limited government, separation of powers, no illegal search and seizure, and I don’t want to give up two hundred years of freedom just because murderers exist in the world. Murder and sedition existed back in the 1860s, but somehow we managed to avoid becoming a police state permanently back then.

pendell2 on June 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Yes, but then in the 1860′s our government wasn’t importing foreign murderers and terrorists into our country at the rate they are now. We have Dearbornistan in Michigan, Little Somalia in Minnesota, and radical Islamist schools and training camps being operated in northern Virginia — all because our idiotic government worships at the altar of “diversity” and thinks “patriot” is a dirty word.

Did you notice that the one terror attack the federal government claims it prevented through the PRISM spying involved an Afghani refugee? It would have been a lot easier to stop that planned terror attack if, instead of spying on millions of innocent Americans, our government had not invited the Afghani terrorist wannabe to take up residence in the U.S. in the first place!

AZCoyote on June 11, 2013 at 12:15 PM

The Fascists will favor those accustomed to the Authority.

The Fascists will undermine autonomy of states…subsidiarities…organizations and businesses through centralization and consolidation of power.

The Fascists will try to make the citizenry dependent on the Authority for daily staples and/or employment…and marginalize any dissenters.

Another Great Leap Forward mechanic.

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 12:35 PM

The NSA doesn’t like it when you call them Facists. They’re reading this right now, so maybe you should apologize before something you get audited.

hawksruleva on June 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM

You’re right.

I’ll say Good Morning to the NSA…Our Fascist Overlords.

It’s not their fault…they just take orders from IL Duce after all.

Won’t matter much anyhow as they will soon change the definition of Fascism to be something not aligned with it’s historical meaning.

They’re quite good at that…look at what they’ve already re-defined…

Marriage
Female
Gender
Truth
Natural Law
Inalienable Rights
Warrants
Co-Conspirator
Journalism
Mother
Father
Liberal
Republican
Columbus
Accountability

It’s a long list that keeps growing…

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 12:44 PM

It would have to be showboating by “us allies” because they do exactly the same thing. What they are likely “stunned” by is the SPECULATION about NSA surveillance. I am willing to bet it is not as widespread as some people are making it out to be. They are just going off on “worst case” tangents.

crosspatch on June 11, 2013 at 12:45 PM

It’s also easier for it to come up “Purchase Denied”.
Axeman on June 11, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Or worse.

How about your funds disappeared because of some (insert nationality in the blank) hacker(s) criminals…and we’re working on that.

Sure…Maybe but how do you know?

workingclass artist on June 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM

We should not let the rest of the world dictate to us.

gerrym51 on June 11, 2013 at 1:09 PM

The cheering stupid world deserves all the royal Obama flueking.

You fools, I told you how he’ll disappoint you. Schadenfreude pure!!!

Schadenfreude on June 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

…describing themselves as stunned…

i know, riiighttt

it’s like when i sse my little boy walking about with a sagging diaper. i’m always stunned that he’s pooped in it.

stunned, i say, and amazed

devadevadasa on June 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

see, that is

devadevadasa on June 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

They’re stunned that Zero has peeps reading their mail.

Germans are referring to this as the US-Stassi. Russia has offered the leaker possible asylum.

I think they would just like to debrief him.

dogsoldier on June 11, 2013 at 2:12 PM

So Europe is now crying about the actions of the statist that they helped to elevate to power? Maybe the surveillance began after his glorious speech at the Brandeburg Gate? Idiots, one and all.

BTW, the claims that spying was/ should be limited to foreigners obviously doesn’t play well in foreign capitals. The correct way to cast this is to rely on “probable cause” in all cases.

But the idiots in Washington DC, I guess will never sense their own stupidity.

virgo on June 14, 2013 at 1:41 AM

Comment pages: 1 2