Following the humiliation of having a US ambassador summoned so he would explain the spying conducted by the US government, in liberated Paris of all places (because while the NSA spying on your own citizens is an absolute travesty and trampling of basic human rights and smacks of Stalingrad circa 1960, spying abroad is permitted, accepted and largely forgiven by all the developed nations - after all everyone does it) the US has struck back in the most poetic way imaginable: it said that whatever phone records the NSA acquired were passed on to it by the local spy agencies of none other than France and Spain. The implication is simple: the local people understandably furious at the US and screaming blood, have just been given a far more convenient target at which to fume: their own governments.
The WSJ reports how the spy scandal tables have just turned:
The phone records collected by the Europeans—in war zones and other areas outside their borders—then were shared with the NSA, U.S. officials said, as part of efforts to help protect American and allied troops and civilians.
The new disclosure upends the version of events as reported in Europe in recent days, and puts a spotlight on the role of European intelligence services that work closely with the NSA, suggesting a greater level of European involvement in global surveillance.
The U.S. has so far been silent about the role of European partners in these collection efforts so as to protect relationships. These efforts are separate, however, from the U.S. spying programs that targeted dozens of foreign leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose phones were tapped for years by the NSA.
The NSA declined to comment, as did the Spanish foreign ministry and a spokesman for the French Embassy in Washington. A spokesman for Spain's intelligence service said: "Spanish law impedes us from talking about our procedures, methods and relationships with other intelligence services."
Of course, this is a lie too:
After publication of the report in Le Monde last week, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that it contained "inaccurate and misleading information regarding U.S. foreign intelligence activities."
He said the allegation that the NSA collected more than 70 million "recordings of French citizens' telephone data" is false, but he provided no further explanation of what the data in the documents showed.
However, that doesn't matter because in the New Normal globalized world everyone else is lying too, and the only prerogative is to keep the sheep happily grazing and not thinking too hard about what really goes on behind the scenes.
Officials privately have said the disclosures in the European press put the U.S. in a difficult bind.
The U.S. wants to correct the record about the extent of NSA spying but doing so in this case would require it to expose its allies' intelligence operations, the officials say, which could compromise cooperation in the future as well as ongoing intelligence efforts.
And for the "greater good" this can't possibly happen, as who knows what level of theft and criminality within the governments would be exposed. So the best option is merely to scapegoat, who else, Snowden himself, and to suggest that whatever the documents showed is not accurate and the NSA knows best.
U.S. officials said the Snowden-provided documents had been misinterpreted and actually show phone records that were collected by French and Spanish intelligence agencies, and then shared with the NSA, according to officials briefed on those discussions.
U.S. intelligence officials studied the document published by Le Monde earlier this month and have determined that it wasn't assembled by the NSA.
Rather, the document appears to be a slide that was assembled based on NSA data received from French intelligence, a U.S. official said.
Based on an analysis of the document, the U.S. concluded that the phone records the French had collected were actually from outside of France, and then were shared with the U.S. The data don't show that the French spied on their own people inside France.
U.S. intelligence officials haven't seen the documents cited by El Mundo but the data appear to come from similar information the NSA obtained from Spanish intelligence agencies documenting their collection efforts abroad, officials said.
And because the NSA never lies, everyone must believe them.... must believe them.... must believe them...
In conclusion: "Public disclosure of European complicity in the collection efforts would likely spark domestic outrage in those countries against their own governments, and could threaten cooperation with the U.S."
Great - more domestic outrage in countries that have 60% youth unemployment is just what the European recovery doctor ordered.