Trump is right: Spying on foreign governments harms diplomacy
After their story yesterday about President Trump removing a high-level spy from within the Russian government in 2017, CNN is once again going after Trump over his alleged policy on spying on foreign governments and views toward American spies by quoting anonymous former officials from Trump's regime. They're reporting that Trump has said that he believes spying on foreign governments can harm his attempts at diplomacy with those governments.
President Donald Trump has privately and repeatedly expressed opposition to the use of foreign intelligence from covert sources, including overseas spies who provide the US government with crucial information about hostile countries, according to multiple senior officials who served under Trump.
Trump has privately said that foreign spies can damage relations with their host countries and undermine his personal relationships with their leaders, the sources said. The President "believes we shouldn't be doing that to each other," one former Trump administration official told CNN.
Assuming that this story is correct, Trump's assessment is correct: Spying on foreign governments upsets those governments and harms diplomatic efforts. We have plenty of examples that prove this is correct. We can use the same example that CNN cites in their article:
In June, after The Wall Street Journal reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother had been a CIA source, Trump said publicly that he would not allow the use of CIA informants against Kim. Throughout his presidency, Trump has pursued personal diplomacy with the North Korean despot.
"I saw the information about the CIA, with respect to his brother, or half-brother," Trump said when the news reports came out in June about Kim Jong Un's half-brother. "And I would tell (Kim Jong Un) that would not happen under my auspices, that's for sure. I wouldn't let that happen under my auspices."
Kim Jong-nam was the older half-brother of current North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un until he was assassinated, apparently at the behest of his younger brother, in February 2017. Jong-nam being an informant for the CIA would certainly have been enough to anger his despotic brother enough to prompt his assassination, and we can only speculate about how many of the missile launches meant to spite the United States were a result of U.S. spying on the North Korean regime. But it seems clear that Trump's promise to stop spying on Kim, despite the fact that he was probably lying, helped ease the tension and bring them together for historic diplomatic talks between the two governments.
Furthermore, in 2013, CNN ran an article about how German Chancellor Angela Merkel was upset about how the NSA under President Obama's regime had spied on her cell phone. She's quoted in CNN's article explicitly stating that diplomacy with the United States has been harmed because the U.S. was caught spying on her.
"Trust needs to be rebuilt."
That's what German Chancellor Angela Merkel firmly asserted early Friday -- as she had the previous day -- in the wake of reports the U.S. National Security Agency had eavesdropped on her cell phone.
This claim and others that she and other world leaders have been spied on had "severely shaken" relationships between Europe and the United States, the German leader said.
"Obviously, words will not be sufficient," Merkel said in the wee hours Friday at a summit of European Union leaders. "True change is necessary."
Talk of the NSA's reported spying on Germany and other allies dominated Merkel's news conference in Brussels, Belgium. It illustrated the anger over this story in Europe and the challenges facing Washington because of it.
The Chancellor insisted she isn't the only one concerned; other European leaders, she said, voiced similar sentiments during the first day of the summit Thursday.
CNN clearly found this idea uncontroversial when European governments were making their case for it, but it's suddenly ridiculous the moment that Trump allegedly states it. The obvious fact is that no government would appreciate being spied on or having their secrets leaked, as the U.S. government's aggressive actions toward Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden demonstrates, but CNN has to pretend as if this is some ridiculous notion of Trump's to further attempt to undermine his presidency.