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Posted by on Jun 30, 2013 in Featured, Media, Politics | 10 comments

US Media Mum On Allegations NSA Bugged EU Offices In Brussels And US

(June 30, 1:17 pm Pacific : updated 3:10 pm July 1, 9:00 am Pacific) On Saturday (in Europe), the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz issued this press statement:

I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices. If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations.”

It’s currently Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 10:17:37 PM CEST in Brussels. And Memeorandum, the website that shows what politics-related news stories are being discussed on the web, shows an appalling lack of coverage of this story in US media. There are two references on electronic media sites: NPR and CNN. And the Washington Post has a detailed story on the spying program, one from earlier in the week and not related directly to yesterday’s allegations. That’s It.

Contrast with De Spiegel (June 29, 2013 – 11:21 PM) and The Guardian (Sunday 30 June 2013 08.06 EDT).

No AP story listed although there is one from Reuters.


Update Monday morning:
US media continue to focus on aspects of the story other than the substance of Snowden’s claims or the substance of Europe’s objections. Note that Germans protested three years ago and successfully fought the collection of telephone metadata without cause. It’s illegal to do so in Europe.

Memeorandum July 1

This is appalling, especially in light of Friday’s news that the U.S. military has banned on access to The Guardian, one of the three news organizations publishing information leaked by Edward Snowden.

Domestic coverage is coming from political blogs.

From Gawker:

“If the media reports are true, it is reminiscent of the actions of enemies during the cold war,” Germany’s justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said in an interview. “It is beyond imagination that our friends in the US view Europeans as the enemy.”

Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and CIA, told CBS on Sunday morning that Europeans should look into the spying conduct of their own countries before becoming outraged by the behavior of the United States.

From TechCrunch:

The magazine reports that over five years ago security officers at the EU noticed missed calls and traced them to NSA offices within the Nato compound in Brussels. It also reported that the NSA had looked at half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month and had put Germany in the same class as China.

The story at The Washington Post (no datestamp but this comes from the most recent comment: 6/27/2013 7:41 PM PDT) is chilling in a different way — and it’s not being discussed (according to Memeorandum) by US media either:

In the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, American telephone companies offered the National Security Agency access to domestic calling records and their own analysis of calling patterns, a top-secret document shows.

At first, the NSA could not accept the help because it did not have the legal authority to collect data domestically. That changed on Oct. 4, when President George W. Bush gave his approval for what became known in classified circles as the President’s Surveillance Program, or PSP.

The NSA immediately began cultivating an array of “private sector partners,” including telephone companies, Internet service providers and Web services, according to a top-secret report by the NSA inspector general’s office obtained by The Washington Post.

Do US newspaper, TV and radio websites simply go dark over the weekend? Do their political editors take the day off? Or are they choosing not to cover this story, one which gives the United States a most definite black eye?

ADDED: It’s not just over the weekend that US media have ignored this story. I just searched Lexis-Nexus for the phrase “National Security Agency” over the past seven days. All of these “hits” do not reflect on or center on stories about the Snowden revelations; most are about Snowden himself.

  • Washington Post: 41 hits: primarily about Snowden not the substance of his claims
  • New York Times: 24 hits: all about Snowden on the run, his link to Wikileaks, etc except for one where China accuses US of hypocrisy on spying, one on history of spying, one aside in gay marriage news
  • USA Today: 15 hits, all about Snowden on the run except for three – one focuses on gay rights with Snowden as an aside, one focuses on the human animal’s propensity for snooping, one about Twitter’s role in news gathering
  • Washington Times: 13 hits, all about Snowden except for two – Google Glass and dormant privacy panel
  • NY Daily News: 12 hits, all about Snowden’s “run”

Read more at Balloon Juice, The Hill, Juan Cole’s Informed Consent.