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How the US Government Spies on Americans without “Spying on Americans”

How are we to make sense of the news that the US government has been “helping” the UK government collect e-mails, phone records, app records, voice chats and now the naked web photo chats of millions of Americans? How can that possibly be reconciled with President Barack Obama’s bald assertion that “there is no spying on Americans”?

Here’s how:

USA: our laws forbid spying on citizens without a warrant UK: same hereUSA: our spooks are only allowed to spy on foreigners UK: what a shame
UK: well, hang on a tic...
UK: your citizens are foreigners in the eyes of our government USA: and your citizens are foreigners to us...
UK: let's share intelligence with one another
So let's spy on the other nation's citizens, then share the results with one another
Protesters: Stop Spying on us!  USA: Mercy me, why we only use warrantless surveillance on foreigners!  UK: heh, heh

This system of continued warrantless spying on innocent citizens relies on two features:

1. The Five Eyes intelligence sharing agreement of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

2. The willingness of the citizens of each country to think of foreigners as less worthy of protection and respect.

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