First Wednesday: Has NSA spying “reached too far”?

Talk Wednesday 6 November 2013, 7:00 PM

The latest revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden have further exposed the extent of the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance. Amidst this new release of files are allegations that the NSA spied on its allies in Europe and engaged in widespread tapping of phone calls made by prominent European politicians.

European countries summoned US ambassadors and an EU delegation met with officials in Washington to convey their concerns. Will diplomatic tensions lead to any change in US surveillance practice and should we be surprised by these latest revelations?

As pressure mounts on Washington and the release of information continues, join us to explore what the files reveal and the consequences of this diplomatic storm. We will be examining the actions of the intelligence services and asking whether they are aligned with protecting national security or as US Secretary of State John Kerry has said, that in some cases their “actions have reached too far”.

Chaired by Owen Bennett-Jones, freelance journalist and a host of Newshour on the BBC World Service. As a correspondent with the BBC he has reported from over 60 countries, he is author of Pakistan: Eye of the Storm and his first novel Target Britain. He has also written for the Financial Times, The Guardian, The New Republic and the London Review of Books.

The panel:

Nigel Inkster is director of transnational threats and political risk at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He served in the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from 1975 to 2006, and spent seven years on the Board of SIS, the last two as assistant chief and director for operations and intelligence.

Steven Erlanger is London bureau chief for The New York Times. Previously he has served as bureau chief in Paris, Jerusalem, Berlin, Moscow, Bangkok and Central Europe and the Balkans. He has also been cultural news editor, chief diplomatic correspondent based in Washington, Moscow correspondent and Southeast Asia correspondent.

James Rubin is a visiting scholar at Oxford University’s Rothermere American Institute, a contributing editor of The New Republic and a commentator, lecturer and analyst on world affairs and US foreign policy. He served under President Clinton as assistant secretary of state for public affairs and chief spokesman for the State Department from 1997 – 2000.

Christoph Scheuermann is London bureau chief for German weekly Der Spiegel. He was previously a reporter at the magazine’s national desk in Hamburg, covering terrorism, extremism and current affairs.

Julian Borger is The Guardian‘s diplomatic editor. He was previously a correspondent in the US, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.