October 28, 2013 (San Diego) Over the weekend the NSA spying on foreign nations escalated to foreign leaders. What we know so far is that the NSA has spied on thirty five national leaders, among them the President of Mexico and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is now going to the United Nations where The Cable reports that Brazil and Germany are not just complaiiting:
Brazilian and German diplomats met in New York today with a small group of Latin American and European governments to consider a draft resolution that calls for expanding privacy rights contained in the International Covenant Civil and Political Rights to the online world. The draft does not refer to a flurry of American spying revelations that have caused a political uproar around the world, particularly in Brazil and Germany. But it was clear that the revelation provided the political momentum to trigger today’s move to the United Nations. The blowback from the NSA leakscontinues to agonize U.S. diplomats and military officials concerned about America’s image abroad.
We are starting to see serious consequences but we also must ask if the NSA has gone rogue? This is brought by a flurry of stories, contradictory at times, where the President was either briefed, or not. This is truly what nightmares are made off. If the President was not briefed, then we have crossed a point that we cannot deny. We have intelligence agencies that have gone off the reservation.
Give that General Keith Alexander wants to limit press reporting on this, we may very well have. Here is what General Alexander told this to the Armed With Science Blog, a DoD blog as reported by Josh Gestein in Politico.
“We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on,” the NSA director declared.
Alexander did not elaborate on what he meant by reporters “selling” documents or what options he might consider for halting the disclosures. An NSA spokeswoman declined to expand on the general’s comments.
Now, given the job of media is to hold the government accountable, and the only way to do it at times is to do Public Records Request, or worst, using sources within the government, this is a chilling statement. Perhaps the General forgot his oath to defend and protect the Constitution. Or perhaps we have truly gone through the looking glass and we truly have rogue agencies not telling the President about a program that in olden days could be seen as a declaration of war.
So the consequences of this is that our allies trust us as far as they can throw us. Given the superpower we are, they can’t throw us that far. This will do wonders to alliances, and some of us would love to be flies at the next high command meeting in Brussels (that would be NATO headquarters.)
The view from abroad towards the United States is far from charitable at this point. It is tinged with anger and distrust. Oh and we might claim, as it is just breaking on CNN, that we stopped doing this in the Summer of this year, I am sure nobody believes us.
Now add this to your Agency has gone rogue. According to Russ Tice, a Bush Era whistleblower, the President was spied upon by the NSA starting in 2006. Tice alleges that these wiretaps were wide spanning and did not just include the freshman Senator from Illinois. So here is our advice to our own leaders, and it is hardly one I expect them to follow. You have secrets. The NSA can use them to manipulate you. Call a press conference and let all those skeletons be free. At that point secrets lose all their power over you.
Regardless, we must all conclude that there is a war in the shadows that none of us is willing to face, and it is likely far worst than we expected.