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July 2, 2013

European Leaders React to Alleged NSA Spying

Watch Euro Allies React to Reports That NSA Bugged Offices on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden has leaked more information about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance activity, alleging that the U.S. bugged the offices of the European Union and Asian partner nations. These revelations have the Obama administration worried about America’s relationships with allied nations.

“These are disturbing news. If proven true, they prove — sorry — they demand full clarification, and the European Union is now expecting to hear from the U.S. authorities,” said Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, spokesperson for the European Commision.

The revelations have even threatened to derail free trade talks that began at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland last month.

“We cannot accept this kind of behavior among partners and allies. We do know there is a necessity for controlling systems, notably in the fight against terrorism. But I don’t think that risk exists in our embassies or within the E.U,” said French President Francois Hollande.

Meanwhile, Snowden has applied for political asylum in several countries including Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that, “If he would want to go anywhere and someone will accept him, he’s welcome to go. If he wishes to stay here, then we have one condition. He must stop his work aimed at harming our American partners, although it sounds very strange coming from me.”

Warm up questions

1. What is spying?

2. Why would a country spy on another country?

3. What is privacy?

Discussion questions

1. Are you surprised by these allegations of U.S. spying on allies? Why or why not?

2. If you were in the position of one of the leaders of the European Union, how would you react to these allegations?

3. Do you think that this will harm America’s position in the world? Why or why not?

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