Some countries that have been friends with the United States are upset. There have been accusations that an American defense agency called the National Security Agency (NSA) has been secretly listening to private conversations of citizens of various countries such as Italy, Germany, Spain, Brazil, and France. Some countries’ leaders, such as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff have complained that their phones were also tapped. All these countries are upset that they are being spied upon by the NSA in spite of being good friends with the US.
The NSA’s mission is to protect America and its friends by gathering information and intelligence by tracking various signals, such as phone calls, email messages, radars, and much more. Earlier this year, Edward Snowden, a 30-year old American who worked for the NSA, disclosed information about how NSA spies on citizens of many nations including the United States. Snowden moved to Russia, where he has been given protection and a place to stay. Meanwhile, the US government wants to put him in jail for stealing government property.
The government of Russia and the United States have not always gotten along. Russia used to be part of a country called the Soviet Union (USSR) until 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed and fifteen separate countries were created. From the late 1940s till the fall of the Soviet Union, there used to be distrust, conflict, and competition between the Soviet Union and the United States. It was referred to as “the Cold War”. During this time, there were many spies from both countries who stole information and passed it on to their government.
Image Credits: www.nsa.gov for the NSA’s logo, Laura Poitras / Praxis Films for Snowden’s image
Sources: www.nsa.gov, http://www.ub.uio.no/fag/informatikk-matematikk/informatikk/faglig/bibliografier/no21984.html, New York Times