Letter to the Telegraph - The Snowden Affair
As sent 4 July 2013
Sir, The Snowden affair has provided a heady brew for outpourings of cant, hypocrisy and hot air from the Left in the European Parliament. It is reminiscent of the similar “Echelon” allegations in 2001 which led to a committee of enquiry.
However, many of us take the view that Snowden was engaged in premeditated treachery, not civic-minded whistle-blowing. He was foolishly entrusted with national secrets of the United States and deliberately betrayed those secrets. He apparently claimed that “he didn’t want to live in a society which did these sorts of things” and immediately took himself off to those paragons of human rights, democracy, and transparency – first, the People's Republic of China, and then Russia.
However, the most worrying aspect of this tale is the ease with which NSA was penetrated by an apparent amateur such as Snowden. At a time of increasingly complex threat, we need reassurance about the integrity, security and effectiveness of our national intelligence agencies and those of our closest allies.
Meanwhile, it would be doubly alarming if the European Union – opaque, unaccountable, bureaucratic and attracting little loyalty beyond the pecuniary - were to try and create an intelligence gathering capability of its own.
This is not so far-fetched. Paradoxically and very worryingly, it was a conclusion of that Echelon Report which saw this step as “necessary and inevitable” for European integration. This is something else that needs stopping in its tracks before it is too late.
Geoffrey Van Orden MBE MEP
Conservative Defence & Security Spokesman
88 Rectory Lane
CM1 1 RF