Latest Leak Showing US Spying On EU Embassies Not That Surprising

from the is-this-a-surprise dept

Over the weekend there were a few more "Snowden" leaks released, starting off with evidence that the US intelligence community (possibly involving the NSA, CIA and FBI) had been bugging a whole bunch of EU officials, including in their US embassies, but also in Europe as well.
There is the reasonable and expected outrage from EU officials who really don't like the idea that their own allies are spying on all their calls, emails, faxes, etc. I can see how this may be quite awkward from a diplomatic standpoint, but of the various leaks to date, this one seems the least interesting. This kind of thing is exactly what intelligence agencies do. They spy on each other's government officials. Bugging embassies is a tradition that goes back quite a few decades. I'd actually be more surprised if we found out that the US wasn't bugging those communications.

Of course, that doesn't make things comfortable for the US, who will now certainly have to explain itself to a large number of allies.
The eavesdropping on the EU delegation to the US, on K Street in Washington, involved three different operations targeted on the embassy's 90 staff. Two were electronic implants and one involved the use of antennas to collect transmissions.

[....] The operation against the French mission to the UN had the covername "Blackfoot" and the one against its embassy in Washington was "Wabash". The Italian embassy in Washington was known to the NSA as both "Bruneau" and "Hemlock".

The eavesdropping of the Greek UN mission was known as "Powell" and the operation against its embassy was referred to as "Klondyke".
This kind of stuff just confirms more typical intelligence agency activities. The original leaks about surveillance specifically on the public remains a much bigger concern, though I do wonder if revealing spying on allies may lead to some chillier reactions to various agreements like the upcoming TAFTA negotiations.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 2:05am

    What bugs me (ha!) about this is that our politicians are now offended, while their reaction to the wholesale eavesdropping on us EU civilians was tepid at best.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 2:12am

    Politicians put on the best acts. I like how serious they pretend to be outraged.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Call me Al, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 2:20am

    Re:

    Their outrage is more along the lines of "You idiots, you got caught! How did you let this happen? Now we need to get on our soapboxes and pretend that this was a gross breach of our privacy."

     

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  4.  
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    avideogameplayer, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 2:23am

    So it's ok for the EU to spy on the EU, but not the U.S...

    I'll bet the EU has been spying on the U.S. as well...

    So both sides need to STFU and figure out how to fight terrorism without the 24-7 spy mode...

     

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  5.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 2:23am

    Re:

    In cases like this at least I'd say it's not likely to be pretend anger, as few things will rile up a government/group that practices surveillance over their own citizens more than finding themselves under the microscope.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:09am

    Re: Re:

    More a case of being caught, which is about the only crime that exists for politicians and diplomats. The spying on each other is so` rife that they take it as part of normal behavior, so long as it is kept under the carpet.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:17am

    and the US has been blaming the Chinese for all sorts of spying, including broadband routers that have been 'tampered with'. what this whole thing shows to me is, that there is no government worse than the USA! they want to know what every person, everywhere is doing every minute and that includes from the time they are born until death! it's disgraceful!! and the UK ought to be backing away from this, but in it's usual style, it's doing the same as the USA telling people not to worry, there is very little information being gathered on any ordinary person and how the people should be grateful for being part of the USA spying! what absolute bollocks!! it's the same story. those that are backing the surveillance will soon be kicking up a shit storm when they find their name on the list!!

     

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  8.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Not a surprise but still an illustration of US desire to control the world.

    You do not spy on allies, for crying out loud. If you are spying on allies, then it is clear you do not trust them so why are they allies?

     

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  9.  
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    ethorad (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:38am

    Re:

    Allies are only allies at that moment in time, and on that particular instance.

    Alliances change, and just because another country supported you on one issue doesn't mean they will on another.

    Hence the need for contingency planning.

    For example the US set up colour coded war plans for conflict with various nations, including allies - as an example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Plan_Red. I would be surprised if other countries hadn't done so.

     

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  10.  
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    ethorad (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 4:52am

    I'm shocked to find that spying is going on in here!

    Intercepting another country's diplomatic messages is hardly a new, or even undocumented, issue.

    After all, in the 18th Century this was done on an industrial scale with the Viennese "Geheime Kabinets-kanzlei" operating so efficiently they were opening, copying and resealing all diplomatic mail in Vienna without disrupting the normal mail delivery. See wikipedia

     

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  11.  
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    Nicholas Weaver (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:03am

    Actually, this is a VERY big deal...

    Because to someone like me, DROPMIRE sounds like a lifecycle attack: building in a backdoor into the commercial product itself at the factory.

    If the NSA is using lifecycle attacks, or even if there are just credible rumors of the NSA using lifecycle attacks, US network hardware and security companies are now in the same position that Huawei is in.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:09am

    The Law of The West

    Do it to them before they do it unto you.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:15am

    And now Snowden can be prosecuted for a good reason.

    Just because he's told us about something important in the form of the NSA/FBI spying on Americans does not give him a pass to tell everyone about every secret program we've got. I now can support espionage charges against him.

    This revelation does not benefit the American public.

     

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  14.  
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    piu patel, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:36am

    Oh my goodness! an remarkable post dude. Thank you On the other hand Iím experiencing problem with ur rss . Do not know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there any person finding identical rss challenge? Any indual who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

     

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  15.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:38am

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/01/nsa-spying-allegations-germany-us-france

    The Germans and French are not happy.

    Here's hoping this derails the impending 'trade' agreement.

     

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  16.  
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    Niall (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:39am

    Re: And now Snowden can be prosecuted for a good reason.

    This does not benefit the American public's support of out-of-control government who is spying on all their own citizens and all their allies.

    Boo hoo hoo.

    Seriously, next time someone gets stuff like this, they might just find it simpler to sell to Russia or China. But then hey, it's not like half of America would actually recognise what ethics are.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:40am

    Re: And now Snowden can be prosecuted for a good reason.

    Still not espionage since he's NOT THE ONE DOING THE SPYING!

    This is less important to your personal ideas of privacy and rule of law but much more important to those overseas. Your nation's leaders are doing their best to run your countries name into the ground. So far the're doing a good job. No-one trusts the US anymore.

     

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  18.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 5:52am

    Paranoia

    In reading the "traditional" media, such as the Washington Post it would appear that the US is "under attack". One such attack that has been splattered has been Chinese cyber-attacks on US computer networks. I don't doubt that has been occurring, but it seems that the US has itself been busy in the cyber-attack realm. Enough of this fear mongering to promote an evermore repressive government in the name of supposed "security".

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Re: And now Snowden can be prosecuted for a good reason.

    Ah, so it harms the American public then?

    Care to elaborate?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:28am

    The TAFTA agreement is safe. It's about the corrupt leaders of the EU and US togheter with their cronies, shafting the greater populace and that goal isn't something that will change any time soon regardless of any spying shenanigans.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    That's because our EU leaders have been spying on us for years. It's become the normal state of affairs. The increasingly corrupt and unaccountable leadership feels entitled to eavesdrop on population that is perceived to be disloyal and not to be trusted. But that someone would be doing the same to them? - Unthinkable! Shocking!

    The hypocrisy on display is astounding.

     

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  22.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    you know the old saying about politicians:
    Once you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.

    frauds and con artists, the lot of them...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 7:27am

    USA is a police state.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Re: And now Snowden can be prosecuted for a good reason.

    If you don't want your f'ing spy operation on your allies to hurt your diplomatic relationships, then don't f'ing spy on your allies.

    BTW, it does help the american public in such a way that there is now proof that at least one american still has some actual values. Too bad he's stuck in russia now.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 9:04am

    pretend to be outraged

    Really? Pretend? You really expect the rest of the world to just sit back and take it? Really?

    This is not some sort of "everybody does it" situation -- just compare the defence budgets.

    It will not serve the long-term interests of the US for popular European opinion to see the US as a bully and a liar. Really.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Tommy, Jul 1st, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    I agree with you as this is no longer new. The US even spied on Russian president Dmitry Medvedev sometime back during his visit to London by intercepting phone calls and so on...

     

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  27.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 11:16am

    Re: pretend to be outraged

    Really? Pretend? You really expect the rest of the world to just sit back and take it? Really?


    No, I don't think they should just "sit back and take it." I'm just saying that the "outrage" is pretty over generated, as this kind of espionage is nothing new -- and it's almost certain that the same countries do it back to the US as well.

    This is not some sort of "everybody does it" situation -- just compare the defence budgets.


    Defense and intelligence are not the same thing...

    It will not serve the long-term interests of the US for popular European opinion to see the US as a bully and a liar. Really.

    As if that wasn't already the case?

     

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  28.  
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    McFortner (profile), Jul 1st, 2013 @ 3:02pm

    Just sayin'

    Dear Europe,

    We know what you did last summer.

    NSA

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2013 @ 8:20am

    Re:

    It's called Fascism in other parts of the world...
    But you Americans probably didn't learn that in school (wonder why)

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    russia, Oct 27th, 2013 @ 5:47pm

    mess

    Probably everybody does that but nobody dropped their pants and exposed in public like US. If russia or china bugged obama's phone, can US keep quiet about that ???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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