Press TV has conducted an interview with Susan Lindauer, a former CIA asset from Washington, about the United States spying on its people as well as its European allies.
Below is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: How vast and extensive is this NSA spying program?
Lindauer: It has been revealed that the NSA spied on 124 billion phone conversations throughout the world in a one-month period. Thus it is enormous; it is beyond the scope of comprehension for ordinary citizens but the implications are vast because it is a Stasi program whereby it applies to industrial espionage.
But it also allows the United States to impose our laws on other countries on an extraterritorial basis and we are hunting down citizens of foreign countries whose activities might very well be legal within their own country, but which violate our own US policies.
And then we are sabotaging them or even arresting them and extraditing them to the United States for prosecution and this goes well beyond terrorism cases. So, it is something that ordinary citizens should be afraid of; it is not just the government elite that should be. This is affecting the whole society.
Press TV: Susan Lindauer, you talked about industrial espionage and I would like to get your idea about what the NSA did which is deemed to be illegal and that is spying on banks and credit card transactions, the European SWIFT financial transaction network being tapped on different levels. I mean isn’t this first of all in violation of national laws and global regulations?
Lindauer: The United States is trying to force all countries of the world to obey US banking laws and to obey US financial standards and these are not necessarily reasonable demands. It is one thing if you are saying there should be a standard for all countries that the United States adheres to; it is another thing if you are giving advantages to the United States to US corporations and that tends to be what happens is the trade practices benefit the United States and the tide is back to Angela Merkel.
We are spying on these people; we are spying on ambassadors; we are spying on senior diplomats and we have been doing it for years and I think that what is very interesting to me as a former CIA asset is I know very well that at the United Nations which was my old stomping ground, we frequently targeted Security Council members. This was very normal behavior for the past ten years.
I would say even before 9/11 we were doing this and we went after the ambassadors and the diplomats and this was considered routine spying by the United States, but what has changed is the United States is no longer the dominant force of power that decides, that can dictate.
The world is no longer tolerating our abuses, the way that they always have in the past and I think that that is the big change, that is the big shock to Washington is that they are standing up to us really for the first time, but we have been doing this for years. It is a fact; we have done this forever.
Press TV: Susan Lindauer, what is your reaction to Richard Weitz (the other guest on the show)’s comments there?
Lindauer: I will give you that. That is a fair comment. However, I would tell you that if there is a defense contract, if there is something that is especial that would give another country an advantage in the market. The way the United States government could do it would be to contract with a private corporation secretly to develop a parallel plan to develop the same product and try to beat the other one to the market or the beltway bandits do this stuff all the time mostly with defense contracts.
But again America is not producing as much as we were in the past; we are not a strong manufacturing base. So, this is more banking controls, currency controls and military, I would say, and any sort of military application the United States would absolutely hand it over to one of our own contractors and try to beat the foreigners. Yes, I would say.
But I think that the real challenge here right now is that the international community, France, Germany, they are very angry and they are standing up to the United States for the first time and that is the big change because we have done this for years. This is not new.
I mean I am very proud of Edward Snowden and I support him for telling the American people and his disclosures are tipping point, but it was pointed out that if he would watch CNN ten years ago when he was in high school, he would have saved himself the trouble because all of this stuff was on 60 minutes and was revealed by previous whistleblowers.
So, there is nothing new in what he has told except that our world has now changed and people are ready to challenge and they no longer feel obligated to submit to the United States. They no longer feel docile and patronized by the United States.
This is a huge change and from an intelligent standpoint, it is a little scary, I will tell you. But it is good for the global democracy; it is; it is good for the global communication, but the United States is sleeping; it is definitely sleeping and this shows it more than anything that I think we have seen whether you are happy about the decline of the United States or not.
Press TV: What do you think of the comments made by the viewers on our Facebook page regarding the topic of this debate?
Lindauer: Absolutely and I would agree with your commenters. The real problem with the spying is that it is not new, but the United States has been expanding its police state mentality and we are seeing a shift here in the United States where freedom is considered more and more of a threat.
It is still sort of a fringe idea, however, it is moving with a frightening speed and we are afraid of what is coming that there will be some kind of clampdown. I can tell you that in May I was visited by the secret service, wanting to know if I had any guns which I do not, wanting to know what organizations I belong to, what radio shows I listen to because I do have a radio show of my own on Truth Frequency Radio and I have now become a target because I am so outspoken on many of these issues and so I am now having to answer to the government for my own dissident viewpoints.
That is why a police state is so frightening and when the United States tries to apply its values extraterritorially, we do it in the name “anti-terrorism” but what we grab, what we pull in has nothing to do with violence. It is far more insidious than that.
If you have a policy, if your actions could be entirely legal within your own country but your actions contradict our policy objectives, then we are going to come after you and I can tell you that that is happening more and more and the leaders really have an obligation to be angry on behalf of their citizens.
Your commenter was absolutely correct that it is a little bit disingenuous for Merkel to say it is ok to spy on the German people, but do not spy on me. It has got to be good for all of us. You know, this is the problem.
Press TV: What is your reaction to Richard Weitz’s comments?
Lindauer: Truth has become treason in Washington. The more degraded the United States economy becomes, the more we are falling in global standing, the more free speech and ordinary dissension threatens the power elite and in the opinions of many Americans, the power elite are classifying all sorts of things that should be disclosed to the public, so that they can protect their power and they can protect their control over society and they do not want any accountability to the people.
I think I should tell you at this point that I am one of people who gave advanced warnings about 9/11 and I personally contacted the office of attorney general John Ashcroft and the office of counterterrorism in August of 2001. We could have stopped that attack; a decision was made at the highest levels not to do so and that is the problem.
You are correct we are being inundated with information, but there is always an ulterior agenda and if something is being allowed to happen, the Boston Marathon bombing, I am not convinced that we did not know about that attack beforehand.
I think that our government is afraid of us; our government is very afraid of the people and that is a very dangerous government and I think that in the next few weeks, if there is an economic collapse, a lot of us are afraid of what is going to happen within the United States and it may be that the rest of the world will be looking back on this as the calm before the storm before our hell breaks loose and when it does, I am afraid of what will happen to the American people like me who are honest dissidents who support non violence. I am afraid of what they are going to do to us. You think it is bad for you.
Press TV: Susan Lindauer, what are your final comments on the issue?
Lindauer: I think that Edward Snowden believed that he was doing something very good for the world and believed that he was defending freedom. I think that his revelations are not new but it is a tipping point for our society and it really shows the United States is falling in the world’s estimation and the United States is more vulnerable than it has ever been in the past.
And as we go down, I feel very sad because I love this country and I realize that I am talking to a foreign audience and you do not have the same feelings that I do for my country. But I want America to be strong and good and I think that we have lost something and I do not know how we are going to get it back.