Allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on German leader Angela Merkel, the latest revelation in the ongoing Edward Snowden saga, has grabbed headlines and prompted angry denunciations in the press.
The most troublesome disclosure over the past several months, though, remains the fact that the NSA has been spying on millions of Americans without just cause — a violation of privacy and liberty.
Certainly, reports that the United States has been spying on leaders of closely allied nations raises a number of concerns. In a critical editorial, The New York Times referred to such spying undermining “the trust of allies and their willingness to share the kind of confidential information needed to thwart terrorism and other threats.” It also poses a general risk to the reputation of the United States and makes President Barack Obama — who either didn’t know about the spying or who signed off on the years-long surveillance, depending on whom one believes — look incompetent, out of the loop, or both.
The larger issue, though, remains the NSA’s overreach into the lives of average citizens….
Calls from both sides of the aisle to rein in the NSA have gathered steam. On Tuesday, a bill backed by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. and one of the authors of the original Patriot Act, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was introduced, proposing to put a stop to the bulk collection of communications data from Americans by the NSA.
— The Columbus Dispatch