Opinion / Chen Weihua

Snowden nails US lie on its economic spying

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-13 07:42

Snowden nails US lie on its economic spying

The US government is an expert at taking the moral high ground when it comes to justice. But instead of being apologetic after the devastating revelations made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June last year, its top US officials, President Barack Obama included, have been claiming that the NSA has been doing exactly what every other nation does.

That the US surveillance program is the most expansive and intrusive in human history has had no bearing on their thinking. They arrogantly ignore the fact that its targets include not only American citizens, but also people across the world, as well as international organizations and world leaders, some of whom are close US allies.

As if that was not enough, the US has been accusing the Chinese government of sponsoring cyber-based economic espionage in a bid to benefit Chinese companies. Although it failed to provide any concrete evidence in this regard, the US Justice Department took another brazen step in May, charging five People's Liberation Army officers of conducting cyber espionage to steal commercial secrets from US enterprises.

For long, the US had claimed that the NSA didn't engage in economic or industrial espionage. But after Snowden exposed that the American intelligence agency was actually spying on Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, it soon changed its wording, saying it doesn't conduct economic espionage to benefit US businesses. That, the US says, is its major difference from the cyber espionage carried out by countries like China. Such statements have been made by Congressmen, think tank pundits and commentators countless times in the past year while trying to single out China as the villain in the world of economic espionage.

But the new revelations made by Snowden last Friday and carried by The Intercept, a news site created by Glenn Greenwald, who first reported Snowden's case for The Guardian, tell a different story. Secret documents show the US government has devised a secret plan to carry out economic espionage exactly for the benefit of American companies.

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