On Saturday, the Drudge Report banner linked to the report, "NSA Hacks Chinese Servers," and related stories. Alone, the reports were enough to cause the Obama administration to squirm at the potential international uproar the disclosure may cause. In addition, the report also places First Lady Michelle Obama in a most uncomfortable position, in China to spread goodwill under a cloud of United States' spying scandal on the country she is visiting.
As Michelle Obama appears to be successfully winning her way into the hearts of the Chinese people, it doesn't help her for it to be revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has pried its way into the sealed industrial heart of China's telecommunications giant Huawei. The untimely disclosure of NSA documents was published by the New York Times as well Der Spiegel almost simultaneously on March 22, 2014.
The report provokes a host of questions. At this time, there appears to be no information available about whether the release of the two publications were coordinated or whether the Obama administration attempted to delay the story until Michelle returned or even if the Obama administration was aware the story would break while Michelle was in China. If the Obama administration was aware, that knowledge would give Michelle's statement, linked on the Drudge Report that "Barack 'has dragged me kicking and screaming into things that I wanted no part of'" new meaning.
It's possible that even if the Obama administration tried to kill the story a lack of influence with international news would have stopped the efforts cold. In any case, Michelle Obama is in the hot seat far away from home. As this is being published, the Obama administration is most likely preparing to get out in front with their official version of this story soon.
Stories coming out of China claiming that the staff of the hotel which is housing Michelle's entourage of 70 may be regretting that their hotel was chosen to accommodate the visit of the First Lady pale in comparison to the potential international embarrassment which may follow the release of these Edward Snowden documents. There are sure to be additional developments to this story. Already Der Spiegel is promising the release of a longer version of this story will appear in German on Monday.
In the meantime, can the Drudge Report be faulted for linking to a story that was already out there? The Drudge Report reach may equal or even surpass that of The New York Times and a link on Drudge undeniably has power. Still once the story hit the internet, there was no hope of containing it nor of protecting Michelle Obama from the repercussions.
Over on his Twitter site, Drudge took particular issue with another statement of the First Lady. He tweeted, "Michelle O in Beijing: Internet 'universal right'. Except in USA, where her Homeland Security shuts dozens of websites without court order!!"
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