Europe Angered By News Of NSA Spying On EU Offices

Europe Angered By News Of NSA Spying On EU OfficesEuropean officials reacted with fury Sunday to a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices. The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions.

‘Electronic eavesdropping operation’

The outrage from European officials over the weekend was the latest fallout since Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency computer contractor, started spilling details of U.S. surveillance programs to reporters earlier this month.

Citing information from secret documents obtained by Snowden, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday that several U.S. spying operations targeted European Union leaders. Der Spiegel said it had “in part seen” documents from Snowden that describe how the National Security Agency bugged EU officials’ Washington and New York offices and conducted an “electronic eavesdropping operation” that tapped into a EU building in Brussels, Belgium.


‘Seeking asylum’

The Guardian newspaper reported that one NSA document leaked by Snowden describes 38 embassies and missions as “targets” and details surveillance methods that include planting bugs in communications equipment and collecting transmissions with specialized antennae. Targets included France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey, according to The Guardian.

Snowden has revealed himself as the source of documents outlining a massive effort by the NSA to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of virtually all Americans. Critics slam him as a traitor. Supporters hail him as a hero. Now Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States, is in Russia and seeking asylum from Ecuador.

Do you believe the NSA was really spying on EU offices? What impact could this report have on the relations between the U.S. and Europe?

Source: Josh Levs and Catherine E. Shoichet | CNN

Image: International Business Times

DHS To Extend ‘Trusted Traveler’ Status To Saudi Passengers

DHS To Extend 'Trusted Traveler' Status To Saudi PassengersA Department of Homeland Security program intended to give “trusted traveler” status to low-risk airline passengers soon will be extended to Saudi travelers, opening the program to criticism for accommodating the country that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

‘Radical Wahhabism’

Sources voiced concern about the decision to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which issued a report Wednesday on the under-the-radar announcement — which was first made by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano after meeting in January with her Saudi counterpart. According to the IPT, this would be the first time the Saudi government has been given such a direct role in fast-tracking people for entry into the United States.

“I think you have radical Wahhabism in certain elements in Saudi Arabia, and I think to be more lenient there than in other places would be a mistake,” Rep. Frank Wolf told the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “There were 15 [hijackers] from that country, and there is a lot taking place in that region.”


‘Low-risk status’

Only an exclusive handful of countries enjoy inclusion in the Global Entry program — Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands. According to the IPT, some officials are questioning why Saudi Arabia gets to reap the benefits of the program, when key U.S. allies like Germany and France are not enrolled; Israel has reached a deal with the U.S., but that partnership has not yet been implemented.

The program allows travelers who have undergone a thorough vetting process — fingerprinting, background checks, interviews with customs agents, etc.– to attain a low-risk status that allows them to skip the line at customs and complete their entry process at an automatic kiosk.  The status lasts for five years.

What is your insight regarding “Trusted Traveler” status grants to Saudi travelers? What other countries do you think should or should not be included in this program?

Source: Fox News

Image: Saudi Gazette