ND Expert: NSA’s alleged spying on EU 'not surprising'

Author: Brittany Collins

Michael Desch Michael Desch

Amid allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on European Union institutions, European officials expressed outrage and predicted serious repercussions. But according to University of Notre Dame Political Scientist Michael Desch, an expert in international security, these latest developments should not be surprising to anyone.

“This is a reaffirmation of the old adage that when it comes to diplomacy, countries don’t have permanent allies, only permanent interests,” Desch says.

“Given that, it is hardly surprising that the EU would join the list of ‘targets’ of U.S. signals and communication intelligence surveillance.”

Though reminiscent of the approaches of enemies during the Cold War, Desch believes that “dramatic improvements in computer technology have enabled our government to engage in unprecedented surveillance operations.”

Listening devices in EU offices in Washington, infiltrated computers and other electronic spying are some of the alleged methods used by the NSA.

“Most experts on international politics will be like Inspector Louis Renault in ‘Casablanca’ when he discovered there was gambling in Rick’s Café Americain: ‘shocked’ to learn that the United States was spying on the European Union,” says Desch.

Contact: Michael Desch, 574-631-2792, mdesch@nd.edu