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Der Spiegel says US bugged EU offices in Washington (arstechnica.com)
202 points by sk2code 1544 days ago | hide | past | web | 65 comments | favorite

I honestly think the EU should make it clear that our friendship with the US cannot be uphold with serious breaches such as this one.

Its your good friend spying on your and your wife having sex, not because he needs to, but because he wants to know everything. With countries or persons, you can only be true friends if you trust that you are told what you need to know, you shouldn't have to acquire information yourself.

Meanwhile the EU thinks it's a good idea to negotiate a new EU - US trade agreement. And it's a good idea, but not when one side is spying on the other. They should place it on hold.

EU is also spying on US, it just hasnt turned into a scandal yet.

Its not out of malice or intent to hurt the other party, its just pure power, information is power. Who knows most at the negotiating table wins.

"The EU" is probably not spying, it simply doesn't have institutions to do so. The EU lacks "federal" agencies in the security service sector, that's still a matter of the EU member nations with cooperation only on a bureaucracy level.

Then it's not a negotiation between friends interested in mutual growth.

I agree information is power. But there are limits to power. Trust also matters.

Citation? And no, France is not "EU".

The US isn't 'friends' with anyone, except in the Facebook sense of "I've heard of you".

This is just misplaced indignation. As long as there have been countries, even friendly nations have conducted espionage against each other. Give me a break.

"Trust, but verify"

It would be foolish for a country to blindly trust bureaucrats from other nations, even allies. That's why it's common for friendly nations to do extensive spying on each other. Any government who didn't at least try to do so would be doing a disservice to its people.

So you're cool with China finding out American stealth bomber plans, right? That's just their fiduciary duty, so to speak?

You're OK with Russia having a video bug in the Oval Office? Israel tapping the phones of everybody in Congress? Japan listening in on board meetings of the Fortune 500?

I'm not sure what your sarcasm proposes. So is your plan to mark this day as the day that all nations become friendly to each other or something? It sort of is what it is and nations have to do what they have to do. Personally, I think equating the US with brutal regimes like those of China and Russia are a bit silly, but ok.

>Personally, I think equating the US with brutal regimes like those of China and Russia are a bit silly, but ok.

"Brutal regimes"? The US has toppled legal governments, supported dictators, spied on it's own people and millions of foreigners, killed people without trial through drones, invaded sovereign countries on BS pretexts, killed peaceful protesters, grabbed resources for a pittance exercising military leverage and/or local paid lackeys, used nuclear bombs in a war (and on a civilians), even conducted medical experiments on unsuspecting people. Not to mention some other dark stuff, like slavery for blacks, concentration camps and relocation for Indians, segregation until 1960+, a nightmarish prison system, and still keeping the death penalty.

How exactly are those other countries any worse? Bothered to ask their citizens -- and not just some overblown vocal minority in Twitter? For one, they haven't fucked everybody the world over.

What I think is "a bit silly" is to imagine that China and Russia somehow is even in the same league as the US when it comes to brutality.

China was more brutal under Maos rule, and the Soviet Union was under Stalin. But a lot of time has passed since then, and while China in particular certainly is still more oppressive to its own population than the US is, the number of deaths directly or indirectly caused by US interventions, the amount of torture, and the ludicrous US incarceration rates (of its own population this time), puts the US in a league of its own.

All of those are not just real possibilities, but you should be surprised if that isnt the case. Israel has access to NSA data.

USSR bugged the US embassy in Moscow for decades, using a laser.

A few years back, EU found the Parliament building was bugged, surprisingly the buggs where not installed after construction, but during, by US, somehow the construction guys were involved. The entire building was surveilled at all times. If you google it will appear, but if my memory serves this is from earlier than 2010.

Spying for your personnal enlightment is one thing. Using that information and interferring to bent the course of things in your own interrest is anotherr. There is no clear line between the two and it is easily crossed. So assuming it's only a matter of spying is in my opinon a little bit naïve.

That's also the reason why spying people is something to worry. Who controls what is done with the inormation ? How could one defend against abuse of a state? This will be like drones killing civilians ! No one cares. Until it's your turn, and no body will care.

It would be foolish for a country to blindly trust bureaucrats from other nations

I don't trust random people either. That doesn't make me spy on them, since I couldn't care less what they talk among themselves, it's none of my business. Also, the second I start spying, I also would need to spy on even more, to see if they're on to me spying on them. Yay, there goes the whole afternoon!

It's just redefining everyone to be a potential enemy, because the objective is total control. Amongst individuals it's obvious only psychos or people with something (real fucking ugly) to hide would do that, to anyone but said psychos.

Why would nations be different? Because we're in them? Why is it so hard to accept that a lot of what we consider normal actually is insane, doesn't achieve the claimed objectives, and prohibits a whole range of actually worthwhile ones?

>I don't trust random people either. That doesn't make me spy on them, since I couldn't care less what they talk among themselves, it's none of my business.

You maybe. But when there are multi-trillion dollar trade agreements in order, and the top dog (US) wants to push a weak bureacratic constellation of nations (EU) in it's favor, then the thing changes.

It's even worse to any trade agreement with lesser nations (think Mexico, Latin America, Africa, etc).

>Why is it so hard to accept that a lot of what we consider normal actually is insane, doesn't achieve the claimed objectives, and prohibits a whole range of actually worthwhile ones?

Well, if the objectives are "get the upper hand on the negotiations" (including "bribe/blackmail individuals involved in them to rule in our favor", then it very much achieves them.

A spy organization caught spying, shocking.

so the EU is the US's enemy? I mean, I always figured spying was a form of warfare.

The definition is: "An agent employed by a state to obtain secret information, especially of a military nature, concerning its potential or actual enemies."

As far as I'm concerned, people should be more concerned about this, unless they feel like they agree with their governments actions as valid, thus confirming they do in fact believe the EU is a potential enemy.

If that's the case, I feel the EU should take some drastic measures against the US.

Apparently Israel is spying on the US as well. I get the impression that everyone is spying on everyone else all the time. What concerns me most about spies spying on spies and politicians is the cost to tax payers everywhere.

This thing doesn't bother me in the same way as when they're spying on me, because I care about my privacy and safety but as an EU citizen I don't care much if the US finds out something about EU negotiation tactics or whatever they're after.

That it's not between enemies is exactly why it doesn't matter much. It's just an expensive playground for a self-important security aparatus.

I don't care much if the US finds out something about EU negotiation tactics or whatever they're after.

You're then very uniformed: there are a lot of issues where U.S. and EU have very different goals and where it would be of EU citizen's (and even the world's) interest not to "just do what the U.S. wants."

The US knowing what the EU wants or plans to do doesn't mean to "just do what the US wants". And if I was uninformed before, I'm no less uninformed after your reply. That there are areas of disagreement between the US and the EU isn't exactly news to me.

There is clearly a significant leverage coming to the negotiations knowing much more than those on another side.

In order to be informed try to follow the topics of disagreements between EU and US, there are enough of those, and any European citizen is affected. Just a small example where EU first opposed and then did everything US wanted:


Interesting that you would choose this example. Yes, the US gets data on airline passangers and I'm not happy about that. On the other hand, many European countries are a lot further along the way to total surveillance. The UK is a prime example but also German authorities were recently caught illegally installing spyware on PCs. France even banned the personal use of encryption software (much of it is still banned). The EU data retention directive mandates telcos and internet providers to keep all metadata for 6 to 24 months.

So there is no significant difference in opinions between EU and US authorities where spying on its own citizens is concerned. Airline passanger data is a minor detail.

Obviously, no negotiator wants to be spied upon and my opinion is not that it is OK. I'm just saying it doesn't matter much at the end of the day.

If you don't want to be bothered I can't change it, but I can still with my clear consciousness claim you're uninformed as long as you apparently don't see that the interests of EU and US don't have to be the same and don't bother to follow the examples yourself. Genetically modified produces anyone?

I am informed about the genetically modified food controversy. And even though I'm sure there are transatlantic issues about which I am indeed uninformed, you may have to accept that our differences have little to do with lack of information. We seem to be ascribing different importance to some of the same facts.

I don't think we should be taking cues on foreign policy from Israel...

We can, and should, strive to be better than that.

France spies on Germany. Should Germany take "drastic" measures against France?

Does France also kidnap people and put them into secret prisons? Does it demand support for offensive wars, and do we live in a "post Eiffelturm tower" world? When, since Napoleon, was something like "either with us or against us" heard from there?

Also, yes, why not. Maybe the first step could be to stop spying on France, the second could be mocking the spies with baguettes? Because you have a point and fair is fair.

>Does it demand support for offensive wars It did so with Libya and now talking about arming terrorists in Syria. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_military_intervention_in_L...

I'm not catching the point your making, but am worried that you're saying France hasn't had secret prisons and state sponsored torture. If you are saying this, please read up on Algeria. Be prepared to feel sickened.

Or blow up Greenpeace boats in foreign waters killing members of the Crew.

This is what makes me so mad at our weird policy of being scared of terrorists. Given the only proper bombing here in recent memory was by the French, why the hell are we scared of jihadists when it was our supposed allied that hit us?

Oh is France the magical country with no blood on its hands? France, I suppose has never been a part of supporting brutal African dictators or anything like that? You're not even serious. On some level your "post Eiffel tower" or whatever nonsense you're talking about might be sort of funny but it seems you are more addressing how relevant France has been on the world stage than anything else. If you really want to play this game, we can just, instead, talk about how proportionally relevant France has been in the rest of the world since the time of Napoleon.

It would make round 3 more interesting. In all seriousness though, what are you referring to?

There are friendly nations, but no friendly intelligence services.

I mean, I always figured spying was a form of warfare.

Here is the problem - you are starting from a bad assumption.

EU nations spy on the US. That's not up for debate. It is a fact.

That's how the world works.


You're linking to an article on corporate spying. We're discussing spying on government officials on, what I can only assume, is a lot more serious matters, i.e waging wars.

This is a trust/image issue for the states, and it's really taking a beating right now.

Lets not make the same mistake that most people were making regarding the NSA before these leaks: it makes logical sense that EU governments would spy on everyone they technologically can; ergo we must assume that they are.

EU doesn't spy on anyone - we have no central intelligence. So let's not assume anything.

>EU governments

AKA individual member nation governments.

Assume away. But France is not Denmark and vice versa.

It is possible that this kind of activity from European countries is in fact a direct result of similar activity by the US government.


Oh come on. He missed a quotation mark so you don't address the question. Pedantic sir, Pedantic! /intentional

If it was a question, it was rhetorical - and irrelevant.

Just like our last 4 comments. But here I am, giving you my morning coffee time.

I digress. I think ultimately you have to decide to accept current practises as inevitable, or malleable.

I for one, do not think allies should spy on each other. Being caught so would have punitive repercussions such as increases in trade rates. If perpetrator makes a big deal about it, then find better allies, and then they can spy all they want.

So if the Air Force starts bombing Germany, you'll say "A military caught killing people, shocking"? How is this intended to sound like a contribution to discussion?

If we were at war with Germany and yet people were shocked that it took place, that would be an appropriate response to remind everyone of reality. I don't know what you think the EU has done that prevents it from being an acceptable target for American espionage.

Yes, let's apply it to something else:

"A rapist caught raping women, shocking".

Because an organisation doing what it was created for, totally justifies that thing, right?

Not the same thing. A "rapist" generally isn't someone whose job is to rape people all day. If he were, the newsworthy aspect would be that such a position exists, not that the person in that position has raped someone. But we all understand that espionage exists as a normal part of relations beteween nation-states, and the NSA and CIA exist solely to do it.

Spy agencies were supposed to spy on the "bad guys", not on every single citizen of all the other countries - and then send back the data to those local governments.

Intelligence agencies are in the business of intelligence; enemy or friend is not a relevant distinction. Why is it a surprise that intelligence agencies would spy on "friends"? Why are people so damn naive?

It's not that they are naive, it's that they aren't cynical and withdrawn.

No, it is in fact very naive to think the idea of a "friend" even has any meaning on the scale of nation-states. There are nations who's interests are aligned and those who's interests are not. Anything more than that is pure naivete.

"... The information appears in secret documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden that

====> SPIEGEL has in part seen. <====

A "top secret" 2010 document describes how the secret service attacked the EU's diplomatic representation in Washington."


"... For weeks now, new details about Prism and other surveillance programs have been emerging that had been compiled by whistleblower Snowden."

Am I correct inferring there are Snowden leaked docs passing about beyond distributors The Guardian and the Washington Post?

For example, suppose Wikileaks have the entire 'Snowden stack' and its worker bees' 'discovery' pass up to a dispatcher deciding: if, who -receives it? This has been going on for the past ~month?

This is the first evidence I've encountered. Anything else?

Snowden has been releasing documents steadily & feeding stories to other outlets(1) and has stated he has quite a few more stashed with people who will decrypt and distribute the full set immediately if anything happens to him. Given that what we've seen has been cherry-picked from what appears to be a much larger collection and he's stated he has more, the odds are pretty high. He's probably passing some to Wikileaks, but I'd be surprised if they have the full dump.

(1) The South China Morning Post out of Hong Kong broke the PacNet story: http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/1266875/exclusive...

Coauthor of the Spiegel article is Laura Poitras. If I remember the story correctly she was the first person contacted by Snowden regarding the leaked documents (even before Greenwald).

She is probably the link between Snowden and Spiegel.

Excellent field work Ludwig, again HN's Munchen's desk amply demonstrates operatives in the field return the best and most decisive intel.

By the way, I encountered last night Walter Ruttmann's 1927 fascinating hour long classic silent film celebrating Weimar Berlin: The few autos, centric of trains, many horses, trams, new to me architecture long ago gone, men in hats, intense machinists in factories, and foundries' men at work:


You familiar with this?

My favorite Paul Graham essay you forensically dissected with your profiling tools, wc: 362, is `The Roots of Lisp'. I do the most rudimentary lisp, but this Conway introduction shared with me PG's enthusiasm and excitement focusing on lisp's eval, which I've wondered about forever and still do.

Poor woman.

Lets make a list of all the journalists that are a link between Wikileaks/Manning/Snowden and a journal, then we can look back 5, 10 years from now to see in what accident they each died.

I think the NSA can read a byline all on their own.

You can use asterisks for emphasis.

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