After a weekend of revelations that the US spy on the online activity and communications of European officials diplomatic relations are in free-fall. Monday the BBC reports that:
France, Greece and Italy have been the "targets" of US spying operations, according to the latest files leaked to Britain's Guardian newspaper. Citing a document by the National Security Agency, it says America's non-European allies were also targeted.
US Vice President Joe Biden talked with Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, late last week, both countries confirmed. Washington was sketchy on details, but Correa claimed that Biden asked that Ecuador refuse asylum for former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, reported the BBC.
Washington is running scared of Snowden and utilizing any means possible to back him into a corner; as more revelations make waves in Europe and beyond it is easy to see why. The BBC noted:
A German magazine says a document leaked by Mr Snowden shows the US bugged EU offices. Spiegel magazine says a September 2010 "top-secret" document of the US National Security Agency outlines how the agency bugged offices and spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the UN. The document explicitly referred to the EU as a "target," the magazine reports.
Spiegel also carried a report that begins: Overzealous data collectors in the US and Great Britain have no right to investigate German citizens. The German government must protect people from unauthorized access by foreign intelligence agencies, and it must act now. This is a matter of national security.
Sunday the fall-out from the bugging allegations looked to set impact negatively on EU / US relations. The head of the European parliament has demanded "full clarification" reports the BBC. If Spiegel's claims are correct key EU premises in America were bugged.
Monday claims that the NSA and the US government would respond to spying allegations through diplomatic channels may be too little too late. Western leaders, such as Germany's Angela Merkel are angry that their officials and people have been treat as potential "enemies", or at least that is the face they are showing the world.
Do you blame Snowden for this mess or the Western governments that have abused their powers to spy on free citizens in the West?
It is clear that many people in Europe do not see Snowden as a problem. They see him as part of a possible solution. His leaked documents include information the public have a right to see; it is not only suitable for the eyes of a select few.
Data sharing may be common practice, but it is now abundantly clear those spying have crossed the proverbial red line. Mr. President, the "little people " are not happy. Having a supposed liberal US president spying on citizens is shameful. Even the reasons for Obama's oft voiced hope that the European Union will not crumble are now suspect.
Der Spiegel's claim that the NSA agency spied on "EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc's UN office in New York" is shocking. French leader Francois Hollande and German leader Angela Merkel are angry, recalling that the US has been using old "cold war" methods to spy on its allies. The UK has remained silent, no doubt due to their snooping activity and involvement in various spy systems.
It is not clear who is telling the truth.
If you have any sympathy for whistle-blower Edward Snowden, you have to feel for the guy. Whatever his whistle-blowing motives were, he faces a tough life for the foreseeable future, perhaps for as long as he lives.
Holed up, as far as we know, in an airport terminal in Moscow, he is a man with no country. This week the security guards who patrol the airport accommodation made it clear to the media they were sick of "the American." As journalists roam the motel and airport buildings, hoping for a glimpse of Snowden, security is tight.
Will Ecuador bow to pressure from its North American neighbor?