By NICK BRAMANTE
Since early 2012, the actions of the NSA (National Security Agency) have been somewhat a concern of many Americans. After the initial shock of the situation had set in, the NSA gained an infamous reputation around the world for being a major spy agency, almost like something out of a movie. Of course, with controversial news like this, there are many rumors and exaggerated ideals that end up surfacing over time. Some claim the NSA is an all-powerful spy agency bent on control, while others regard it as nothing more than a fairytale. Despite all the misinformation that tends to fly around in today’s connected world, it seems that something more concrete has surfaced. Americans may not be the ones who have to worry about being spied on, as foreign leaders have proven to be just as much of a targe as the everyday American citizen.
The NSA’s cryptic existence alone has already created an uneasy atmosphere for many Americans, who fear of losing what little privacy they had left. After the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, homeland security efforts have been greatly increased in the U.S., bringing into existence more legislation and government agencies that have made somewhat controversial decisions for the past twelve years. It seems the most controversial action so far has just sprung up, as it no longer seems that “homeland security” means working on the homeland. Over the past years, the NSA has been monitoring phone calls on many foreign powers, including thirty-five world leaders, some of which are even our allies. Edward Snowden, who blew the top on the agency’s operation, released a classified document that showed a different section of the U.S. government had supplied the NSA with the phone numbers of over 200 influential figures. For years now, it seems, the U.S. has been monitoring these numbers, searching for anything abnormal.The 200 numbers given to the agency also helped the NSA gain access to even more contact information, as the document released stated, "These numbers have provided lead information to other numbers that have subsequently been tasked." The main concern here isn’t what information was obtained, but how world leaders reacted to the incident. Among other world leaders, German chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a large public stand against the spying. Accusations have been pointed to the U.S. by the chancellor, who feels the U.S cannot be trusted. These accusations of course, have been given with great reason. Former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stated that “the magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us.” It is a regular concern in today's world that there will be spying, but it is usually not a major concern; however Kouchner claims that “[the French government does not] have the same means as the United States.” The main concern for many foreign powers, is how much credibility the U.S now really has. If allies cannot be trusted, than who can?