Seriously. These are spy organizations. And here they are - spying. On foreign countries, no less. What were they thinking?
The Snowden leaks started out with things the public actually needed to know. The NSA spying on Americans is a gross overstep of the organization's charter. Spying on friendly nation's leaders is an embarrassment. This, however, seems to me like them doing their job.
At first, I thought that labeling Snowden as a spy was an overreaction. The US government trying to silence a whistle blower. However, were I a juror in a trial in which he released just this document, I'd convict.
Anyone who disagrees is kindly requested to answer two simple questions:
1. What should the NSA do?
2. Assuming this is not this, how can a country maintain military intelligence without doing this?
There is the subtle way to do things and then there is the really clumsy and idiotic way to do them. I mean I can see how it is legitimate for the USA and Australia to spy on Indonesia with a bit more intensity than their close allies. However, is it really worth it to take the spying to a level that the target nation might construe as bordering on an act of war? What if the shit hits the fan in the region and a formerly cooperative Indonesia is so pissed off over this that they have moved into the Chinese camp? Would this spying still be worth it? Is it worth while to tap the telephones of the leaders of your closest allies (an operation that the NSA it self has admitted resulting in pretty much ZERO usable intelligence?) and risk spoiling a set of relationship that has been of vital strategic and economic importance to the USA since the end of WWII? Is the role of the NSA really to wreck every diplomatic relationship the USA has? How paranoid is the US leadership? Why isn't it enough for them to keep spying on their closest allies sufficient for the US leadership to have a good idea of what their closest allies are doing? Why must US intelligence operations be at a level that seems aimed at knowing what kind of underwear every single citizen of these nations is wearing down to the size, brand and color? *** WARNING: sarcasm ahead *** I think the USA can rest assured that none of its NATO allies is planning a sneak nuclear attack on the USA and we aren't secretly funding Al Quaeda either and if the US leadership needs to tap the telephones of Angela Merkel and François Hollande to discover that, then the US leadership need psychological help.
I am not a US citizen, I am however a citizen of a NATO allied nation and I value our strategic and economic relationship with the USA and from my point of view Snowden's revelations about the near Orwellian level of US spying on it's closest allies is a positive thing. This is especially true if Snowden's revelations result in the EU internet infrastructure being restructured so as to minimize the amount of traffic that goes through locations where the USA can intercept it because it may help to prevent the relationship between us Europeans and the USA from deteriorating even further despite the best efforts of the US security services to sabotage it with their excessive paranoia.