I don’t know if I should blame Obama or the NSA because they are fighting with each other over whether or not Obama even knew about the spy programs. Someone needs to tell the Nobel Peace Prize winner that it begins in one’s own house before you get to spread peace over the planet.
But what have they spread over the planet? When Obama ran for President in 2008, Neocons and some genuine patriots accused him of being too soft on Russia. Obama snorted that the Cold War was over.
But it isn’t over anymore. And it isn’t just with Russia anymore. It turns out that the Cold War has been waged by the United States on everyone. Our “war on terror” programs are now sweeping up allies and heads of state.
James Clapper gave a very eloquent defense of intelligence gathering even on one’s allies’ leaders—thanks to softball question from Mike Rogers.
Clapper is, of course, right that our government has an interest in knowing the intentions of other leaders and needing to confirm their declarations match their intentions. Too bad the American people have no NSA to work for them against people like Obama who constantly lie about their intentions.
But what about methods? Would it be ethical, if the CIA developed an amnesia drug, for them to secretly abduct Angela Merkel, interrogate her (making sure to leave no marks), and then return her with her memory of the event wiped? What if Merkel had a pet dog and the NSA developed a robot duplicate that would record all of Merkel’s actions? Would national security justify killing her dog in order to replace it?
What is wrong in these scenarios is that the first scenario is arguably an act of war. The second is close to it, if not also such a provocation. Basically, Angela Merkel is not just being spied on. Intelligence is not be “gathered” about her. Rather, she is assaulted in these scenarios, in her person and then in her property. They are acts of aggression.
And I’ll bet that Angela thinks her phone is her property too and that it is not supposed to be tampered with or subverted to destroy her privacy.
That’s what I mean by “Cold War.” We are basically committing acts of violence against other people while claiming to be at peace with them. We certainly consider it a violent assault when private citizens do it. We are attacking other countries and expecting those countries to not get upset about it.
If you were friends with your neighbor and, one night, discovered he had been using an upstairs window and telescope to spy into your bedroom, you wouldn’t be friends with him.
You would more or less be at war.
And if you were a teen daughter who found that the neighbor was spying in your bedroom, and then found out your parents knew about the invasion but didn’t warn you because they also tried to spy into the bedroom of your neighbor, you would be both at war with the neighbor and feel betrayed by your parents.
The European people are those children who have finally learned about the behavior of the neighbor and their own parents—the NSA and their own governments. Clapper’s words are not going to cool their anger.