Angela Merkel is all finger-wavy over finding out that the U.S. government has been listening in on her phone conversations as though she were Russian or somethingWhat's interesting about this is that Frau Merkel is a politician, which means that she knows very well that politics ain't bean bag. This posturing on her part says that she sees upside in the German electorate which viscerally reacts to "spying" by thinking "Stasi". The NSA has painted themselves with Erich Mielke's brush.
The first take away is that the NSA's broad surveillance policies have inflamed anti-americanism among the population of Germany (also France, and likely other European countries). Euro politicians will be quick to exploit this, and in fact are already doing so.
But even more interesting is the dynamic of Edward Snowden's political journey. He was radicalized by the broad surveillance policy towards Americans and the Obama Administration's lack of desire to rein it in. And so he's spilled the beans.
Lots of beans. The ripple effect of that is playing out in Europe, and in Congress. The NSA is responsible for this, too.
The NSA will see less cooperation from Europe and other countries in the future, because that will be politically undesirable for European Politicians. While the old game of say one thing in public while doing another behind closed doors would have allowed full cooperation, with the Snowden leaks the questions everyone will wonder is who will leak next, and what will they leak? The risk will be high for a policy of domestic lying. We can expect less cooperation than in the past on the War on Terror.
Similarly here in the USA. Broad parts of the security community are disgusted with PRISM and the other programs, and will cooperate less with the Fed.Gov. Politicians here are seeing an opportunity to take Big Brother down a peg or two - perhaps motivated by no small amount of fear. The War On Terror has suddenly gotten much more difficult for the NSA to prosecute, because of their reckless surveillance policies.
The dialectic is much older than Marx, who stole it from Hegel (via Kant). It goes way back to ancient days, where Plato used it in the Socratic Dialogs. The concept is that action begets its own reaction. We're seeing that today. There's a certain poetic justice in that, if that's the right metaphor.
No doubt the Government would say that this will make it harder for them to fight terrorism.
Unfortunately, they don't have a lot of credibility. They haven't stopped terrorist attacks (The NSA contributed nothing in the successful Boston Marathon attack and the unsuccessful Times Square attack), so there's not a lot of evidence that they're effective. The NSA and Intelligence management have repeatedly lied (including under oath) to Congress and the public, and the FISA court. Why should we give them the benefit of the doubt?
And quite frankly, this is the NSA's fault, too. Quite frankly, this doesn't look very much like what I'd imagine a successful espionage program to look like.