Feeds

back to article PRISM leaks: WTF, you don't spy on your friends, splutters EU

Berlin has accused Washington of treating it "like a Cold War enemy" after it emerged that US spooks spied on targets from friendly European countries. Vice-president of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, told BBC: Of course it is a shock and it's not acceptable at all. It's not acceptable because it is a friendly …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Silver badge
Big Brother

"We are no longer in the Cold War."

Should we be worried here that Merkel implies that it would have been acceptable back then? Or did no-one tell her that Germany re-unified?

And of course there'd be no need to bug the UK anyway, as we seem to do as we're told by them and believe everything they tell us. Or at least our lords and masters do.

6
6
P_0

Re: "We are no longer in the Cold War."

I'm pretty sure US intelligence officials regularly sit in on UK intelligence meetings, meaning there is not much to spy on since they pretty much know it all any way.

1
1
Holmes

Re: "We are no longer in the Cold War."

Merkel would know all about that, being a former GDR party apparatchik. Some say a plant.

Her wikipedia entry is an unsurpassed masterpiece in hagiography.

I'd be more annoyed if we found out that the vast budgets the intelligence agencies have were being spent on anything other than spying and, as the old, saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

6
6
Coat

Not News

Is this really a surprise?

Mine's the one with 'Spying for Dummies' in the pocket

7
3
Silver badge
Joke

Re: Not News

You got the wrong book - the one you want is "Spying on Dummies".

11
0
Silver badge
Meh

Re: Not News

Not News

I wonder what counts as news today?

A new Lohan event?

Lizards discovered during a politician's lobotomy?

Someone denies the Holocaust sotto voce in a bar in Devonshire?

5
7
Silver badge

Re: Not News

Personally I think it's news when the entire justification (since 9/11) for this wire-tapping is TERRORISM.

I don't recall anyone saying anything along the lines of

"We must make sure we have the upper hand when negotiating trade agreements with the EU in order to prevent terrorism".

It's all bollocks and you can't believe a word they say.

22
2

Re: Not News

Devonshire? someone changed the map of England while I've been away?

3
2

@SRC

The US (and by proxy the UK) has been in a perpetual state of "War" since the 1940's

First it was Nazis

Then It was Commies

Now it's HurrDurr Terrorism

Throw in a few Sadams and Norks to fill out the gaps.

It's nice to always have some sort of external threat to blame your domestic policy on, especially if it's something suitably intangible and/or un-quantifiable like alternative systems of government or Islam.

14
2
PJI
Alert

Re: Not News

Devonshire is thet shire often abbreviated to just, Devon. Once third largest county. Just before Cornwall at the bottom, far left. I grew up there and still have family there. I suppose you think Shropshire is really called Salop and Yorkhire Yorks and Hanpshire Hants. Daft grockel.

2
2
Bronze badge
Holmes

Re: Not News

It's not news that diplomats are spied on. The Vienna Convention contains a number of loopholes, I assume deliberately, to allow for that.

The convention does list some things that are supposed to be "inviolable". One of these is "the official correspondence of the mission". However, it also explicitly allows for that correspondence to be conducted in code or cipher - hence, it implicitly assumes that "inviolable" doesn't necessarily mean "will not be read by third parties".

There's a fine line there. But really, what's going on here is that the Europeans have got cold feet about a free trade deal at this politically difficult time, and Snowden's revelation is an excuse for dumping it.

1
1
Facepalm

Re: Not News

Devon has never EVER been known as "Devonshire" (except by the ignorant). It isn't a shire nor was it ever.

Your analogy of Shropshire and Yorksire is laughable (and puts you firmly in the aforementioned exception).

I don't mind foreigner making the mistake, but for someone claiming to have "grown up there" to get it so wrong just beggars belief.

1
1
Silver badge

Sauce for the goose

> bugging friends is unacceptable

Isn't that exactly what citizens keep telling their governments whenever a new, more intrusive, form of surveillance is announced.

36
0

Re: Sauce for the goose

Some years ago, a US trade delegation deliberately said some things in a location that they suspected was bugged.

The French government was actually upset when it turned out it was a deliberate setup to stuff a French company.

10
1
Bronze badge
Childcatcher

Re: Sauce for the goose

Isn't that exactly what citizens keep telling their governments whenever a new, more intrusive, form of surveillance is announced.

It's not spying if you are required by law to turn yourself in. It also helps keep the government's budget small as they are freed from having to send someone to your residence to install monitoring equipment. If you are compelled to do it yourself, it's that much less out of your pocket in taxes.

0
0

Re: Sauce for the goose

"""

Isn't that exactly what citizens keep telling their governments whenever a new, more intrusive, form of surveillance is announced.

"""

there's a difference, you know? citizens telling their governments is how things are supposed to be.

but in this case them, the government, were surveilled and that's clearly unacceptable. furthermore they had no idea, which is just shaming. and they weren't invited (obviously), which is a disgrace.

i mean how come americans have all the toys and get to play soldiers and stuff. europe is a power too! (one of these days we're find out power of exactly what, and then they'll see)

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Sauce for the goose

Please use a capital letter when starting a new sentance and for proper nouns, such as Europe.

Thank you.

5
2
Facepalm

Re: Sauce for the goose

@AC "sentance"

McKean's law!

6
0
Silver badge

starting a new sentance

Was it a capital offence?

4
1
Gold badge
Unhappy

Re: Sauce for the goose

"> bugging friends is unacceptable

Isn't that exactly what citizens keep telling their governments whenever a new, more intrusive, form of surveillance is announced."

But that's different.

Under the Newspeak dictionary the term "Citizen," is replaced by "Suspect."

Your assistance (or lack of) in this matter will be noted citizen suspect.

(Signed) MinLove.

3
1
Flame

Re: Sauce for the goose

This is what happens with lack of oversight, plus politicians holding meetings behind closed doors. You can't trust f---ing politicians any further than you can throw them....

3
0

Re: Sauce for the goose

And there's long-standing accusations that the NSA help out Boeing etc:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON#Controversy

1
0
Bronze badge

Re: Sauce for the goose

[ citation needed ]

1
0
Black Helicopters

Well I would post a comment...

But at this rate, they probably already know what I am going to say.

10
0
Silver badge

Why the need for spying anyway?

They can find out what terrorist actions are planned from the undercover cops who seem to be the prime movers in just about every UK activist group.

Such nefarious activities ranging of course from writing leaflets, to asking police to hold an enquiry. Is there no end to terrorist iniquity?

9
2
Silver badge
Pint

So..

When the Americans demanded access to every bit of privacy sensitive information regarding EU citizens then there was no problem at all. I've never been to the US and quite frankly with the current state of affairs I also wouldn't want to go there, but even so the US government still wanted to gain access to my bank accounts. We all might be terrists after all.

But now, when its happening to the upper brass themselves, all of a sudden we're in a panic. How typical.

To be honest, given the -IMO- paranoia state of the US I can to some extend understand that they're bugging buildings in Washington. I don't agree with it, but I can see where it's coming from. In fact, I think it was to be expected. After all; its not as private as an embassy.

Still, the rumours that they even infiltrated in several buildings in Brussels is taking it one step too far in my opinion. That almost brings back memories of old Mother Russia where diplomats simply expected to be bugged.

I recall reading a story about a Dutch politician who was on a business trip to Moscow (we're talking the 70's here) and on the last day in his hotel he started talking to his wife how cool it could be if the Russians would give him some Caviare as a 'going away present'. Even mentioned a completely random brand which he just read about that very day in a paper.

Guess what he got before departure, with compliments of the Russian state?

14
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: So.. (Dutch politician who was on a business trip to Moscow)

This urban myth stems from a Russian (Soviet) joke: a group of conference participants from a Soviet satellite state (Polish, German, Czech, whatever) stay in a nice Moscow hotel, and have a bit too much to drink in their room. They run dry and one of them standing in the middle of the room sighs; I wish we had some more vodka!

Less then a minute later a knock on the door is heard, and an immaculately looking room service girl delivers a few bottles, with an appropriate note ("on the hotel, to our dearest guests"). While somewhat baffled, they don't waste time and when the news bottles are dry, one of them cracks a joke: "Oh, I wish we had some champagne too!"

To some consternation room service appears promptly again, this time, with - but of course - a selection of "champanskoye" (local imitation of champagne), and another note, which says:

"The Colonel congratulates the comrade in the middle on the excellent sense of humor!"

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: So..

"That almost brings back memories of old Mother Russia where diplomats simply expected to be bugged"

Those days haven't one away, you know. One of my friends spent a few years doing diplomatic work for the EU in Moscow, and was informed from the very beginning that the apartment she would be renting would inevitably be filled with bugs and she should not be treating it as private.

I doubt the Russians are particularly unusual in that regard.

5
1
Gold badge

spying ≠ illegal ?

"Europeans "should look first and find out what their own governments are doing" before becoming outraged"

The thing is, everything I have read just says "GCHQ does not carry out illegal activities. There is no mention of spying or not, or what any spying might involve.

Similarly, when all this rukus started, NSA only seemed to say that the system could not be used for blanket spying on Americans in America (which would be illegal), but further than that, there is not much.

There are lots of allegations from USA about spying by China. Presumably, if this is not against the illegal in China, then it is OK too?

3
0
Silver badge
Paris Hilton

NSA boasted of targeting "third party partners", which do not include second-party countries like Canada, the UK or Australia

Did they mean "third class partners"?

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: third party partners

Sounds like a misprint but, no, they really do mean third party.

For signal intelligence from the US standpoint the US itself is the first party. The UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are second party, and so it radiates to third party including France and Germany.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

This tells you all you need to know

In this context you can read 'third party partners' as code for 'countries that won't bend over when we tell them to'

What this says is that Canada, the UK and Australia voluntarily share all their citizens details with the US so there's no need for covert action.

4
0
Silver badge

Re: This tells you all you need to know

For Canada I expect they get full access in exchange for a report listing all the people who say bad things about the government, big banks, and the oil sands. Saves a lot of work trying to dig that stuff on their own.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

The dog in the nightime

The interesting bit will be who *doesn't* protest so vehemently.

Doesn't seem to have been much from the French president outside something on French television.

2
0
Silver badge

Re: The dog in the nightime

Would anyone else know who he is?

His profile isn't exactly that high.

1
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: The dog in the nightime

What are you expecting? An M51 on Washington?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

From BBC (and not)

"The problem though here is three-fold. Firstly the very public disclosure of what has been going on; secondly the level of detail; and thirdly the scale and scope of the US operation. This appears to have genuinely shocked EU leaders." (only the completely stupid ones - no, BBC didn't say that, but they should have done)

"The revelations will inevitably influence the climate of negotiations for the new US-EU trade deal. Such an agreement is good news for both sides and is unlikely to be jeopardised President Hollande's threat notwithstanding. But reaching a deal in this new context could be much harder." (correction, 'and should never have been jeopardised for such moronic notions as protecting one language over others, but as that was ok with M Hollande, then this is just fine, he can't have it both ways, even if he is a politician')

3
5

I can't help but think that if they didn't speak out, then maybe it's an admission of guilt, that they do it too to other nations.

0
0
Silver badge

Pot kettle?

Didn't Maggie brag about how MI5 had bugged the Eu commisioner Mr Fischler when they were negotiating some UK deal on agriculture or something tedious?

2
0
Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Paranoid

The US seems to be quite paranoid and they try hard to make the rest of the world paranoid too. Not nice.

9
5
Bronze badge

Re: Paranoid... haven't we all heard...

"Misery likes company".

Crabs in a boiling pot tend to claw back on those almost able to escape.

Reading that South Korea was also bugged makes me think that this is how the USA promoted its interests in its own defense contractors. The NSA probably funneled negotiation info to Boeing, et al, so they could more conveniently strong arm SK into paying more for US-made/licensed weapons and communications systems. Probably even leaked info on the shortcomings of European systems.

Still, SK may have equally adeptly snooped in on the US defense contractors, and reinforced their own bargaining positions.

There may have been an emotionally-charged collision at some point, and hence on one of these recent deals, the Euro team won, to the possible apoplexy of the US team.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Paranoid

Agreed, but the real instability is due to the lack of real leadership and constant distraction from national issues. "Beer summits" were the start of it all IMO. Obama likes the job title...but does not want to do the work. He's comes across more of a public figure than a leader IMO.

America is in a downward spiral (financially and socially IMO). They have moved away from being a world leader and now resemble "What not to do". They are a young nation, so perhaps this is simply an evolutionary speed-bump for their country.

They may be heading towards an anti-government revolution of sorts.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Paranoid

re: revolution: Ever been to Cascadia? ELF/ALF/Black bloc are alive and well despite cointel infiltrations and occasional snitches and takedowns.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: America is in a downward spiral (financially and socially IMO).

I don't get why you lot are whinging about this all the time. You finally got what you wanted: a European style leader of the US doing European style things and most importantly, knocking the world's first hyperpower down to a size where you lot aren't afraid of us. Why are you surprised when he adopts the rest of your characteristics? If you want better out of us, let us elect a real American next time instead of a wanna-be-a-European American.

0
3
Silver badge

Show them you mean it

A suggestion for Angela Merkel. Give Snowdon asylum in Germany. Quote the national-interest exception to any extradition treaties if the USA asks for him. That's how to find out every last detail, and also how to send a very strong signal that we really really are not amused.

Of course, it won't happen.

41
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Show them you mean it

She may.

Several political parties have requested it on his behalf in both Germany and France.

In any case, he does not deserve assylum as he is only a mouthpiece. This is _WATERGATE_2_, not Snowdengate. For those who have forgotten their history, Nixon got nixed for bugging _everyone_ including bugging his office to achieve that. The blooper at the democratic party HQ was just a minor transgression compared to his other bugging antics. As a result of the investigation NSA and CIA powers were curtailed via several acts of congress to their remit of "no spying on americans allowed" (something they have been fighting back ever since). The reason the whole clusterf**** unraveled however was Deep Throat - press had a source in the Nixon administration which carefully guided them to show all the efforts of all the king's men.

So coming back to Snowden. With all due respect there is no f*** way in hell a contractor will pick up documents on 4 unrelated programs (international exchange - GCHQ, domestic rampant violation of US constitutional rights - ATT, Verizon, cloud companies, offensive - China and black ops on US soil - bugging Eu). My educated guess is that these are from different departments, on different ACLs and just searching for them would have raised a red flag or two. Someone is uncomfortable with the current violation of civil rights in the USA (and the world following led by the UK). Someone is uncomfortable that we have reached and exceeded the Nixon level of crookedness (The Haliburton wars make all of Nixon corruption pale by comparison). That someone is a Deep Throat 2 and he has organized Mr Snowden to get his mits on the docs. That person deserves assylum, not Mr Snowden.

0
6
Silver badge
Facepalm

Re: Show them you mean it

@AC - I think you mean *both* of them (i.e. Snowden, the man with his head on the block, and your putative "Deep Throat" operative). Snowden did the hard work here - why do you want to throw him to the lions? Equally, even if "Deep Throat" does exist (something I'm not willing to stipulate at this point, because it sounds a bit fantastic), he doesn't need asylum because he hasn't been caught.

You need a bit of practice at logical thinking.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: Show them you mean it

You need to keep up on your intel:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/19/washington/19felt.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

The truth is Nixon was axed because he pulled us out of Vietnam. The Progressives never forgave him for that. By their count, a few more years and we would have been ready for harvesting. The machines Nixon used for the taping were installed by Kennedy. Nixon just figured they'd be an easy way for historians to judge him after he was dead and gone. The break-in and pilfering of the debate papers at the Watergate hotel was standard (if badly managed) political intrigue. Same shit happens today only we call it by different names - Palin's private email, Gingrich's phone call in Florida about legislative strategy, and The Big 0's crack about bitter gun clingers.

0
2
Silver badge

Re: Show them you mean it

Or the more paranoid, cynical and probably accurate conspiracy

The NSA wanted this information out there because it has a chilling effect. You might think twice about clicking on the EFF/Peta/GreenPeace link if you think it's going to get logged by the government.

1
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.