Feature

Australia: Sloppiness is worse than spying

Australia is now in a snit with Indonesia over spying, and we have the Americans to blame.

Greg SheridanThe Australian

Australia is now in a snit with Indonesia over spying, said Greg Sheridan, and we have the Americans to blame. Thanks to the Edward Snowden leaks, the Indonesian government has found out that the Australian Embassy in Jakarta is equipped with electronic spying equipment. “It is ridiculous to imagine the Indonesian government is surprised by the news,” but since it’s out there, the Indonesians feel obliged to take umbrage. They are now demanding we promise never to spy again and, in “a gross breach of diplomatic protocol,” releasing transcripts of a confidential conversation with our foreign minister. “The real villain here is Washington.” By that I don’t mean the U.S. is to blame for its spying, which makes the world a safer place. No, the reason the U.S. is to blame is that it allows its spy activities—and by extension ours— to become public. A single NSA contractor managed to reveal the spy agency’s vast reach. Before that, Bradley Manning, an Army private, got hold of tens of thousands of secret diplomatic cables and handed them over to WikiLeaks. “This level of access, for such junior and marginal figures, is grotesque, irresponsible, inexplicable.” The Americans “need to find a way of safeguarding their most vital secrets”—for all our sakes.

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