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Allies or Enemies? American Intelligence Has Lost the Plot (Polytika, Poland)


"It seems that the U.S. intelligence services have lost the sense of proportion between the scale of the operation and the threats to security. There is also serious doubt as to whether U.S. operations have any legitimate basis in law, and they certainly confer no glory on the United States, which in its political rhetoric, emphasizes the values of democracy and rule of law as its own. Is it possible that technology leapfrogged political thinking?"


By Marek Ostrowski*



Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


October 25, 2013


Poland - Polytika - Original Article (Polish)

Jean-Jacques Urovas, chairman of the French National Assembly Committee on Laws, says the United States 'has no allies, only targets or vassals.' So much for the shared values that once steered the world.


BBC NEWS VIDEO, U.K.: The true scale of NSA spying as it has been revealed by Edward Snowden, Oct. 4, 00:10:15RealVideo

The weekly magazine Der Spiegel says that the cell phone of the German chancellor was tapped, similar to earlier charges made by French diplomats. A statement by Angela Merkel's office is full of indignation: how can one eavesdrop on the chief executive of a friendly government?


It is hard not to consider this a naive approach to espionage, which is as old as the world. But something else is surprising: the enormous scale of operations in Europe - among the allies. It seems that the U.S. intelligence services have lost the sense of proportion between the scale of the operation and the threats to security. There is also serious doubt as to whether U.S. operations have any legitimate basis in law, and they certainly confer no glory on the United States, which in its political rhetoric, emphasizes the values of democracy and rule of law as its own.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


Concern also follows from comments by Jean-Jacques Urovas, chairman of the French National Assembly Committee on Laws and author of a report on the legal framework for activities of the French special services. The United States, says the lawmaker, "has no allies, only targets or vassals." It doesn't treat its partners as equals. Yet the European Union, which is today to discuss Internet security, is unable to present Washington with a unified front. When it comes to cooperation of the special services, every country wants to be on its best footing with the U.S. That means, unfortunately, that Europe will remain disjointed on this issue.


One suspects that the growth of U.S. intelligence apparatus to over 100,000 employees and with a budget of $75 billion, resulted in great momentum to exploit technology. Is it possible that technology leapfrogged political thinking?


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My admiration for American efficiency somewhat subsided today, as I filled out the official visa form. I had to answer questions asked, as I understand it, of everyone who wants to visit the United States: "Do you intend to engage in terrorist activity?" Then: "Do you intend to engage in espionage or sabotage? Do you intend to financially support terrorist organizations?" And finally: "Are you a member of a terrorist organization?" and "Did you ever commit or order a political assassination or genocide?"


I wonder what kind of responses the U.S. authorities expect? Hopefully, the agents who analyze our conversations are more astute than those who prepared that form. If not, be careful what you say on the phone - even when speaking to your aunt.


*Marek Ostrowski is a Polityka commentator on foreign affairs and a lawyer who has practiced in Britain, France, Switzerland and Russia, and was a regular on the popular former program on TVP, The World in Seven Days


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Oct. 25, 2013, 10:21am