BEIJING The United States country risks its own security by refusing to trust even its own friends and spying on its allies, China's official Xinhua news agency said on Friday, labeling the latest revelations heart-stoppingly fascinating.
"The sole superpower's spying saga is spicy on a heart-attack scale. It is particularly hurtful to those supposed to trust America the most - its allies," Xinhua said in an English-language commentary, peppered with colorful language.
"What is counter-intuitive in the NSA forage is its nonsensical approach: relentless and indiscriminate like a vacuum cleaner. It just bugs everybody, even its closest allies in Europe," it added.
The head of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) defended his beleaguered organization on Tuesday, saying it acts within the law to stop militant attacks and calling reports that the NSA collected data on millions of telephone calls in Europe false.
The White House has moved to limit some NSA programs, including one that monitored the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"Ironically enough, the bugging undermines the very thing it is supposed to protect - national security. As America pins its security on alliances, the tapping tale would sour its relationship with allies - and thus erode its security bedrock - more than any terrorist would be capable of," Xinhua wrote.
Xinhua commentaries are not official policy statements, but can be read as reflections of Chinese government thinking.
The Chinese government is often accused, most vocally by the United States, of hacking into computer networks overseas, targeting both companies and government departments. China consistently denies the accusations, saying it is one of the world's biggest victims of hacking.
Xinhua said that the U.S. prevarications about the spying accusations was deeply hypocritical, especially considering the allegations about hacking thrown Beijing's way by Washington.
"The apparent application of a double standard only reinforces the image of a Janus-faced America. In the sunlight, it preaches; in the dark, it pries. On the offensive, it orates; on the defensive, it equivocates," it wrote.
"Uncle Sam needs to remember what happened to the tailor in the Lady Godiva story - Peeping Tom was struck blind."
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)