The shock being registered by various European foreign ministries over the revelation that the United States has been intercepting their communications, both public and governmental, is in reality a bit of a theatrical performance to soothe the nerves of their domestic audiences, which are demanding that something be done to preserve privacy. But it also reveals a growing estrangement between Washington and its closest allies over the U.S. tendency to exploit security concerns and ride roughshod over local interests. President Obama, referring to reports that the European Union headquarters and United Nations diplomatic mission, as well as the French Embassy in Washington, have been subject to electronic intrusion, has shrugged off the controversy, noting that “everyone does it.”
In reality, everyone knows about what is going on, but only the major nations can afford to do it. The developing story of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans has revealed that almost no one in the United States can any longer rely on the privacy of personal communications. But domestic spying is only part of a vast worldwide operation that has been growing since World War II. The NSA, bigger than the CIA and with a much larger budget, has overseas listening posts, just like CIA Stations, which are normally hidden in U.S. Embassies and consulates. They are often placed under the roof of the building because the antennas collecting information are normally located—in plain sight—just above.
Many local people looking at the array of dishes and masts assume that the equipment is for diplomatic communications, but their governments and security services certainly know better, because every U.S. Embassy overseas employs numerous locals, often in sensitive positions. They are referred to as Foreign Service Nationals (FSN), and it is not unusual to find them spending their entire working lives employed by the Americans. Most carefully protect American interests, so much so that it is easy to forget that they are not U.S. citizens. But inevitably some of them can be assumed to be the recruited agents of their own governments, routinely reporting back to their security services on what the Yanks are up to. The FSNs, who frequently provide all the administrative services for the building, are fully aware of the size and location of the NSA presence in the building, meaning their government knows as well.
Read More at the American Conservative . By Philip Giraldi.