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White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

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  • White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

    White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say - latimes.com

    So the administration continues its program of obfuscation, avoidance and denial...SSDD.

    However, the article points out another part of the problem -

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking minority member of the Armed Services Committee, said Congress should consider creating a special select committee to examine U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders.
    Well Sen. McCain, what about surveillance of US citizens? Don't we also deserve a little consideration? I mean, really now, why should we afford foreign heads of state a protection that we aren't willing to give our own citizens? I can see this kind of shortsightedness from the Democrats because it's what they do but now the Republicans are all into it too?

    If we don't clear these statist bastards out of office next year we have only failed ourselves.

  • #2
    Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

    Yup, i mean what about the idea of a special committee to try get a truthful answer on say...Benghazi?

    Of course the Speaker and various GOP idiots see the need to lie and cover up the fact we were shipping arms to Syria, so they won't do it.

    But so long as we are not tapping up the phone of a Libyan dictator i am sure McCain is happy...

    מה מכילות החדשות?


    • #3
      Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

      Of course the White House approved it.

      Of course the White House denied it.

      Of course the media will ignore it.

      They said that if I voted for Mitt Romney last year, that our foreign policy would fall into ruin, and that even our closest allies would hate us.

      Well I did vote for Mitt Romney last year... and 'they' were right!

      מה מכילות החדשות?


      • #4
        Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

        No, they'll just say it was the Bush White House that approved it.

        מה מכילות החדשות?


        • #5
          Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

          This could be a problem for Hillary; spying on our allies, but asleep at the switch when our ambassador is being killed.

          מה מכילות החדשות?


          • #6
            Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

            Originally posted by CYDdharta View Post
            This could be a problem for Hillary; spying on our allies, but asleep at the switch when our ambassador is being killed.
            I'm sure she won't remember anything about it.

            מה מכילות החדשות?


            • #7
              Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

              Originally posted by OldmanDan View Post
              I'm sure she won't remember anything about it.
              Yeah, I can see that. But just have to pull that 3:00 AM phone call ad from her presidential campaign with a backdrop of the burning mission in Libya, that'd about do it I'm thinking. Of course, if you use this president as a benchmark, then she'd be right on target.

              מה מכילות החדשות?


              • #8
                Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                Well, the NSA has been documented to spy on much more than just phone conversations of our leaders. Which are even if intercepted, often coded (since our leaders may be many things, but not that naive) and require insider knowledge to have intelligence value. The NSA has also been exposed to fish private online data of millions of private citizens or things like industry secrets (especially in the case of Germany). Which is why Merkel, who during her reelection campaign has tried to play down these concerns, is now carefully portraying herself as "one case in millions". And damage to foreign relations is not the only thing why Americans should better care. Actually the affair around the chancellors cellphone is quite telling how the US conduct intelligence.
                It is still unclear what Merkel is more angry about. The phone hacking as such, Obamas (recorded) lies on the issue ( unfortunately made in public, to her on stage, in Berlin and thereby also creating a political trust issue over "no spying against the chancellor or german citizens"), his and his administrations inability to at least keep it a secret ( and at least spare her the public embarrasement), and the USs constant denial of responsibility ( "wasn´t aware" (Obama), "things happened on autopilot" (John Kerry). I don´t think it is neccesary to point out in detail what kind of impression this creates here about the formidable leadership and intelligence oversight in Washington. And what kind of questions it raises about the value of public statements by the US administration even to key allies. The breakdown of the german-american "no spy" negotiations ( due to lack of concessions by the Obama administration) fits in that picture. It was expected and barely commented here.
                Spying on hostile leaders/countries is what intelligence agencies are for. Spying on friendly leaders though amounts to a breach of trust ( especially if your governement makes assurances to the contrary) and has to viewed under a cost/gain calculation. If the US president would be seriously not involved and not aware of this kind of operations than something would be seriously rotten in America. And that HAS to concern Americans as well.
                And if he was than it is at least pretty unwise policy to embarass and alienate a leader like Merkel of all cases like that. Who has been one of Americas most reliable friends in Europe, even when that was not exactly a match winning topic ( Iraq war, defence for the NSA up until this summer ? ).
                Especially since Merkel has emerged stronger than ever from the last elections and Obama will have to deal with her for the rest of his term. And the US have a considerable political wish list for Germany (from "stimulating" the global economy till cooperation in the war on terrorism etc.)
                That the potential huge political damage from this affair has been understood at least by some is indicated by visits of american leaders like Jim Sensenbrenner ( Republican, one of the authors of the Patriot act and hardly a dove on security issues) to the European Parliament :

                Jim Sensenbrenner takes NSA reform case to European parliament | World news | theguardian.com

                a bipartisan group of american lawmakers supposed to visit Berlin and Brussels this week, explicitly on their own initiative :

                US Senators to Visit Europe and Address Concerns About NSA - SPIEGEL ONLINE

                and also John Kerry has announced an upcoming Berlin visit to "mend fences".

                And what now ? Merkel has not taken any retaliation measures officially (so far ?). Such as expulsion of american diplomats (though warnings have been made), adding the US to a list of "counter-intelligence" targets, killing or at least delaying american/european free trade talks (that Obama has declared one of his priorities), unilaterally scrapping Cold war treaties that allow US intelligence to operate freely in Germany, cancel data sharing agreements (like SWIFT) or offering Edward Snowden asylum (discussed even by members of the governement). Merkel is more the cooly calculating accountant type of politician, and emotional reactions are not very likely from her. A failure in Washington at damage control, at rebuilding trust between governements, at reinvigorating cooperation on common policy goals ( and there are numerous ones), may still result in huge damage to american aspirations with regards to Germany and Europe (on relations with Russia and China, security, the global economy etc.). And that can have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences.
                Last edited by Voland; 11-19-2013, 02:17 AM.

                מה מכילות החדשות?


                • #9
                  Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                  Well one thing is for certain, if it's possible for Owebama to fail at something, he's not only going to do so, it'll be spectacular.

                  מה מכילות החדשות?


                  • #10
                    Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                    Ahm ....

                    Haven't we been spying on our allies for, like, EVER?

                    I read an article recently from a member of Israel's intelligence community: He was suggesting Americans are making too big a deal of this. From his perspective, it's been going on between allies for decades.

                    מה מכילות החדשות?


                    • #11
                      Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                      The federal government spying on allies overseas is not a crime. The problem with it is getting caught. And having details exposed.

                      McCains bluster show he's working for the international oligarchy or is just blowing hot air to fool the electorate into. Imagining he's "doing something".

                      מה מכילות החדשות?


                      • #12
                        Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                        When they say the White House approved something, they are probably talking about Valarie Jarrett. She seems to be the one in charge in the White House.

                        מה מכילות החדשות?


                        • #13
                          Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                          The US have quite understandable and obvious motives to seek reliable intelligence on where Mrs. Merkel intends to go on issues like Russia, China, Iran, or the global economy to give a few examples. Since the US have lost political clout in Berlin since the end of the Cold War, and modern Germanys policy interests don´t always coincide with Americas (also as competitors on global markets). No doubt about that. But even taking that into account, the revealed amount of US spying especially on Germany, on citizens, businesses and political leaders is quite enormous between supposedly friendly nations. Be that as it may, tapping a friendly leaders cellphone presents a serious breach of trust. That breach of trust is more serious if the US president has publicly assured that leader of the contrary and made that assurance in a press conference with that leader televised in the country in question. There may still be reasons to do it. But the value of that tap has to be weighed against the potentially heavy political cost if that tap is discovered. Since you are also sending a devastating political signal in that case and expose allies that you may need soon again with their pants down ( politically speaking). There may therefore also be reasons better not to do it. And possibly less slippery ways to get the necessary info. In any case, spying on allies is an enormously delicate decision with potentially grave consequences. And therefore should reasonably be made only at the top of the chain of command, that means the US president or at least his security adviser in your case. If we have the US president claiming now not to have been aware of what the NSA was doing (since that is what Obama has been telling Merkel), than that means in the US the intelligence service approves such operations WITHOUT consulting the president, right ? That means either your "men in grey suits" remote-control far more decision making than even some conspiracy theorists imagined or your president is (again) lying like a bazaar trader (the denial of responsibility is a lot more embarassing than the spying as such). Neither is good news for America AND her allies, especially if the current attempts at international damage control and also reform of the NSA fail.
                          Last edited by Voland; 11-20-2013, 02:01 PM.

                          מה מכילות החדשות?


                          • #14
                            Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                            Originally posted by Good1 View Post
                            Ahm ....

                            Haven't we been spying on our allies for, like, EVER?

                            I read an article recently from a member of Israel's intelligence community: He was suggesting Americans are making too big a deal of this. From his perspective, it's been going on between allies for decades.
                            Well, that's the claim now in Obamaland...

                            However there is no proof....only conjecture and it presents and another distraction of "It's Bush's fault".

                            The point now is that this spying comes after Obama stood next to the German Chancellor and swore it would no and could not happen. She ran an election and won, narrowly on her tight relations and "trust" with the US.

                            That trust with US Allies has gone the same way as the trust behind the words "if you like your plan, you will keep it.'

                            In other words, no one among the US tightest allies, NATO members believes a word the lying prick says anymore. I doubt that's a good foundation for a successful relationship.

                            מה מכילות החדשות?


                            • #15
                              Re: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

                              Originally posted by FearandLoathing View Post

                              The point now is that this spying comes after Obama stood next to the German Chancellor and swore it would no and could not happen. She ran an election and won, narrowly on her tight relations and "trust" with the US.

                              That trust with US Allies has gone the same way as the trust behind the words "if you like your plan, you will keep it.'

                              In other words, no one among the US tightest allies, NATO members believes a word the lying prick says anymore. I doubt that's a good foundation for a successful relationship.

                              Well, actually she won mightily ( missing the absolute majority of votes only by a small margin). And the motives for that are largely related to the economy. But handling of international relations was a factor as well. Mrs. Merkels predecessor Schrצder presided over the arguably lowest point in german-american post-war relations, the Iraq war. When Merkel came to power in 2005 she not only managed to repair official relations amazingly fast, she also often took broadsides for her outspoken "pro-americanism". It has been speculated wether that is more due to her upbringing in communist eastern Germany, where she cultivated a somewhat idolized image of the US, based on illegal Hollywood movies and smuggled music records or to her sober sense of setting foreign policy priorities ( her most recent biography quotes her as saying "Germany should neverever end up on opposite sides of the fence with the EU, Israel AND the US). Be that as it may, Merkel has defended the Iraq war, welcomed G.W. Bush for a roasted boar and a ceg of beer at a baltic seaside resort close to her home when many of her countrymen did not exactly approve, or reminded them that intelligence cooperation with the US has also helped to derail terrorist plots, in Europe AND in Germany. She has also called Mr. Obamas "no spying" assurances "credible" on more than one occasion, at least for public consumption ( she most likely regrets that statement, since it is now used against her). To give a few examples. Merkel could have had an easier ride on these topics , but chose not to.
                              But since both are also leaders of their countries this affair is less about personalities and their feelings, hurt or not, than about a sense of mutual trust that both need to sucessfully cooperate on shared interests and policy challenges. And that trust is quite clearly in short supply after the "cellphone" affair, the lies and the fog around it, and the following revelation that most of the surveillance was conducted from inside the US embassy at Paris square in downtown Berlin, in the direct neighbourhood of the chancellery, the parliament and the Brandenburg gate, where Mr. Obama spoke.
                              That means even if spying on Merkel did help to produce useful intelligence, that has to be balanced against the political fallout from this affair which may set US interests back again ( and that is why it is a delicate tool to play with). Actually the cellphone story says (so far) more about America than about Germany. Either president Obama was seriously unaware of the NSA hacking a key foreign leaders phone or he ordered it ( contrary to his statements). In the second case it is unclear how a relationship about more than photo-ops could be rebuilt with him (transatlantic lying to cover up political misjudgement), which would be pretty bad, and the first case would be probably worse. Since it would raise the question who is actually in charge of these decisions in your country ? The intelligence agency WITHOUT the nod of the president ? And that is what Americas allies are asking as well. This scandal is less a scandal because of the spying as such, but also and notably because of the botched attempts by the Obama administration at containing it, that are continously raising more questions. Obama has not even taken political responsibility, which would at least kept him some respect.
                              How would Americans react if Germany was caught invading the privacy of millions of US citizens, fishing business and industry secrets, running a huge spy hub inside its Washington embassy and tapping the inner communications of the US president as well ? They would demand "action", right ?
                              Last edited by Voland; 11-21-2013, 02:27 AM.

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