Recently the United States was busted for having been caught spying on our good friend and ally Germany. Could someone please explain to me why it would ever be necessary to spy on a friend? And here I thought the Cold Was over! I must be naive or something but it would seem to me that spying on a friend causes a breach of trust. Like any marriage if you cheat on your spouse, trust is lost, and the same thing can be said about spying on a friend. Anyone who has had a spouse cheat on them knows that it is harder than heck to regain the trust that is lost once the act occurs.
I realize that our Constitution is not a suicide pact. I know that there are bad people out there, but if you are going to spy on someone pick on the morons who want to attack civilians, the criminals who commit acts of terror.
I’ve never been a fan of the CIA, but I realize that there is a need for information about people who wish you harm. It is a horrible trade-off on liberty though.
Benjamin Franklin was right when he said that if you are willing to give up liberty for security you deserve neither. History is replete with examples of dictators, tyrants really, who spied on their own people to keep power.
There is this horrible balancing act where on one side of the argument, you need information about people who are out to kill you and on the other side of the argument, is that a breach of a person’s privacy is a step, a big step towards losing the liberty that you are seeking to protect and maintain.
Germany is an ally worth keeping. We have a lot of common interests. And with Germany, we should have tried to put ourselves into the shoes of the Germans before we even thought of spying on them. It does not take a brain surgeon to realize that the memories of the Gestapo and of the East German spy network are enough to make anyone hyper sensitive to being spied on. Stupid is a word that does not do justice to this regrettable situation.
One hears the excuse that everyone does it so it must be okay. That is an excuse and not a reason to justify spying on a friend and until someone can give me a real reason for doing it, spying on our friends should stop, period.
I frankly don’t like the idea that any government would claim the justification for spying on their own people let alone spy on a friend. Before we use all of this fancy technology to listen in on everyone’s conversation we need to demand that if any government seeks to listen in on a person’s phone calls or personal conversations they better have strong probable cause to do so. There better well be a factual reason for believing that a crime is about to be committed or that a conspiracy to commit a crime is in progress before any listening device is used to illegally listen in on someone. Without probable cause it is no ones business to violate a person’s expectation of privacy. This truth goes for people or nations. The rule of law must be maintained. If we don’t keep the faith of having laws to protect us from unreasonable breaches of trust, our freedom is only an illusion.