What makes this a story is that it is a non-story. Who the hell else is the NSA supposed to spy on but the Russian government?
Some of the reaction to NSA surveillance is getting ridiculous. It reminds me of the reason then Secretary of State Henry Stimson gave for shutting down the "Black Chamber" codebreakers in the 1920's: "Gentlemen don't read other gentlemen's mail." Of course we do, as our allies and potential foes read our mail.
Why pretend differently?
The NSA interception of the Russian leadership at G20 came hours after Obama and Medvedev had met for the first time. Relations between the two leaders had been smoothed in the runup to the summit with a series of phone calls and letters, with both men wanting to establish a trusting relationship to discuss the ongoing banking crisis and nuclear disarmament.
In the aftermath of their discussions on 1 April, the two men issued a joint communique saying they intended to "move further along the path of reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms in accordance with the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons".
A White House official who briefed journalists described the meeting as "a very successful first meeting focused on real issues". The official said it had been important for the men to be open about the issues on which they agreed and disagreed. Obama had stressed the need to be candid, the official noted.
While it has been widely known the two countries spy on each other, it is rare for either to be caught in the act; the latest disclosures will also be deeply embarrassing for the White House as Obama prepares to meet Vladimir Putin, who succeeded Medvedev as president, in the margins of the G8 summit this week.
The two countries have long complained about the extent of each other's espionage activities, and tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats are common. A year after Obama met Medvedev, the US claimed it had broken a highly sophisticated spy ring that carried out "deep cover" assignments in the US.
Ten alleged Russian spies living in America were arrested.
Is this revelation really "deeply embarrassing" for Obama" I think it's more embarrassing for the Guardian. The breathless coverage of this "scoop" only shows the Guardian for the rag that it is. They're not interested in informing the public, because no one cares. Their interest is in damaging US foreign policy.
Chalk this one up as a failure.