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2013 sees loss of US credibility

Updated: 2013-12-27 13:12
( Xinhua)

Loss of credibility

"The National Security Agency's profligate spying has certainly hurt credibility, in a number of ways," Jim Harper, director of Information Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, told Xinhua.

While spying has always occurred between nations, the United States has been berated for spying on some of its closest allies.

"Spying on the personal communications of allied leaders...conveys a suspicious attitude toward world leaders who the publicly treats as friends. While its leaders have touted threats to cyber security from abroad, the NSA has been one of the most active attackers of computer systems around the world," Harper said.

He added that the NSA's domestic spying programs have undermined claims of respect for individual rights.

"If it is to be a beacon of freedom, the United States government should actually conduct itself as a country that respects rights and that obeys its own laws," he said.

Harper said the NSA's spying operations have undermined trust in technology companies. That will cost businesses billions of dollars and shrink global trade in high-tech services that would have benefited people worldwide, he said.

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation estimated that companies could lose up to 35 billion dollars due to spying activities, on doubts that companies can protect the security of information on their systems, reported Bloomberg.

Still, others said it remains unknown whether there will be any real consequences. While many countries have upbraided Washington for its spying activities, the fact is that most countries want to do business with the world's largest economy and want access to its markets. Countries also still want and need to cooperate on security issues with the military, some experts said.

"I think it's damaged the in terms of world opinion, but I don't know that it's damaged it with respect to doing business and defense (cooperation) with other nations," Republican Strategist Ford O' Connell told Xinhua.

Political fallout

Meanwhile, the United States continues to deal with the political fallout from its global spy program.

Israeli officials Sunday called for an end to spying on Israel, Washington's closest Middle East ally, after it was revealed that the NSA gained access to emails from Israeli leadership.

The demands came on the heels of the release of documents that Snowden leaked and published last week by the media, which revealed that British intelligence worked alongside the NSA between 2008 and 2011 to gain access to email addresses of the offices of former Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

As for whether Obama knew intelligence agencies were monitoring allies, the NSA denied that the president had any knowledge.

However, Foreign Policy magazine argued in a recent article that it would be impossible for Obama not to know about the NSA's snooping on allies, although he might not have been aware of the details.

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