NSA Faces Scrutiny for Spying on Global Leaders
by Trevor Hopkins on Friday, November 8th, 2013
Last week, much controversy arose over past intelligence probing done by the National Security Agency. Recent media leaks by whistle-blower Edward Snowden show that the NSA has been spying on the leaders of countries around the world, many of which are close allies to the United States. Among the important US allies under surveillance by American intelligence forces are France, Spain, Mexico, and, most importantly, Germany. Almost all of the information regarding the scandal has come from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor. President Obama claims not to have known about the measures taken by the NSA, but the issue lies in whether the United States has the right to spy on its own allies?
While there are many countries that have been subject to NSA surveillance, the one that has been in the news most frequently is Germany. Outraged after realizing that the United States had been tapping the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2002, Germany considered the espionage as a severe breach of trust between the two countries. American ambassadors were summoned to countries demanding an explanation for such a blatant disregard of international convention.
While the German Government is not wrong in their anger, the National Security Agency has simply done their job. As a former British intelligence official commented on the matter, “Finding out what other governments are thinking is what [intelligence] agencies do.” It is an accepted fact that intelligence agencies spy on other countries; it’s their purpose. The National Security Agency actions may seem immoral; however, the truth of the matter is that other countries’ intelligence programs do similar things. To think that the United States could be a safe nation without the espionage skills and missions of the twentieth century would be irrational. Similarly, to think that other countries do not attempt to do exactly the same would be naive. The only fault that can be found in the NSA is Snowden’s release of the Prism documents; this action forced America into the global spotlight.
Some may say that America is taking its role as a world superpower too far, but in reality the U.S. has every right to carry out the kind of preventative measures that Germany is angry about. After suffering the tragedy that occurred on September 11th, Americans know that having as much information about what is happening in the world as possible is a key defense against terrorism and threats against our homeland. If tapping phones in other countries can give us even the slightest edge over the global threat of terrorism, there is a purpose to carrying out these preemptive measures.
Nevertheless, the United States is not allowed to spy solely because it is a superpower. Spying on countries around the world should be accepted because, while it is not detrimental to anyone, it is of great aid to the defense of the United States and its citizens.
Although many will disagree, the spying that the National Security Agency carried out on countries like Germany is wholly justified. It is understood that intelligence agencies gather information about other countries. Spying is not a practice limited to America. While we may not have heard of other countries spying on the United States, the truth is that it has already happened and probably is currently happening. The information gathered by NSA was not meant to be used against any countries that were spied upon but rather used as a shield against any potential dangers to the U.S. If the ensuring of domestic tranquility is not a vital goal of the NSA, what is?
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