Edward Snowden is once again making headlines as European newspapers are reporting today that if it is true the NSA carried out espionage on as many as 60 million Spanish citizens phone calls it “could mean a ‘breach of trust’ between Spain and USA,” according headlines of El Mundo, a major Spanish newspaper. This latest foreign relations embarrassment for the Obama administration follows just days after France and Germany announced troubling investigations into the extent of the US spying program within their countries as revealed by documents made public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Germany is investigating the full extent of the NSA cell phone recording of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and perhaps as many as 34 other world leaders. The Wall Street Journal defended the innocence of the president by reporting that Mr. Obama was not aware that the US had been engaged in the illegal spying for the five years prior to Edward Snowden releasing documents to the world proving the existence of the massive data collection program from phone calls and social media sites as well as personal emails. That report, however, is disputed by the German newspaper Bild an Sonntag which quoted a confidential source within the NSA who stated that Obama received an NSA operations briefing in 2010. The unnamed official told the paper that in that 2010 briefing Obama was informed that Chancellor Merkel’s mobile communications were being monitored.
As expected, the NSA released a statement Sunday that denied that Obama ever discussed operations involving Chancellor Merkel. Previously, in response to a The Wall Street Journal article reporting on the extent of spying on world leaders the NSA stated the reported spying was being “mischaracterized” in the press. But as Spain has now joined the list of disgrunteled NSA target nations, the pressure for Obama to clear up the growing list of world leaders now openly questioning their trust of the US.
Obama has declared Edward Snowden, now living in Russia, an international fugitive and has said he wants to bring him back to America to stand trial for what Obama calls crimes. But as the scandal of spying on the private communications of world leaders grows, so to does the list of countries realizing that Snowden may be far more hero than villan.
As Spain joins other European nations in summoning the US ambassador to explain the extent of the spying, German officials are reportedly considering interviewing Edward Snowden in their investigation into the depth and volume of content the NSA may have collected, The Economic Times online edition suggest that the continued turmoil over the Snowden documents and the strain the NSA spying program has placed on US relations around the world could potentially affect the markets.
On Friday the Euro traded at a two year high versus the Dollar. The web site calculator X-Rates today shows the Dollar compares to 0.7254 EUR. Breaking news about the growing scandal in Spain, German envoys being sent to Washington to meet with US officials and calls for anti-spying agreements between the US and many friendly nations to be signed by the end of the year could see the dollar close today at a two year low
While Edward Snowden continues to be vilified in much of the American mainstream media, it now appears to the leaders of at least 34 nations from Europe to Asia that he may have done the world a great service. Certainly US citizens who are gradually learning how the secret domestic spying system was operating outside the Constitutional limits of the federal government are perhaps also learning to keep a closer watch on what big brother is doing.
by Marcus Murray
ET of India