Some foreign leaders, once eager to rely on U.S. intelligence-gathering in their own struggles against terrorism, have turned on President Barack Obama after reports that NSA surveillance has included watching their citizens and even themselves. Obama says he’s reviewing the balance between security and privacy at home and abroad. Has the U.S. has gone too far, gravely damaging its image abroad and perhaps even its trade relations, or are these foreign protests just empty noise that will soon go away?Never before in the history of the planet has information flowed in such abundance, from millions of emails per second to tens of millions of cell/ telephone calls per minute. A hundred years ago, information was transmitted over telegraph and by courier. The same surveillance took place then as now. But today the potential for missing a connection of the dots does not result in a small incident, it unfortunately results in mass-casualty events like 9/11, the USS Cole or too many other incidents to count. Bad actors do not announce their intentions in the subject line. Having situational awareness of your enemies’ — or your friends’ — intentions allows you to defeat one while helping to protect the other. Balancing the line of using the information for right and just purposes is just as challenging when the same information could be used to suppress truth, diplomacy and the rule of law. — Stephen Lindsey, Mayor Pro Tem, MansfieldProtests are most likely empty noise that will go away sooner than we think and sooner than they should. Sadly, moral issues have never affected trade relations among countries. In some ways, the public’s tranquility demands that leaders condemn such acts as unacceptable. But it will definitely not affect trade relations, because nowadays businesses are more important than the dignity of a country and/or the rights of its citizens. As far as the U.S. image abroad is concerned, it is no surprise that the U.S. lacks ethics in its interventionist foreign policy. What the NSA gets out of the surveillance, instead of protecting the country, is more enemies and less trust. — Seila Saldivar, Fort WorthThe U.S. is a powerful but unreliable ally. Our political system is such that policies change from one administration to the next. The leaders of most countries understand this and act accordingly, trying to use an alliance with the U.S. to achieve a best outcome for their nations. The difference now is that the U.S. has spied, intimately, on those leaders, and they know it. This knowledge plus the Obama administration’s naiveté, mendacity and incompetence have caused trust to evaporate among foreign heads of state. This will change when President Obama is no longer in office. As long as the U.S. is powerful, other countries want to use that power and will cuddle up to it, but only if our president is perceived as trustworthy and reliable. They will still want to be our friends, even more so if methods are developed that blunt our spying capabilities. — Joel Downs, Hurst Yes, the U.S. has gone too far against friendly foreign leaders. Traitor Edward J. Snowden in his desired pursuit could have released his information within our own government system, not spreading it to the world then fleeing from the U.S. as he has done. – George J. Anthony, Fort WorthThe damage the NSA has inflicted on the trust, reliability and friendship of more than 30 world leaders by its spying is unparalleled. Some of these nations’ leaders sent their military to bleed alongside Americans in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and helped protect our freedom from terrorists. They wouldn't have imagined that NSA spying on them would be the quid pro quo for their service and sacrifices.The spying is ubiquitous, and it just confirms that Edward Snowden did the world a tremendous favor with his expose of the NSA. Their warrantless spy-dog activities must cease before we jeopardize not just other nations but our own as well. — April Rogers, Fort WorthSo now our foreign allies are getting a taste of what we American citizens have had to put up with — spying by the NSA. And in full protect-Obama mode the latest spin is that the president knew nothing about it. Yeah, right.What we citizens are told is that we should have no expectation of privacy. So, what they expect us to swallow is that technology has advanced to the point where the government has the capability to spy on every phone call and every email, so we should have no expectation that they won’t do it.German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other heads of state are now saying the U.S. government must sign a no-spying document. Maybe we U.S. citizens should require the same thing. Oh, that’s right, we already have such a document — it’s called the Constitution. — Gary Hancock, Arlington
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