What really bugs me about the Europeans being upset about our spying on their governments is that they almost certainly do it to us. We assume they are trying to get information from us and they’d be idiots not to assume the same about the United States.
Are the Europeans crying crocodile tears?
Senior European officials expressed concern Sunday at reports that U.S. intelligence agents bugged EU offices on both sides of the Atlantic, with some leftist lawmakers calling for concrete sanctions against Washington.
The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said he was “deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of U.S. authorities spying on EU offices” made in a report published Sunday by German news weekly Der Spiegel.
The magazine said the surveillance was carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency, which has recently been the subject of leaks claiming it scanned vast amounts of foreign Internet traffic. The U.S. government has defended its efforts to intercept electronic communications overseas by arguing that this has helped prevent terror attacks at home and abroad.
Schulz said that if the allegations that the NSA bugged European Union offices were confirmed “it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”
Green Party leaders in the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, called for an immediate investigation into the claims and suggested that recently launched negotiations on a trans-Atlantic trade treaty should be put on hold.
They also called for existing U.S.-EU agreements on the exchange of bank transfer and passenger record information to be canceled. Both programs have been labeled as unwarranted infringements of citizens’ privacy by left-wing and libertarian lawmakers in Europe.
In Germany, where criticism of the NSA’s surveillance programs has been particularly vocal, a senior government official accused the United States on Sunday of using Cold War methods against its allies by targeting EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels.
“If the media reports are accurate, then this recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War,” German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. “It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies.”
What’s beyond comprehension is that we’re supposed to believe that the Germans, the French, and any other European country with the technical means to do so, doesn’t use their embassies and consulates to snoop on our government and perhaps even American citizens? The technology is complex, but not beyond the capability of 1st world industrialized nations to master. The ability to intercept phone calls goes back to the 1970’s so it’s not like we’re dealing with radically new technology. Since all phone calls today and many text and emails are beamed via satellite, who’s to say which European country doesn’t tap in and reap the intel?
If the Europeans want us to come clean about our spying activities, I would politely ask that they do the same.