News / Europe

US Contends Europeans Misunderstand NSA Spying Programs

US Contends Europeans Misunderstand NSA Spying Programsi
X
November 01, 2013 10:01 PM
While European nations are objecting to the American spying programs that reportedly targeted their populations and their leaders, U.S. officials say the program is misunderstood and that some European intelligence agencies have actually cooperated closely with Washington. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.

US Contends Europeans Misunderstand NSA Spying Programs

TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
— While European nations are objecting to the American spying programs that reportedly targeted their populations and their leaders, U.S. officials say the program is misunderstood and that some European intelligence agencies have actually cooperated closely with Washington.

A delegation of indignant European Parliament members hit the sidewalks and halls of power in Washington this week to express concern about the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations.

German member Elmar Brok summarized their concerns. “We have not a free feeling to go forward together if you are feeling that your neighbor and friend is monitoring you."

But top U.S. intelligence officials told Congress that’s not exactly what they were doing. Rather, the NSA director, General Keith Alexander, said the information about phone calls and emails was gathered legally, and reporters mischaracterized what it was.

“Both they and the person who stole the classified data did not understand what they were looking at,” said Alexander.

The person who allegedly stole the data is former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who fled to Russia, where he was granted temporary asylum.

U.S. officials said this week that intelligence agencies in Spain and France collaborated closely with the NSA, and Spain has already backtracked from earlier complaints about alleged U.S. spying.

Senior fellow James Boys of London’s King’s College says much of Europe's shock and outrage about what Snowden revealed seems artificial.

“I think there’s no doubt about it that there is an awful lot of protest that is going on for purely public consumption. The idea that somehow European leaders were shocked, aghast by what it is the Americans have been up to beggars belief [is difficult to believe], quite frankly,” said Boys.

And Boys said U.S. allies benefited from the NSA program. “The intel will find its way, in some instances, back to European nations as part of the ongoing war on terror or an ongoing operation against political violence. And that certainly isn’t anything that’s going to change despite the current uproar.”

The most serious fallout was in Germany. And U.S. officials have said the intelligence operation may have gone too far by bugging the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.  

Still, with much of the world relying on the United States to lead the fight against violent extremism, Boys said there likely will be no more than what he calls “tinkering” and wrist slapping, and the intelligence gathering will largely continue.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid