Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden demonstrate that the National Security Agency (NSA) hacked the email of former Mexican President Felipe Calderon while he was in office, according to a report in Der Spiegel.
The operation, dubbed “Flatliquid,” exploited a mail server to garner access to the account. The compromised system was also in use by other Mexican governmental authorities.
Calderon, no longer president, was a leader noted for his close work with the United States government. The two countries are large trading partners, have a long border, and have intertwined economies. Also, they share a common struggle with the drug trade and drug-related violence.
That the NSA snooped on Calderon should come as small surprise. It was revealed in September that the NSA had also spied on Calderon’s successor as President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, while the latter was merely a candidate for the office.
The implication of the revelations taken together is simple: Regardless of your nation’s status as an ally or adversary, the United States government finds it completely inside its legal purview, authority, and mission to spy in your affairs.
Der Spiegel makes this point well, by implication: “Now, though, the revelation that the NSA has systematically infiltrated an entire computer network is likely to trigger deeper controversy, especially since the NSA’s snooping took place during the term of Peña Nieto’s predecessor Felipe Calderón, a leader who worked more closely with Washington than any other Mexican president before him.” Precisely.
Rewarding cooperation with industrial-grade espionage isn’t too good an idea. What faith should the current Mexican government have in its dealings with the United States, when we could negotiate and at once read their internal communications?
Do you honestly think that the United States government has ceased spying on the Mexican government, or any other government where the NSA can spread its tendrils?
Top Image Credit: Matthew Rutledge