Wednesday, December 30, 2015

United States Spying on Israel Post NSA Leaks

Following the 2012 and 2013 leaks by Wikileaks that exposed the US's surveillance of foreign heads of states and governments, the US stated that they would cease surveillance, or "spying", on foreign governments. However, recent discoveries have proven otherwise. Of course, with most generalizing statements, there were exceptions. One of which was Israel. 

Recently, news has come out of the US's continued surveillance of Israel, causing tensions between tensions to rise once between Conservatives and the current administration. It's not clear exactly how much information has been taken compared to pre- Wikileaks levels, but nonetheless "spying" has not ceased.  

This has led to criticism of the current administration by Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential race. Candidate Carson has said, “once again, (Hillary) has shown that her experience in government is merely an indication that she is unfit to lead," citing her time as Obama's former Head of State, and explaining "No doubt President Obama's former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew of the administration's spying efforts on Israel. It is shameful that she participated in undermining the U.S.-Israeli relationship."

The presidential race on 2016 will be one of even more polarized politics than seen in much of elections before. Carson is taking a firm stance against the spying of our "only ally in the Middle East". At the same time, one has to realize that in the interest of national security, spying is an integral part of acquiring intelligence. 

1. Do you think that the US needs to stop all their surveillance of other nations and heads of state completely, and would it impact our national security, or would it have no real effect?

2. How will this event affect candidates for the 2016 election, and is this issue important enough to change the opinions of Americans enough to make an impact?

3. What is the limit when it comes to NSA eavesdropping and spying? Is there a common ground other than cessation completely?



Daniel Jun said...

At some point in relationships, lies will surface. And then it's up to the characters of the individuals to be able to get past these hardships and continue a nice healthy relationship.

The US spends more on defense spending than the next top 10 spenders on national defense combined (national defense in this case is defined by the military budget, which in turn is defined as "the amount of financial resources dedicated by a nation to raising and maintaining an armed forces or other methods essential for defense purposes"). That means places 2 to 11 combined is still less than how much the US spends on defense. And what is the cause for such large expenses? Fear. Does it not make sense to be able to prevent acts of violence across the sea rather than risk damage within our own country? Wouldn't it be better to stop acts of violence, destruction or terror at their source rather than continually play catch-up to dangerous criminals?

I mean... I'd think most people in America would be glad that surveillance is still happening. Forewarned is forearmed. Knowledge is power. Although, this view is incredibly short sighted as well. National relations are like those arcade games where you try and get a toy with the hook that you paid to have minimal control over for a limited amount of time: no matter how hard you try, it's really hard to get what you want. So I'm personally for the spying. If only because I don't understand the (potentially) tenuous relationship between Israel and the US.

Also, I'm not answering the third question. On the grounds that I have nothing of note to say.

Alex Binsacca said...

I thoroughly agree with Daniel's comment. I personally think that many american people would enjoy knowing that we will always be one step ahead of everyone else. However, I too am for spying because I don't know what effects it could have on our national defense. The only thing that i would have to question about Daniel's comment is why spend money on our allies, and not our enemies. Why do we spend money on spying on other nations who are too support us in a time of crisis?

I really don't think that this topic of security will really have that much affect on the ballot of the 2016 election. The reason being that many people dislike the NSA as it is when it comes to spying on the american people. However, I don't think many people really concern themselves when spying takes place in other countries.

To be honest there is no line that can be drawn for the NSA, they are legally allowed to(and do) spy on us through anyway they please. The only line is they cannot install cameras or just follow random people they deem a threat. Otherwise that would just be plain stocking, and it would give a sense of insecurity to the american people.

Shu Yang said...

Although I would personally argue for less spending on national defense (thank you Daniel for your provided information), I do not believe we need to cease spying on foreign countries. Because of the USA's fear of terrorism due to past events and our roles in aiding many countries through many conflicts, it pays to have knowledge and in turn, the upper hand. What I do think we need to get better at though, is preventing leaks concerning foreign affair.

I agree with Alex's comment that the topic of security will not play too large of a role in the 2016 election. The American people are more concerned about their own privacy being violated by their own government than of creating tension with other countries (with Russia being a clear exemption). The 2016 election has many larger issues to deal with such as gun control, immigration, and climate change.

In terms of Chris's question about the NSA's limit on spying, I am assuming it is referring to on American citizens. I believe the NSA should be able to spy and eavesdrop on American citizens if they have reason to believe they may pose a threat to the safety of America. As long as they carefully avoid discrimination and targeting innocent citizens, I believe eavesdropping (even though it's extremely scary), is a sufficient way in weeding out potential threats.