Funny that no one seemed to care about Russia's capabilities for such things when the U.S. ambassador to that country, Mike McFaul, tweeted last year: "Everywhere I go NTV [Russian television] is there. Wonder who gives them my calendar? Wonder what the laws are here for such things?" He added: "I respect press right to go anywhere and ask any question. But do they have a right to read my email and listen to my phone?"
We're talking here about a diplomatic chief of mission protected by the Vienna Convention from such things. But no one's ever going to stop Russia from spying itself silly -- so why handicap every other nation involved in the game?
Spies are gonna spy, and no one knows that better than the governments currently whining the loudest about it: Germany and France.
A German-language document from 2006 obtained by WikiLeaks -- hey, I just said that I wasn't above rifling through the leaks -- detailed the extensive collaboration (58 meetings, in the case of one journalist) between Germany's secret intelligence service, the BND, and agents within the nation's mainstream media to identify sources and provide useful coverage. Yet German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had the audacity to refer to the monitoring of foreign representatives on U.S. soil as a "Cold War" tactic. Meanwhile, Germany is planning to invest another $130 million over the next five years in its own online surveillance program.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the American surveillance of visiting diplomats "completely unacceptable," which is utterly laughable. Fabius served as the French prime minister during the presidential tenure of Francois Mitterrand, who had once ordered a special counterintelligence cell to tap numerous phone lines, including those of journalists, political opponents, writers and entertainment figures. It was also reported by Peter Schweizer in his 1993 book Friendly Spies: How America's Allies Are Using Economic Espionage to Steal Our Secrets that the French tapped the calls of foreign companies with French subsidiaries, with the express purpose of passing the competitive intelligence to French competitors.
Either the representatives of these nations are experiencing amnesia, or they're straight-up hypocrites.