I Spy, You Spy

Hardly a day goes by without new revelations about the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepting the communications of a foreign leader. But when it was revealed that the United States had been spying on the Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the EU-leading Germany, since 2002, the story took on even greater dimensions.

Why do countries feel the need to spy on one another? Is it a lack of trust? To prevent war? Whatever the reason, it all seems quite unwarranted to us.

It is a dangerous encroachment on friendships, particularly fledgling and fragile ones. (What would happen if it is revealed tomorrow that the phones of Russian President Vladimir Putin or Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were also tapped?)

Espionage by intelligence services is customary, even expected. But when it involves heads of state it crosses the line of acceptability. And with the United States and Greece, it seems to be a case of “I spy, you spy.” It was just revealed that the U.S. embassy in Athens was used to intercept communications, and Greek Foreign Minister Theodore Pangalos fessed that the Greek spy agency, in turn, monitored the phone calls of the U.S. ambassador in Athens, as well as in Turkey.

Don’t the Turks now have the opportunity to neutralize the efforts of the Greek spy services in their country? It makes us wonder: if the United States can demand that Putin extradite exiled former CIA worker Edward Snowden so that he can be put on trial for treason, then what should happen to Pangalos?