As Americans, if Merkel was forced to do the right thing by US blackmail, we might be OK with that. But we need to think in the long term. Germans, whatever their faults or virtues, do not want their elected leaders to be the puppets of a foreign government. And, if they think a foreign government has control of their leader, then peace between those two countries is going to degrade.
I have no evidence that the US ever blackmailed any leader, but yesterday the New York Times released a story that shows us how easily they could do so, or might have done so.
The N.S.A., in a practice that dates back to the depths of the Cold War and that has never ended, was recording her conversations and those of a range of leaders in Germany and elsewhere, storing them in databases that could be searched later, if the need arose. It is unclear how often they searched the databases for her conversations, if at all.
But once she became the country’s leader, everything she talked about on her personal cellphone — like her support of the Afghan war, the efforts of European allies to halt Iran’s nuclear program, and Germany’s central role in quelling the European financial crisis — took on greater importance for the American eavesdroppers.
How the N.S.A. continued to track Ms. Merkel as she ascended to the top of Germany’s political apparatus illuminates previously undisclosed details about the way the secret spy agency casts a drift net to gather information from America’s closest allies. The phone monitoring is hardly limited to the leaders of countries like Germany, and also includes their top aides and the heads of opposing parties. It is all part of a comprehensive effort to gain an advantage over other nations, both friend and foe.
Clapper says it is all about intelligence, but how would he even know how his intelligence is used? How hard would it be for a US diplomat to be given a file to use to give him leverage over a foreign decision maker?
It needn’t only be blackmail, by the way. What if the reasons scandals hit for some candidates, while others seem to have no problems, is because the NSA spreads information about a target at the most opportune time?
If that doesn’t bother you, I’ll bet it bothers the citizens of other countries who think they live in a democracy where the people of the nation determine their nation’s future.
What should bother you is this: Why would anyone believe that the NSA doesn’t do the same thing for rising political candidates. We have already seen collusion between IRS and Leftist groups to persecute Republicans who don’t support same sex “marriage.” You think the NSA only employs incorruptible neutral professionals? If you listen to what they say about Edward Snowden you know that is logically impossible according to our ruling class’ own testimony! And we already know about NSA agents stalking love interests. You think they’re not following political passions?
It could also be something more official. Jesse Ventura claims that, when he became governor of Minnesota, he was questioned on how he won the election by the CIA. The CIA confirmed the meeting, but not with many details. It would be hard for me to believe the NSA is not as much or more involved than the CIA was back in 1999.
So what confidence can we have that our candidates and elected representatives are not being blackmailed, or that inconvenient information is being released to affect elections—if not now, then in the near future?