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I thought it really, really likely that the NSA was cooperating with European intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on Merkel's phone when that was revealed in 2013.

So the real news here is that Denmark was used to spy on communications of other European politicians and (apparently) not Danish politicians. The technically easiest solution would have been that the intelligence agency of each country spies on their politicians and hands over the intel to NSA. But I guess that would be a step to far, so instead they spy on the neighbouring politicians.

I think it is fair - based on this report and what is known of collaborations between NSA and different European intelligence agencies - to suspect that most or all European countries spies on neighbouring politicians in collaboration with the NSA. And yes, that shows a loyalty to the NSA above that of the loyalty to their own country. Therefore I expect the news in most countries to be quietly moved of the front pages for lack of political uproar, and then promptly forgotten.

by fjallstrom on Mon May 31st, 2021 at 07:40:27 AM EST
Further, if European governments really wanted to do something about this kind of behaviour they each can:

  1. Order an investigation into wheter their country has spied on neighbouring politicians and sent the data to NSA.

  2. End the collaboration between their intelligence agency and NSA.

I suspect they won't, but would be delighted if they do.
by fjallstrom on Wed Jun 2nd, 2021 at 07:55:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With number 1 there's the minor issue of it being considered a treason in many countries legislation. That puts it right into the realm of, "don't ask the question, if don't want to hear the answer".

Unfortunately, for number 2 to have an actual effect, one should use the courts to make some examples according to the number 1. I may be completely wrong, but I assume many an EU intelligence officer being more loyal to USA than their own politicians. So some beatings may be required, until morale improves.

by pelgus on Wed Jun 2nd, 2021 at 09:25:45 AM EST
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Because terrorism is seen as a common threat, I suspect "collaboration" between western intelligence agencies is the norm, not the exception. Also intelligence professionals tend to have more respect for their peers in allied agencies, rather than their "civilian" superiors who know nothing.

No doubt many an intelligence operatives' career has been boosted by a helping hand he got form an allied agency. I suspect US intelligence is riddled with agents also doing some part time work for Israel and this is on top of formal "5 eyes" or "9 eyes" or "14 eyes" intelligence sharing.

The only surprising thing about the Denmark revelations is that they got caught.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2021 at 12:34:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That puts the cart before the horse, surely? The European intelligence agencies were built around NATO and the US, long before terrorism became the buzzword you wrote on your funding applications. Remember when Germany's parliament was asking questions about why their military intelligence was providing targeting info to the Americans in the Iraq invasion when the official position was non-intervention. The answer was "terrible tragedy with our archive robot arm, nothing we can do about that now". And that was basically it.
by generic on Thu Jun 3rd, 2021 at 11:02:30 AM EST
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I'm sorry to point this out, but another thing European governments could do would be to construct a federation so that they could have a single, Europe-wide intelligence service comparable to the NSA. As long as it is two dozen individual small countries, each with individual intelligence organizations, compared to a few big countries--the US, China, and Russia--the story will continue.
by asdf on Wed Jun 2nd, 2021 at 11:50:30 PM EST
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I don't think that in and of itself would help.

If they were united today with the same people as today, they would still be filled with people who apparently see service to the US as the highest priority. And it would grant the leadership a position above state laws - such as treason - that today could in theory be used to end the subservient relationship to the NSA.

China and Russia are probably better at spying at EU countries then EU countries are at spying at them, but unlike the NSA they are not handed access on a platter. Unless they get NSAs data of course.

by fjallstrom on Thu Jun 3rd, 2021 at 07:39:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably got the Norwegians to spy on the Danes.
by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Jun 2nd, 2021 at 10:46:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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