NSA leaks: US bugged EU offices & networks in DC

An article in Der Speigel expands on the descriptions we’ve had of the Snowden/NSA leaks, and claims that the US planted bugs in the EU’s Washington offices and took over their internal computer network, intercepting its traffic. READ THE REST

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” --Maslow


Because terrorism. Or whatever they think the rubes will buy.

Ironically, the root of trade is trust - trust that you will be paid, trust that the goods will ship. The root of alliances is also trust - that your allies will not betray you or leave you hanging.

The US and its NSA technology is like a five year old with a handgun. Just because you found it under the bed and it is really cool doesn’t mean you should point it at your friends.

The NSA is doing more to undermine the position of the USA in the world than any enemy. And no, it wasn’t Snowden - sooner or later the EU and others (who also have people with computer skills) would have figured it out. The sooner the better - because now they can protect themselves from the colossal stupidity/over-cleverness of the NSA people, and the sooner the world can start figuring out how to function in the new technological reality.

Just wait for the Fox types to try spinning this as part of the war on terror, that the ends justify the means etc. This is purely a case of kids caught with their hand in the cookie jar, at their neighbours house and with their parents’ permission.


I’m pretty sure that the EU and her member nations already knew or could have known, though perhaps not the extent of the snooping. There must’ve been some help from within to tap millions of calls and emails each day.

However, now the public knows and it’s not that easy to dismiss critics as conspiracy loonies anymore.

Also, it’s hard to maintain that this wasn’t used for industrial espionage.

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I would agree that the EU already knew about the NSA programs. However, they could comfortably ignore it at a governing level until it was made public. Now it’s embarrassing and public, instead of morally corrupt and private.

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This definitely falls in the “everybody spies on everybody else” category. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that an organization whose mission is to spy on other nation’s communications does its job, doubly so when the spying can be done on your own soil.

The problem is that while everyone spies on everyone else, not everyone has evidence that they do so leak out. The US has alleged that China is hacking its networks, but Snowden has given China and the EU evidence that the US spies on them in turn. This puts the US in a weaker position, and resulting harm to American interests will justify labeling Snowden a traitor to the American people, not just our government.

My only question is whether he was always a traitor, or has he been forced into treason because he’s been rejected by his homeland. After all, a majority of Americans approve of the so-far-revealed domestic spying missions (though wishing they had not been kept secret) and regard him as a traitor for revealing just that much. Maybe he thought public opinion would shield him from government retribution, and is doing what he has to to gain support from outside the US.

If so, I sympathize with him, but he still has to be stopped. He’s not just an enemy of the state, he’s now a public enemy.

Spiegel, not Speigel. ie and ei are very different sounds in German.


IMO, this is pretty bad. There is a difference between “everyone spies on everyone” and hacking EU computers, bugging offices, etc, of your allies.

My prediction? In response, and in secret, France is going to let their NSA-equivalent completely off the leash too. France is already notorious for using their spies for economic/industrial espionage. Now its open season for them. After all, the whole “sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander” business.

Where IS Ed, currently? Still at the airport?

One other thought, DROPMIRE sounds like a lifecycle attack, where the attacker corrupts the system from within the company producing it. If it is, or if its even considered a possibility that the NSA is using lifecycle attacks on security products, there goes the ability for any US company to effectively sell their products in the market.

I think this has now gone beyond 2 hour movie territory. We’re into global distribution 7 year series TV now.

Cory, it sounds like BiongBiong to a German native. Fix it to “Spiegel”

grenzfurthner would say: See, the imperalist Americans do not only spy at us, they also make new toypos on our media :wink:

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On your own soil? The spying is partly done by hijacking transatlantic cables and from bases on German territory.

Time to send these troops home, they start looking like occupation forces like the Russian ones were.

The Spiegel notes that Germany is an “Angriffsziel” (target for attacks) for the NSA. I hope the incompetent asswipes we have as politicians here grow a spine and draw appropriate consequences. (what consequences? I don’t know but we surly can’t watch them tapping international transatlantic cables)

Why is Germany prime target for spying?

The German leading role in the EURO crisis? Or furthering the UK agenda to undermine Europe? Or Islamic terrorists living in Germany? Or stealing german trade secrets? Or just your simple old fashion German-phobia (US and UK)?

We don’t need enemies when having such “allies”.

Perhaps german foreign relations should once again concentrate more to our eastern neighbors - last time we did that under Chancellor Schröder the US administration got visibly nervous. We know we can’t trust the Russians but at least we don’t get backstabbed by so called “friends”. Better the devil you know …

BTW in the news segment I saw on tv the NSA scandal was followed by pictures of Obama visiting the former prison cell of Nelson Mandela. Is that hypocrisy, some sort of sophisticated irony or is he looking for inspiration how to treat all those “terrorists and traitors”?

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Nope. The public enemies are those who were doing the illegal spying,

  1. We don’t even know Snowden released this information. It could be an unrelated leak, or something else altogether. So let’s not pin this one on him.

  2. Even if he did, the people who endangered US interests were those who committed the acts in question. Using a ‘war on terror’ to justify spying on G8 delegations, trade delegations and everyone else is utterly bogus. It is a betrayal of US allies on so many levels it is scary.

  3. You say traitor, I say hero. It is all a matter of perspective. If you think giving up your privacy to unaccountable bureaucrats, in perpetuity, is worth a slight reduction in the already infinitesimal chance you will be harmed by a terrorist - that is your choice. Those who think otherwise are not traitors, and telling us that it is being done on your behalf is not treason. It is transparency, without which a democracy cannot and will not survive.

We are in a new era of highly technologized spying and so-called cyberwarfare. And it is apparently a large scale, ongoing form of war that happens without our knowledge. It will take time for us to figure out how to live in this world without becoming panopticon residents.

There are a lot of reasons to be afraid of how this will pan out. We have no idea what will become a significant data point in the future. Perhaps my interest in Bangladeshi cooking (which is awesome) combined with my amateur robotics hobby and my online business presence will become a major red flag after somebody from Chittagong decides to fly a quadcopter drone into something unpleasant. Suddenly I have a few of the red flags, and get a surprise visit, or even just get a rectal exam every time I fly. Maybe that goes in a file, and ten years from now one of my kids participates in a protest - and then gets tagged as part of a suspicious family.

It sounds outrageous, but it is also exactly what is happening. Recording every phone call and email, every blog post and forum entry, in perpetuity. That is scary, and calling attention to it is not treason.

I wonder if Germany, or any other EU country, would consider giving Snowden asylum now?


Spiegel = mirror
Speigel (spei-gel) = vomit gel

just sayin’


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Der Spiegel? I admit I haven’t read the article, but I have the impression they’re known as a pretty untrustworthy tabloid who make up stories about celebrities. How did they get the material to break this story?

I won’t be surprised if the story is true though. Nothing surprises me anymore. Maybe this will make Europe actually give the US some heat about this mess. So far they’ve been way too timid.

You’re right, this may not be a leak from Snowden. If it’s not, then Der Spiegel has lied - and if they’ve lied about one thing, they’ve lied about others. The entire story might be fabricated by them.

I’ll assume that you are not accusing Der Spiegel or Snowden of having fabricated the story, in part or in whole, and have simply not read the article. This story is about spying on foreign governments, which is of course the purpose of having an intelligence agency. This is not a new development, it has been going on since time immemorial. And it is in no way illegal - in the US that is. It is of course illegal in other countries for the US to spy on them, much like it is illegal in the US for foreign governments to spy on us. If you don’t like that, you can try to get the leaders of every nation to sit down and abolish the concept of spying, but good luck.

As it is, allies are not us - they are foreign nations. Our peoples may be intermingled and share culture, and we may face any threat from outside our alliances together, but we still compete amongst each other for influence and wealth at the same time we are working together. It’s part of the human condition for groups to both compete and cooperate with each other depending on the objectives. And in the competition between nations, Snowden is not playing on the US team anymore.

In short, the only relationships this has with the domestic spying issue is that the same intelligence apparatus is being used and the source of the leak is the same. And it really brings into question what Snowden’s ideology really is, or whether Ideology is even is motivation for leaking. Perhaps the initial leak about domestic spying was groundwork so Americans and their allies would be inclined to be angry at the US and UK governments instead of him.

The linked Der Spiegel article doesn’t say anything about that explicitly (I may be missing a reference that I’m not familiar with). The linked article is mainly about us spying on foreign offices that are hosted in the US, though they do mention spying in Brussels as well.

Technically, if the cable taps were within 300 miles of the coast, it would be “on American soil”. Not that it matters; spying is a crime against the nation that enforces it, and where it happens doesn’t usually matter, except as far as it’s easier to gather evidence of it on one’s own soil.

As long as you don’t mind paying for it. I’d just as soon spend my tax dollars on something more valuable than spying on the EU.

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