Spies and politics: Cloaks off

AT FIRST coolly dismissive, now shaken and divided, the Obama administration is still grappling for the right response to the diplomatic and domestic political fallout from revelations by the media allies of Edward Snowden, a fugitive former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor.On October 29th, realising that the political mood in Washington was, in the words of one security official, “turning ugly”, the NSA’s boss, General Keith Alexander, and the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, came out slugging. Giving evidence to a congressional committee, both men vigorously denied that the agency had “gone rogue”. In particular, they strongly rejected charges that the NSA had collected data on tens of millions of phone calls in France, Spain and Italy without the knowledge of their governments. They claimed the data had been handed over by those countries’ spooks. Neither Mr Snowden nor the journalists interpreting his material had understood it. The implication was that the European leaders who had joined in the chorus of popular protests about Mr Snowden’s disclosures were either hypocritical or ignorant.The two men were on shakier ground when it came…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/international/21588890-foreign-alarm-about-american-spying-mounting-sound-and-fury-do-not-always-match?fsrc=rss|int

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