When the news of the US spying on EU embassies and various other official buildings came out over the weekend, we noted that this really wasn't that surprising, as it appeared to be very typical espionage
-- the kind that has happened for decades, if not centuries. Still, it's not entirely clear that President Obama's response to this controversy is particularly tactful. He basically uses the "hey, come on guys, we're all doing this to each other, right?"
"We should stipulate that every intelligence service – not just ours, but every European intelligence service, every Asian intelligence service, wherever there's an intelligence service … here's one thing that they're going to be doing: they're going to be trying to understand the world better and what's going on in world capitals," he told a press conference during a long-scheduled trip Tanzania. "If that weren't the case, then there'd be no use for an intelligence service."
"And I guarantee you that in European capitals, there are people who are interested in, if not what I had for breakfast, at least what my talking points might be should I end up meeting with their leaders. That's how intelligence services operate," Obama added.
While I still think that this particular revelation is hardly that surprising, and agree that it's almost certain that various European countries are doing the same sort of thing to the US, I do wonder if that's the most tactful response to the growing controversy. Still, I do wonder if the focus on this will take away from the much larger issue
of using intelligence services not to spy on other governments, but on the public via mass dragnet collections of information.