Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
Ico print Print | Ico email Email | Facebook | | RSS

Charles Rivkin ’84: on the carpet

The French government is shocked, shocked at allegations of US spying in France. So said the Foreign Ministry to US Ambassador Charles Rivkin ’84 after summoning him for a meeting on October 21.

Rivkin was called on the carpet after Le Monde reported that America's National Security Agency collected more than 70 million French telephone records in a single 30-day period. The report drew on data leaked by Edward Snowden, the renegade former NSA contractor.

French officials condemned the revelations as "shocking" and "totally unacceptable." But that response may be "in part political theater rather than genuine outrage," the New York Times suggests, "because France runs its own version of a spying program on the Americans, which came to light in 2010."

Such political theater is common in the diplomatic world, and Rivkin comes by it naturally: his father was also a US ambassador, and Charles learned a bit about performance as a member of Yale's Whiffenpoofs. He also served a stint as CEO of the Muppets' Jim Henson Inc.

So if Claude Rains's classic Casablanca reaction is not satisfactory, perhaps Rivkin could borrow a line from Miss Piggy: "Moi?"

Filed under Charles Rivkin, NSA
The comment period has expired.