The U.S. has been accused of spying on allies worldwide, including German chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cellphone, but accusations are not likely to yield changes in U.S. spying policy.
Kendall Stiles, BYU political and international relations professor, said accusations against allies is not surprising.
“Allies have been spying on each other for decades, even centuries,” Stiles said. “Spying on allies is even easier because they’re more open.”
Leaders of Germany and France insist Obama make a move to end American eavesdropping by the end of the year. The U.S. was accused of spying on foreign leaders, prominent business leaders and citizens. This accusation came soon after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff denied Obama’s invitation after accusing the U.S. of spying.
The U.S. is not the only country suspected of spying on allies. European governments have been accused of placing microphones in first-class seats of state-owned airlines, including the French-owned Airbus airline.
“Everyone swears on the Bible, and after that it’s business as usual,” Claude Moniquet, director of the European Strategic and Intelligence Center, told The Associated Press.
Disgruntled European leaders said they will demand the U.S. sign a spying “code of good conduct,” according to the AP.
Stiles compared international relations to a giant chess board: every country plays two chess games. The top surface chess board is a game of diplomacy that the public can see. The lower chessboard is a game of actors, domestic relations, dealing with special interest groups and “what happens behind closed doors.”
“Most of the time the games can be played simaltaneously,” Stiles said. “But sometimes you get an accident.”
When the lower chessboard is exposed, leaders have no choice but to criticize, he said. He said when espionage becomes public there has to be a negative reaction to the public outcry to save the top chess board.
“My hunch is that this will all blow over fairly quickly,” said Stiles. “It will be business as usual in the spy world.”