Tuesday, September 2, 2014

When Europe talks, the U.S. listens

From page A6 | October 31, 2013 |

The issue: The bottom line: Friends don’t spy on friends

There is a rich element of hypocrisy in European outrage over disclosures that the National Security Agency was eavesdropping on the phone conversations of world leaders, particularly our European allies and most particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

MERKEL ANGRILY called President Barack Obama and was assured that she was not now, and would not be in the future, a target of U.S. surveillance. Apparently, Obama has fielded similar calls from other leaders and made similar assurances, although in some cases surely with his fingers crossed.

Merkel is not someone the United States wants to offend. She is the most powerful leader in Europe and generally more than well-disposed toward the U.S. But as someone who grew up in East Germany, whose government spied on everyone, she should have been sensitive to the possibility. And as a constant user of her cell phone, she should have known, and certainly her security services should have warned her, that the United States likely was not the only one listening in on her conversations.

Merkel called on the United States to rebuild trust anew: “We are allies. But such an alliance can only be built on trust.” The White House and the State Department have their work cut out for them, with the first test being whether negotiations on a trans-Atlantic free-trade pact can proceed, now that European trade officials suspect that the United States already knows their negotiating positions.

CERTAINLY, the revelations of U.S. eavesdropping show the need for some kind of institutional restraint. Just because we can do something doesn’t necessarily mean we should. The disclosures of renegade NSA contractor Edward Snowden have the United States sweeping up more than 70 million phone records in France in one month. What on Earth are we going to do with all that? Absent specifically targeted conversations, why would we even want it?

The fuss likely will die down as revelations of Europe’s own spying surface. The French, for example, have been especially aggressive in trying to ferret out U.S. business and technical secrets. Italian Premier Enrico Letta, whose nation’s literature and theater are filled with tales of agents and double agents, said, “It is not in the least bit conceivable that activity of this type could be acceptable.”

DESPITE THE indignation, much of it surely feigned for domestic consumption, the NSA’s excess of enthusiasm and intrusion should not be allowed to disrupt a valuable network built up over time of sharing covert information.

To elaborate on a U.S. public service announcement: Friends don’t spy on friends, but if they do, they do so discreetly.





Davis is not immune: Are you ready for a big quake?

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Planning begins for Davis Neighbors’ Night Out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

Sword-attack suspect awaiting trial in Davis

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

6 militants killed in U.S. strike in Somalia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

San Francisco is first to test urban farming law

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Learn about RNA at Science Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Google Glass will be discussed, demonstrated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Tickets still available for DHS Hall of Fame dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Cuddle up at Project Linus’ meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A3

International folk dancing offered Sundays

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Rose garden bricks to be dedicated Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

It’s About Time plays Davis Farmers Market’s Picnic in the Park

By Anthony Siino | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Register year-round at Davis Chinese School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8



Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

Have the facts before you judge

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Tesla has state walking a tightrope

By Tom Elias | From Page: A4

Special-needs passengers ignored

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

A cure for Davis’ problems

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

A good use for the MRAP

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A4

Marriage vs. male instinct

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



DHS boys looking to replicate a big cross country performance

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Life without MacDonald starts Friday for DHS

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Clark recalls his hole-in-one — the first at Davis Golf Course

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Fruits of their Labor Day

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggies edge Quinnipiac in overtime

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Sports briefs: Hot Shots basketball tryouts coming up

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Baseball roundup: Aces end River Cats’ season

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B3

Junior Blue Devils strong in home debut, winning 3 on the field

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery









Elaine Dracia Greenberg

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5



Comics: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

Comics: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7