Wednesday, October 23, 2013


There’s this whole foofaraw this week about the US intelligence community gathering 70 million private phone calls in a month. In France.

US intelligence chief James Clapper has denied reports that US spies recorded data from 70 million phone calls in France in a single 30-day period.

The director of national intelligence said the report in Le Monde newspaper contained "misleading information".

In a separate story, the newspaper said the US bugged French diplomats and used the information to sway a key UN vote.

Both reports were based on leaks from fugitive ex-US intelligence worker Edward Snowden.

This seems really unlikely and a fairly ludicrous postulate. Not that it couldn’t physically happen, but there’s a few key elements to this story that would discount it immediately in my book.

Most significant of them is this:

The document quotes America's former UN envoy Susan Rice as saying the NSA's information helped the US "keep one step ahead in the negotiations".

Admittedly, it’s not impossible that Susan Rice would be given clearance for knowledge of this supersecret spying program, but really? No administration would trust its United-frikkin’-Nations envoy with a clearance that would put her above everyone in the food chain except, perhaps, Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

It strains credulity, and calls into question whether Edward Snowden has been snow-jobbing us all along and is merely now trying to see what he can get away with.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Snowden is responsible for this little gem that’s starting its journey around the nutcase far right.

Do I think the government does what every other stinking government on this planet does and spies on other nations, particularly their diplomats? Yes. Do I think the NSA grepped 70 million phone calls in a month to sift through for some…what? Data, I assume? No.