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>Of those 37 countries, only a minor fraction have the budget to operate the way NSA does.

There will be differences in cost and budget for each nation. The United States has 25% of the world GDP (compared to 4%) of the population. That we can afford to fund the Lamborghini of intelligence operations isn't to discount other states that have less well funded capabilities.

You'll see plenty of parallels with traditional warfare: like that countries with smaller budgets ally themselves with countries that have more capabilities.

> Let's say half of them are despotic and don't count

Let's not. Those are some awfully large numbers for one. But more fundamentally why don't the armies and intelligence capabilities of tyrannies count?

> Out of those I'd wager that more than half are have governments too under-resourced to have the ability to put their people in the kind of panopticon Americans live

The nice thing is that surveillance, if done right, is reasonably cheap. Many other countries, especially in the ones you 'don't count' have laws preventing citizen use of any reasonable encryption whatsoever.

Addendum: we help fund partners programs.

http://hbpub.vo.llnwd.net/o16/video/olmk/holt/greenwald/NoPl... (pg 124)

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