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Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Europeans Wake Up With Severe ‘Hope and Change’ Hangover.



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I return from vacation with an epic Morning Jolt, if I may say. There’s a look at the massive protesting crowds in Egypt, a dissection of the Paula Deen controversy, three key paragraphs from a particular book you’ve heard a lot about lately, and more pictures and one-liners than usual.

Man, You Europeans Were a Bunch of Suckers for Obama’s 2008 Rhetoric.

Hope and change, baby! Back in 2008, Germans overcome with enthusiasm for the Democratic presidential nominee referred to their own country as “Obamaland.”

Now . . . well, I’ll let this picture from AFP sum it up:

“Stasi 2.0.” Dang, that’s going to leave a mark. Obama’s just lucky that these latest revelations broke after he gave his overhyped Brandenburg speech.

According to Der Spiegel, the NSA has been going through the phones, computers, and who knows what else of European Union officials. If European politicians were any angrier, they would be commenting on Daily Kos. They’re so mad, Islamic Rage Boy is telling them to calm down. Alec Baldwin is imploring them to not lose their temper.

Really, they’re ticked:

Senior European Union officials are outraged by revelations that the US spied on EU representations in Washington and New York. Some have called for a suspension of talks on the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement.

Europeans are furious. Revelations that the US intelligence service National Security Agency (NSA) targeted the European Union and several European countries with its far-reaching spying activities have led to angry reactions from several senior EU and German politicians.

EU and German politicians on Sunday, however, were reacting primarily to the revelations that the US had specifically targeted the 27-member bloc with its surveillance activities. “If these reports are true, then it is abhorrent,” said Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. “It would seem that the secret services have gotten out of control. The US should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies.”

Asselborn characterized the operation as a breach of trust. “The US justifies everything as being part of the fight against terrorism. But the EU and its diplomats are not terrorists. We need a guarantee from the very highest level that it stops immediately.”

A guarantee from the president of the United States that we will no longer collect intelligence on officials in EU countries? “Bzzz! Sorry Hans, wrong guess. Would you like to go for Double Jeopardy where the scores can really change?”

If you’re a European diplomat, and you didn’t already assume that your phone calls, e-mails, and files are constantly being targeted by intelligence agencies from all kinds of countries, hostile and friendly and everything in between . . . well then, fire your counterintelligence staff. Welcome to the real world, Hans. If you’re got information worth having, then somebody, somewhere, is trying to get it.

There’s a line of dialogue from Heat: “Assume they got our phones, assume they got our houses, assume they got us, right here, right now as we sit, everything. Assume it all.” It’s good advice for anyone connected with sensitive information, because even if U.S. intelligence agencies never contemplated snooping in those EU diplomats’ files, the Russians, Chinese, and who knows who else did it, and continue to do it, too. You’re only as secure as your countermeasures.

As an American, I’m not particularly bothered by the NSA giving a technological colonoscopy to every electronic gadget used by every European diplomat. That’s just good old-fashioned intelligence-gathering. The U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment doesn’t say Jacques merde about unreasonable searches on foreign officials.

Of course, it doesn’t bother me because I’m not a European diplomat and I never really thought Obama was the embodiment of hope and change. If I had gone to that big rally in Berlin in 2008 and told my constituents that this president really was the polar opposite of George W. Bush in all the ways that mattered to those kumbaya-minded Europeans, well . . . yeah, I’d feel like a fool, too.

Let’s close with a few words from Obama’s speech in Berlin:

Even as we remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must move beyond a mindset of perpetual war. And in America, that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo. (Applause.) It means tightly controlling our use of new technologies like drones. It means balancing the pursuit of security with the protection of privacy. (Applause.)
 
And I’m confident that that balance can be struck. I’m confident of that, and I’m confident that working with Germany, we can keep each other safe while at the same time maintaining those essential values for which we fought for.
 
Our current programs are bound by the rule of law, and they’re focused on threats to our security — not the communications of ordinary persons.

Congratulations, EU officials. We don’t think you’re ordinary!


Tags: Barack Obama , NSA , Europeans


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