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View Diary: Ambassador Rice Asked the NSA to Spy on UN Security Council Members (125 comments)

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  •  I get so tired of apologists saying... (36+ / 0-)

    "Everybody spies on each other."

    They're wrong. No other country has the capacity to spy like the NSA.

    (it helps that most of the world's communications are routed through the U.S.)

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

    by markthshark on Mon May 12, 2014 at 09:45:13 PM PDT

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    •  Atrios: (29+ / 0-)
      The Job Of The NSA Is Spying So How Can We Object To Their Spying

      I see this argument a lot. From stupid people.

      The Third Way ain't My Way!

      by JVolvo on Mon May 12, 2014 at 09:57:22 PM PDT

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      •  Their job is to spy on bad actors... (14+ / 0-)

        in order to keep the country safe.

        Using that job description, in reality, makes us all bad actors, who our government feels are a threat to this country.

        "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

        by markthshark on Mon May 12, 2014 at 10:09:11 PM PDT

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      •  Atrios' comment is almost as idiotic (4+ / 0-)

        as those who think the NSA should be able to spy on every diplomat for any reason.  

        In this case, it seems to me to be stupid overkill to spy on all of these Security Council members over an Iran vote that was pre-ordained to go a certain way anyway.  Was the vote ever in doubt?  Was it a serious national security matter, or did we simply have the capability, so sure, why not listen to what they are saying?  So in this instance, it seems like a dumb move.

        But frankly, the NSA should listen to some diplomatic communications, including some at the United Nations.  Examples? If we finally get serious on climate change, it would be a good idea to know what steps China and India might take during negotiations.  

        The problem with the NSA is the indiscriminate collection of information, and the erosion of constitutional protections for US citizens and residents. Is it automatically an outrage that they listen in to diplomatic communications?  No. I would prefer if the outrage was more focused on (a) exceeding its mandate domestically and (b) punishing whistle-blowers including for waste and abuse.  

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Tue May 13, 2014 at 07:35:33 AM PDT

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    •  well, that's (8+ / 0-)

      essentially true. Everybody spies on each other to the extent of their capacity to do so.

      The USA has a greater capacity than anyone else.

      I'd be more shocked if the USA  limited its capability to that of the least capable country on the planet.

      "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

      by JackND on Tue May 13, 2014 at 06:30:19 AM PDT

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    •  We can rest assured (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlb1972, solublefish, Johnny Q

      that at 12:05pm on January 20 of the next year a Republican is President (that is to say as s/he is still taking the Oath of Office) the "everyone does it/it keeps us safe/why do you hate America" arguments from Democratic-aligned Websites and news media will stop.

      Because the very second a Republican takes possession of the White House, people will suddenly remember that spying on everyone and everything is not a way to endear one's country to a world that is inextricably linked.

      Until then, though, Mr. Obama (and eventually Mrs. Clinton) and their apparatchiks will receive free passes. And, incidentally for those who will take umbrage at the term, it has moved beyond its original meaning of "Communist functionary" and now can be used for any stooge enthralled to power.  

      •  At last, a voice of sanity (0+ / 0-)

        Very depressing to scroll down the list of comments and see one nodding head after another "they all do it" "it makes us more secure" "we have no choice".

        The consistent implication is that we rely on intelligence to conduct sound and sane foreign policy.  But it seems to me the history of the use of intelligence in the crafting of policy suggests the opposite: intelligence is almost always bad, or is ignored.  "Nigerian yellowcake" is a case in point: in the run-up to the Iraq war, as the Downing Street memo said (and as we all knew well at the time), "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."  This was also the case with "the missile gap":  there was no missile gap.  JFK was fed false intelligence, knowingly, by Air Force, who were trying to shape policy on their own.

        Also, if "knowledge of what the other guy is doing" is important, that can only be because you perceive him as a threat: you are in conflict or contention or competition with them, and need to hide your true intentions while discovering theirs.  But is Germany our enemy? Is Brazil?  No.  The fact that we would spy on them - or, as we also did, on the delegates to the climate convention, is not the action of a nation prudently trying to protect its own interests - it is the action of an imperial power, so obsessive in its desire to "secure its borders" that it is willing to violate accepted laws and customs of behavior to do so.  Or it is proof of bad will: a desire to subvert even the interests of ones friends to achieve a temporary advantage.  Either way, the behavior is akin to psychosis, and deserves every censure.

        Finally, I would have to say this seems to me a very bad way to run a world - or a state.  In the bad old days of "the Great Game" - or the Renaissance of Machiavelli - such spying might have made some sense.  But not now: there is no room left for such conflicts in the world we live in, when e.g. we are all toast if the nations cannot get together and cooperate to solve the problem of global warming.  

        •  I appreciate your explanation (0+ / 0-)

          which was far more thorough than ones we've seen elsewhere. I disagree fundamentally with several of your points, but you've at least provided reasoning why youve come to the conclusions that in this case, spying was bad. Thank you.

          While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Tue May 13, 2014 at 03:29:49 PM PDT

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    •  And that's just not fair!!! nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton, jdsnebraska

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