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Topic: Edward Snowden
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October 24, 2013 at 12:50 PM
UPDATE: The Guardian is reporting that the National Security Agency monitored the calls of 35 world leaders. You read that correctly. The British newspaper, citing information obtained from a classified document provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, says NSA was able to do so after being given the phone numbers by other U.S. officials. An NSA memo obtained by the newspaper acknowledges the surveillance produced ”little intelligence.”The Obama Administration’s inability to curb the NSA’s prolific spying on Americans, world leaders and citizens of other countries continues at the president’s peril. That should change given how embarrassed President Obama must be after being dressed down by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who discovered American surveillance may have included her cellphone.
This New York Times story provides details and important context about growing tensions among countries that routinely spy on each other. With more revelations to come from former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden’s cache of documents, the diplomatic fallout from U.S. intelligence gathering will continue to roil around the globe. That is unless Congress and the White House wake up and get involved, as this Seattle Times editorial urges.
Distrust of the U.S. both domestically and abroad grows along with revelations about the NSA tapping into foreign citizens’ phone calls and e-mail traffic as well as the communications of Americans. I asked my colleague Bruce Ramsey whether the latest revelations ought to be the nail in the coffin for NSA’s routine and unfettered intelligence gathering operations. In regard to foreign intelligence gathering, he responded that it would depend on the quality of intel being gathered. And so it goes.
In a recent Op-ed, syndicated columnist Froma Harrop wrote that privacy is gone, another quaint relic relegated to the past. Indeed, technology has made it relatively easy for countries to spy on each other, whether friend or foe. But isn’t it time for Obama to make the NSA heel and for the U.S. to stop spying on its citizens and allies?
August 12, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Diplomacy is variously described as saying nice doggie, while groping for a rock, or the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way they look forward to the trip.
The point is to keep talking because of what might be accomplished. One cannot predict results, so keep chatting away. Keep the lines of communication open.
President Barack Obama was sufficiently ticked off by the Russians granting asylum to classified leaker Edward Snowden that the president canceled a summit meeting next month.
Obama is still going to the G-20 conclave in St. Petersburg, but a private get-together with President Vladimir Putin was scrapped. Obama had no compelling reason for doing so, at least nothing he shared in his one-hour press conference on Friday.
The U.S. president said his past chats with the Russian leader have been candid and blunt, and often very productive, but he would take a pass this time.
No, Obama said, it was not just about Snowden. A lack of progress on other topics – described earlier by the White House as arms control, trade, commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society – pushed the decision not to meet, the president said.
Really, a litany of important, unfinished business to talk about at the highest level is why two leaders would not meet?
Obama is ticked off. Fair enough. But that is no reason not to meet.
Snowden is irrelevant in his own way. His poor choices mock whatever point he was trying to make. His protests of the U.S. government’s treatment of citizens stirs him to seek shelter in that land of the brave and the home of the free – Russia?
Obama opened his press conference with a pledge to investigate the transparency and safeguards around U.S. intelligence and surveillance functions. He also invited Snowden to defend his release of government secrets in court. Maybe he will when he gets a sense of the devil’s bargain he accepted with Putin’s offer of refuge.