NSA spied on EU offices

This breathless report from the German newspaper Der Spiegel says the NSA "attacked" the offices of the EU by spying on them.

Information obtained by SPIEGEL shows that America's National Security Agency (NSA) not only conducted online surveillance of European citizens, but also appears to have specifically targeted buildings housing European Union institutions. 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.

The document suggests that in addition to installing bugs in the building in downtown Washington, DC, the European Union representation's computer network was also infiltrated. In this way, the Americans were able to access discussions in EU rooms as well as emails and internal documents on computers.

The attacks on EU institutions show yet another level in the broad scope of the NSA's spying activities. For weeks now, new details about Prism and other surveillance programs have been emerging from what had been compiled by whistleblower Snowden. It has also been revealed that the British intelligence service GCHQ operates a similar program under the name Tempora with which global telephone and Internet connections are monitored.

The documents SPIEGEL has seen indicate that the EU representation to the United Nations was attacked in a manner similar to the way surveillance was conducted against its offices in Washington. An NSA document dated September 2010 explicitly names the Europeans as a "location target".

What a bunch of crap. In fact, the European reaction to the snooping drips with hypocrisy. Are we to believe that the Germans don't have the technical means to spy on the US? That friendly embassies in the US aren't hotbeds of spying? Knowing what your friends are doing is almost as valuable as knowing what the enemy is up to. The notion that the Europeans are too morally upstanding to spy on US military is absurd. They all do it, as do we. That's the way of the world and the Edward Snowdens who may be shocked! shocked, I say to uncover this fact need to drop their childlike naivete and understand how things work.

This is an embarrassment for us. But beyond that, I would be very surprised if the EU didn't expect such snooping and employ countermeasures to stop it. For all we know, they discovered the bugs and ripped them out. Their mild response would indicate that this is not going to be a big deal.

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