The cache of documents revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that the U.S. used surveillance methods to monitor the emails and phone calls of its closest foreign allies including Germany, France and Brazil. The revelations have severely damaged the U.S.'s relationship with these countries even though State Department officials have insisted that these surveillance programs have thwarted many terrorist threats worldwide.
Two-thirds of Americans think there aren't enough restrictions on what kinds of data can be gathered, and the majority of people oppose the government gathering large amounts of data on its inhabitants. However, Americans generally accept the surveillance of suspected terrorists' communications. Here is a summary of what is known concerning perceptions of American government surveillance both domestically and abroad:
Yes, surveillance of all foreign countries is essential to tracking potential terrorist threats
No, spying on our allies severely damages our reputation abroad
The NSA, FBI, and CIA gather and sift through American citizens' overseas emails, internet calls, and chats without a warrant under the unlawful monitoring program known as PRISM. At least nine significant internet companies participated in the program when Edward Snowden revealed it in 2013, including Facebook, Google, Apple, and Skype. Today, it most certainly comprises a larger number of businesses.
No we should not be spying on our allies. This is a blatant abuse of trust and will reduce future trust and cooperation. We should be using our intelligence agencies to cooperate with those of our allies in order to combat terrorism. And as for those who have no interest in combating terrorism such as Pakistan for example, we shouldn't be allies with them any more.
I agree that mutual trust is vital in maintaining strong alliances. A great example of successful cooperation between intelligence agencies is the "Five Eyes" alliance, which includes the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries share signals intelligence with each other, allowing for a more comprehensive approach to tackling global threats like terrorism. In your opinion, should the U.S. consider expanding this type of cooperation to include more allies, or is the current model sufficient?
Yes. Knowledge is power. While there are instances, current and past, that knowledge is used for the wrong reasons or without the full context, knowing nothing is a serious disadvantage domestically and globally. Just as much as you should know your enemy, you should know your friends. To expect them to not do the same is foolish, and leaves you vulnerable.
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