The depth of arrogance and hypocrisy that defines the Obama administration knows no depths, as the president’s missteps in managing the fallout from revelations that the NSA also hacked EU allies well demonstrate.
First, a little history. Two years ago, in May of 2011, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Defense Department, in releasing its first formal cyber strategy, stated that computer hacking by other nations would be an “act of war.”
The Pentagon’s first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country’s military.
In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,” said a military official.
‘You must play by our rules’
Fast forward to late June of this year, when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released information that alleges the U.S. government hacked Chinese targets “that include the nation’s mobile-phone companies and one of the country’s most prestigious universities.” And to early July, when reports surfaced that the Obama administration’s NSA had bugged European Union offices in Washington, D.C., as well as hacked into the EU’s computer network.
If you’re confused, don’t be. It’s just the Obama administration’s way of saying, “Hey, you play by the rules that we define – but we don’t have to and we aren’t going to.”
Writes Ashe Schow of the Examiner, “Now that EU offices have been hacked by the U.S. government as well, one must wonder if that was an ‘act of war’ on the part of the United States.”
Granted, the Pentagon emphasized in 2011 that not all cyber attacks would be considered an act of war – unless, of course, such attacks endangered the lives of Americans, U.S. commerce or infrastructure. Also, there would have to be indisputable evidence of who – or which country – actually initiated the attack.
But while U.S. hacking of China and the European Union did not cause harm to either country, per se, EU officials have still expressed their displeasure over being targeted by a supposedly ally.
“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of U.S. authorities spying on EU offices,” said Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament. “If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-U.S. relations.”
Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, called the practice “abominable.”
France’s president, Francois Hollande, has demanded the spying come to an end. “We cannot accept this type of behavior between partners and allies,” he has said, adding that the hacking which occurred was unnecessary for anti-terrorism purposes. “We know that there are systems which have to control notably for the threat against terrorism, but I do not think that this is in our embassies or in the EU that this risks exist,” he noted.
And a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “bugging friends is unacceptable.”
Keep in mind that some EU member nations – Germany and Italy, among others – still host U.S. troops. And countries like Ireland allow the U.S. military to land at its international airport in Shannon as they transit to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. So for the NSA – with Obama’s and Congress’ permission, naturally – to spy on the EU on any level has understandably confused and upset our European friends.
‘Germans fear absolute control’
Now for the arrogant part: Obama doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong, suggesting that if you work for the EU, you just might be a terrorist.
Well, for those who used to live under the kind of police state tyranny that embraces and widely employs Big Brother/Big Data surveillance, revelations about Obama’s NSA are particularly disturbing. Per Germany’s Der Speigel magazine:
Even if Obama has explicitly ensured that Americans needn’t fear some kind of “Big Brother,” the “3rd Party Partners,” as Germany was categorized in top secret NSA documents, are now asking if the same applies to Europeans.
In no other country is this question being asked as loudly as in Germany, a country that, through its own painful history during the Nazi era and under communist East Germany, has learned just what an overly curious state and paternalism can lead to. The Germans cherish their privacy and fear absolute control.
Americans used to as well.
daily alternative | alternative news – Obama declares NSA hacking of EU nations ‘an act of war’ right before hacking EU nations