Wikileaks Latest Info-Dump Shows, Again, That The NSA Indeed Engages In Economic Espionage Against Allies

from the with-friends-like-these dept

With all the revelations that have come out about the NSA and our foreign and domestic spy programs, it can, at times, become difficult to parse out exactly what we're supposed to be getting pissed off about and what is the exact kind of spy-work we ought to expect the alphabet agencies to conduct. Some of the groups that are involved in getting these revelations out there don't make it much easier, of course. Take as an example the latest Wikileaks info-dump, which chiefly concerns the NSA's spy program against our ally Japan. From the press release accompanying the documents:

Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST, WikiLeaks publishes "Target Tokyo", 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy. The list indicates that NSA spying on Japanese conglomerates, government officials, ministries and senior advisers extends back at least as far as the first administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 until September 2007. The telephone interception target list includes the switchboard for the Japanese Cabinet Office; the executive secretary to the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; a line described as "Government VIP Line"; numerous officials within the Japanese Central Bank, including Governor Haruhiko Kuroda; the home phone number of at least one Central Bank official; numerous numbers within the Japanese Finance Ministry; the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa; the Natural Gas Division of Mitsubishi; and the Petroleum Division of Mitsui.
Now, what Wikileaks is doing is mashing together the NSA spying on the Japanese government, our ally, with Japanese industry. That's silly, in my estimation. In fact, much of the hand-wringing that goes on about our spy networks spying on allies seems naive in the extreme, as if to suggest that our closest allies aren't conducting similar spy programs on our government. You can insist, if you like, that America should not be spying on her allies, but then I get to insist that you grow up, because that's exactly the kind of work you want the NSA doing.

But on the economic side, things get a little murkier. The NSA has insisted for years that the agency does not engage in economic espionage, actions which would put it out of the norm for how we treat our allies. It's also been clear for some time that the NSA is full of crap in this regard. This latest Wikileaks dump fleshes out just how much economic espionage we do against our allies, even very close allies like Japan.
The documents demonstrate intimate knowledge of internal Japanese deliberations on such issues as: agricultural imports and trade disputes; negotiating positions in the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization; Japanese technical development plans, climate change policy, nuclear and energy policy and carbon emissions schemes; correspondence with international bodies such as the International Energy Agency (IEA); strategy planning and draft talking points memoranda concerning the management of diplomatic relations with the United States and the European Union; and the content of a confidential Prime Ministerial briefing that took place at Shinzo Abe's official residence.
It's just more egg on the face of government and security officials who have claimed to have kept their hands clean of economic espionage. There's sure to be more of interest in the documents as they get parsed out, but if nothing else we can be reminded that the NSA is a spy agency and that its officials have been caught lying over and over again.

Filed Under: economic espionage, espionage, japan, nsa, surveillance, trade deals


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  1. icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 31 Jul 2015 @ 2:23pm

    Turnabout is Fair Play

    You can insist, if you like, that America should not be spying on her allies, but then I get to insist that you grow up, because that's exactly the kind of work you want the NSA doing.

    Well sure. Likewise, Americans will fully understand and accept America's allies spying on American citizens and their political and corporate leaders.

    American lobbyists - the RIAA, NRA, Amway, drug companies etc. - often backed by prominent American politicians - lobby Canadian politicians with fundraising dinners and more. Likewise, Americans fully understand and accept their politicians being beholden to lobby groups from allied countries.

    In the first couple years after 9/11 the US kidnapped and imprisoned more than 100 people from EU soil, plus more citizens of other allied countries. Many were tortured. Often not because they were terrorists, but simply to test suspicions that they might have some connection to terrorists.

    Likewise, Americans will fully understand and accept that allied countries are free to kidnap those they consider a possible threat off American streets. Including American citizens. No due process, no trial. And they can kidnap American citizens passing through other countries. And then torture them for a few months to test their suspicions. Before releasing them at night on a back road in a third country with no money or ID.

    America does it because everyone does it. Americans wouldn't have it any other way.

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