The righteous indignation of European states in the wake of Edward Snowden’s release that the U.S. was spying on them isn’t as upright as it may seem. The latest revelation is that while they were being monitored, they were also benefiting from U.S. intelligence operations. While this may not seem very earth-shattering in the current atmosphere of rampant invasions of privacy worldwide, it brings up another issue – contingency plans if such operations ended up in the public eye.
As reported by AFP:
In remarks published in German, Snowden said an NSA department known as the Foreign Affairs Directorate coordinated work with foreign secret services.
The partnerships are organised so that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” if it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy,” he said.
The interview was conducted by US cryptography expert Jacob Appelbaum and documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras using “encrypted emails shortly before Snowden became known globally for his whistleblowing”, Spiegel said.
On cooperation with Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency, Snowden said the NSA provides “analysis tools” for data passing through Germany from regions such as the Middle East.
While there has been talk that these latest revelations about U.S. intelligence operations having a chilling effect on upcoming trade negotiations, leaders need to weigh the value of such an action. The implication at this point could be that they are upset not only about being spied on by the U.S., but also about the fact that they have plans to protect themselves from being associated directly with their own intelligence operations that involve invading the privacy of private citizens worldwide. Snowden has significantly changed the situation by releasing information that even implies that such plans exist.
Snowden remains in a Russian airport hotel, while three South American nations have suggested that they are willing to offer him asylum. Whether or not he will be able to take advantage of those offers is uncertain.