NSA and Canadian spooks illegally spied on diplomats at Toronto G20 summit


From Wikipedia: “It (the G20) studies, reviews, and promotes high-level discussion of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, and seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.”

You know what bugs me the most about this? That any of this discussion takes place outside of the public realm. Spying on the G20 should be a non issue, because they should completely transparent.


This would make sense if everything that was spied on was also publicly shared. Otherwise its just secrecy upon secrecy upon unaccountable secrecy.


Is there anything illegal about what the NSA is accused of? It’s their job to spy on foreign governments so that their paymasters can derive advantages on trade and negotiating positions. It’s fine, it’s their job.


Only true if you think that no government should keep secrets.

From the article:

"By law, CSEC cannot target anyone in Canada without a warrant, including world leaders and foreign diplomats at a G20 summit.

But, the Canadian eavesdropping agency is also prohibited by international agreement from getting the NSA to do the spying or anything that would be illegal for CSEC."

Is the NSA’s activity in Canada illegal in the US? I don’t know. But its certainly illegal in Canada. I’d also argue that focusing solely on questions of legality is missing the point: by spying on our allies in this way the NSA risks alienating them and causing diplomatic rifts that can have huge unintended consequences in future. We can all stick our heads in the sand and act as if the NSA is just acting in the national interest of the US, but it begs the question of who and what in the US the NSA is actually supporting. Its not supporting me and you, its supporting US multinationals, which have shown themselves to act solely in their own interest over and over. So my government, using my tax dollars, are spying for large corporations that screw over my people and my economy on a regular basis. Fuck them.


It’s probably not illegal when they do it in the US, but yes, it’s usually illegal when they do it in other countries. Hell, we know that the US and UK and Russians use gear in the embassies to illegally intercept and decrypt German communication. And yes, it is illegal.

The big difference is that Russia isn’t and ally and that they are pretty open it, while certain Western allies keep a pretense of friendship and are totally oblivious to the fact, that their laws end at their borders.

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I wont Godwin these comments so you can draw your own parallels if you can but, its their job, okay, but is it right?

You’ve also begging the question and creating a straw man argument by asking “Is there anything illegal about what the NSA is accused of?”

As far as i know, the legality of it all has not been tested and CAN NOT be tested.
So I’ll ask the question again: Is it right?

Not only that, but Harper knew about it. He apparently okay’d it. That guy is just dragging Canada’s name through the mud.

If every country on earth has a spy agency and spies on one another, is it wrong? And if so, how do you dismantle one of those spying programs and not the others? How do you dismantle all of them at once? Or do you ask one to dismantle their spying program, and accept the damage it causes to them?

It’s like nuclear disarmament, only instead of our survival as a species at stake, all that’s at stake is some diplomat’s sense of privacy.

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What exactly do you think your spy agency did under previous administrations?

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Divert the resources used on offensive spying into defensive programs. Just because everybody else does it, doesn’t make it okay. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind and all that.

Yes, there is. Pretty much every country on earth has laws against being spied upon/spying within their territory. If that weren’t the case, spies would be called ‘spies’, they’d be called ‘librarians.’ When the NSA is operating overseas they are - you may want to take a seat for this next bit - subject to the laws of the country in which they are operating.

So, yes. What the NSA is doing is illegal. That that is what they’re paid to be doing is beside the point. Spying on enemies is one thing, but spying on friends and allies - especially over trivial shit like G20 - is just mind bendingly stupid, because that kind of behaviour WILL come to light, and those former friends and allies are going to make life way harder than it used to be.


How do you know someone’s spying on you without engaging in ‘offensive’ spying? How do you defend yourself without knowing what their spying looks like? Who they’re spying on, how, why, where, etc? I’m really not sure what this thing you’re describing would look like.

Everyone in the G20 is spying on one another, before, during, and after the meeting.

Well there’s an excellent argument for Snowden’s release. If everyone is spying, so be it. Eventually maybe the whole thing will cancel itself out via ad infinitum, if there is no one not spying and everyone knows it.


Sometimes the lines are hard to tell. And sometimes you are talking about illegally spying on allied diplomats at a trade talk, which is pretty obviously not defensive, and so bringing up those lines is a red herring.

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Diplomats are frequently spies. Spying is something that goes hand in hand with diplomacy, and always has. Honestly though, who exactly do you think is doing the spying at these sort of meetings? At embassies? At the UN?

This isn’t even something that governments try to hide.

If that were all there were to it, you could use diplomats as counter-spies without violating the law. In what we are talking about here, though, the people doing the spying are the NSA and CSEC and they are not doing it just at the meetings. The idea that it might be regarded as a justifiable defense against the kind of espionage diplomats conduct is kind of ridiculous. If that’s really the best argument there is, then yeah, it’s indefensible.

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[quote=“GideonTJones, post:14, topic:15260”]
How do you know someone’s spying on you without engaging in ‘offensive’ spying?[/quote]
Are you saying that you can’t tell if your neighbour has broken into your house until after you’ve broken into his house?

Meanwhile, in the real world, this is a solved problem. See: MI5 and MI6, and in particular the distinctions between their roles and responsibilities.