Spying On Allies? Yeah, Not a Good Idea

Spying On Allies? Yeah, Not a Good Idea

We have to tap phones and monitor internet usage and sift through e-mails because it keeps us safe. We can track terrorists and make sure they don’t hurt Americans.

That’s the NSA’s reasoning behind their national and international, invasive spying programs. Safety.

So uh, why exactly are they spying on America’s allies?

That’s one of the (many, many) revelations that came out during 2013, the year full of leaks and revelations about federal government privacy infringements.

The government makes an interesting claim: Allies don’t always stay allies. Just because we’re friends now, doesn’t mean we’ll always be friends with a country. Maybe they’ll get mad at us for something like, you know, tapping the phones of their diplomatic and political leaders.

Besides, everyone does it! Allies spy on allies all the time, it’s just part of the game!

(Those last few sentences are soaked in sarcasm, I hope you can tell).

Anyway, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul isn’t very comfortable with the idea. Especially when it came out that the NSA has been monitoring the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (aka a friend of the U.S.) for a decade.

Michael Martinez of CNN wrote this about Paul’s response:

“’To me from where I sit, it doesn’t seem like a good idea or it doesn’t seem to advance diplomacy for us to be spying on our allies particularly the personal phone of the president of Germany for 10 years. I think that seems unseemly. That goes against having relations with your allies,’ said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

It’s kind of hard not to agree with Paul here. What kind of message does it send about the trust the U.S. has in its allies?

And let’s go back to that original claim for a second: The spying – on U.S. citizens, non-U.S. citizens, world leaders, and whoever else they want – is done in the name of national security. They said halting the program would potentially open the country up to an attack.

So are they worried about the German Chancellor attacking the U.S.? What about other countries? Is the Queen’s phone being listened to as well, just in case they decide to take revenge for the American Revolution?

It’s ludicrous, and savvy politicians like Paul can see right through it.

He’s right. It’s unseemly. There isn’t a much better word to describe it than that.

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