Furious US-Germany row after NSA tap Angela Merkel's phone

Markhor

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Disgraceful, but not shocking. We endlessly hear the need for spying in order to combat terrorism, so when did a fellow head of state become a terror suspect ? Whilst commercial espionage is becoming commonplace, this is outrageous as the US really look like a rogue state.

Obama is screwed either way - he now looks either weak if says he didn't know and failed to ensure checks and balances are in place in the NSA, or complicit if he admits to this. Obama himself even gave assurances to Merkel that her phone was not being tapped.

This whole episode has turned out to be one of the worst diplomatic rows in living memory between Germany and the US. Germany and France are now demanding the US sign a 'no spy' agreement. These people in the US government and surveillance are incapable of truth telling. Eavesdropping on Merkel is not going to stop terrorism. If this spying were so effective, why couldn't they have stopped banks from causing a recession that threw millions of people out of work and out of their homes. Where were their so-called surveillance powers then?

Many senior figures in Congress have already said the NSA failed to properly inform them of the nature and scope of its surveillance activities. James Clapper and Keith Alexander should be charged for misleading Congress.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24692908

Fresh reports in German media based on leaked US intelligence documents are prompting damaging new questions about the extent of US surveillance.

Der Spiegel suggests the US has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone since 2002.

Another report says Mr Obama was told in 2010 about the surveillance and failed to stop it.

The spy row has led to the worst diplomatic crisis betweeen the two countries in living memory.

Leaked documents say a US listening unit was based in its Berlin embassy - and similar operations were replicated in 80 locations around the world.

The German interior minister has been quoted as saying such an operation, if confirmed, would be illegal.

On Friday, Germany and France said they wanted the US to sign a no-spy deal by the end of the year.

As well as the bugging of Mrs Merkel's phone, there are claims the NSA has monitored millions of telephone calls made by German and French citizens.

'Obama's green light'
Der Spiegel claims to have seen secret documents from the National Security Agency which show Mrs Merkel's number on a list dating from 2002 - three years before she became chancellor.

This might indicate that there was extensive bugging of the phones of prominent people, says the BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin. The nature of the monitoring of Mrs Merkel's mobile phone is not clear from the files, Der Spiegel says.

For example, it is possible that the chancellor's conversations were recorded, or that her contacts were simply assessed.

Others might feel betrayed, too. When the original allegations of widespread phone-tapping emerged, some of Chancellor Merkel's confidantes belittled the problem, saying the criticism of the US had a touch of anti-Americanism and that the surveillance was about terrorism.

These people are now some of the strongest critics of the US. They are also saying that German law has been broken.
If the activities of American government employees were investigated by the German authorities, that would make the whole affair harder to damp down. It would be in the system of justice and pursuit would be relentless.

Mrs Merkel phoned the US president when she first heard of the spying allegations on Wednesday.

President Barack Obama apologised to the German chancellor and promised Mrs Merkel he knew nothing of the alleged phone monitoring and would have stopped it if he had, Der Spiegel reports.

But on Sunday Bild newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying NSA head Keith Alexander personally briefed the president about the covert operation targeting Mrs Merkel in 2010.

"Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue," the newspaper quoted a senior NSA official as saying.


Her number was still on a surveillance list in 2013.

Germany is sending its top intelligence chiefs to Washington in the coming week to "push forward" an investigation into the spying allegations, which have caused outrage in Germany.

Criminal investigation?
The documents seen by Der Spiegel give further details about the NSA's targeting of European governments.

A unit called Special Collection Services, based on the fourth floor of the US embassy in Pariser Platz in Berlin, was responsible for monitoring communications in the German capital's government quarter, including those targeting Mrs Merkel.

Germany's Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild that running such an operation on German soil would be illegal under German law, and adds that those "responsible must be held accountable".

Similar listening units were based in around 80 locations worldwide, according to the documents seen by Der Spiegel, 19 of them in European cities.

If the existence of listening stations in US embassies were known, there would be "severe damage for the US's relations with a foreign government," the documents said.

Mrs Merkel - an Americophile who was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 - is said to be shocked that Washington may have engaged in the sort of spying she had to endure growing up in Communist East Germany.
 
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I would be surprised if all the heads of state were not bugged. We bugged Khrushchev when he was in London, fr'instance.

A bit naughty to bug the phone of an ally, though. Wonder who approved this operation?
 
Oh dear! Not entirely unexpected though. It makes sense for the US to bug the phone of a very important European power given the power and influence of the EU. These recent leaks however lead me to believe that their is an effort to discredit the NSA and Obama from very high levels.
 
It's not disgraceful.The idea that the US shouldn't bug other countries is naive.Do you think Russia and China wouldn't do it if they had the capabilities of the NSA ?
Doing it with discretion is the trick of course.Unfortunately for them Edward Snowden happened.
 
I would be surprised if all the heads of state were not bugged. We bugged Khrushchev when he was in London, fr'instance.

A bit naughty to bug the phone of an ally, though. Wonder who approved this operation?

Obama himself it seems:

But on Sunday Bild newspaper quoted US intelligence sources as saying NSA head Keith Alexander personally briefed the president about the covert operation targeting Mrs Merkel in 2010.

"Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue," the newspaper quoted a senior NSA official as saying.
It's not disgraceful.The idea that the US shouldn't bug other countries is naive.Do you think Russia and China wouldn't do it if they had the capabilities of the NSA ?
Doing it with discretion is the trick of course.Unfortunately for them Edward Snowden happened.
Not at all I understand that commercial espionage goes on between countries but its the American hypocrisy I find laughable - to suggest that this only about intelligence to combat terrorism, we all know that the majority of this is being done under that excuse, to gather blackmail information on politicians around the world, and to gain an upper hand in economics and global trade and business.

This is economic warfare and political espionage between "allies" under the guise of anti-terror efforts, and thousands of people predicted all of this long before it came to light. It is disgraceful because the public was told that the surveillance operations had Congressional oversight. Yet why have Congress figures have said that the only people in Congress who know about these activities 'can be counted on one hand'. There are no checks and balances on these activities and no legal basis.

The German Interior Minister himself has said these activities are illegal under German law. Russia and China do not have the same surveillance infrastructure nor have never claimed to be bastions of liberty and freedom unlike the US. The fact that America still insists it is a "democratic country" is one of the most impressive delusions.

Have a look at Mike Rogers who managed to contradict himself in one breath, claiming he is saying French citizens have not been spied on, yet in the next, he confirms that they have !

Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, was more bullish in defending surveillance practices, criticising press coverage of the latest NSA revelations and arguing that Europeans were unaware of the extent of surveillance conducted by their own governments and had been misled by incorrect media reports about the nature of NSA activities.

He told CNN recent reports in France about the NSA's monitoring of millions of phone calls in the country were "100% wrong".

"I would argue by the way, if the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks," he said. "It's a good thing – it keeps the French safe."

Going further, Rogers claimed that the emergence of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century could be partly explained by a conscious decision by the US not to monitor its allies.

"We said: 'We're not going to do any kinds of those things, that would not be appropriate," he said. "Look what happened in the 30s: the rise of fascism, the rise of communism, the rise of imperialism. We didn't see any of it. And it resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people."

What a farce.
 
^ You are confusing the issues.If I was American I'd only be concerned about the government spying on me.The NSA does spy on Americans in bulk as Snowden revealed and oversight is a farce so on that count this is a mess for Obama... which is why they are drawing up new legislation to rein in the NSA.

As for the other bit I don't think americans care about the revelations of spying on allies or enemies.I don't see the hypocrisy..Mike Rogers is in damage control mode because what should have been done in secret got leaked out.Corporate and other espionage is just reality.If you don't do it first others will.China got the plans of the F-35 jet from hacking some US defence corp as per reports.
 
If they can bug German Chancellor. What makes you think they haven't bugged Nawaz Sharif or the President or General Kayani?
 
I am so happy that they spied on Merkels phone she was all so cool when citizens were effected and now crying her eyes out love it.
 
Trouble in paradise for dear Angela.

They've probably bugged Nawaz's phone as well. Once they get through all the orders for nihari, they might just get something.
 
Trouble in paradise for dear Angela.

They've probably bugged Nawaz's phone as well. Once they get through all the orders for nihari, they might just get something.

One of the leeks mentioned they have a 9 billion dollar on Pakistan

Yet if any of this was to be uttered few months ago even some 'liberal' Pakistanis would be saying "conspiracy conspiracy"
 
https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/us-security-agency-spied-merkel-other-top-european-officials-through-danish-2021-05-30/

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) used a partnership with Denmark's foreign intelligence unit to spy on senior officials of neighbouring countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish state broadcaster DR said.

The findings are the result of a 2015 internal investigation in the Danish Defence Intelligence Service into NSA's role in the partnership, DR said, citing nine unnamed sources with access to the investigation.

According to the investigation, which covered the period from 2012 to 2014, the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on senior officials in Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, including former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück.

Asked for comment on the DR report, a spokesperson for the German chancellery said it only became aware of the allegations when asked about them by journalists, and declined to comment further.

Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen declined to comment on "speculation" about intelligence matters in the media.

"I can more generally say that this government has the same attitude as the former Prime Minister expressed in 2013 and 2014 - systematic wiretapping of close allies is unacceptable," Bramsen told Reuters in a statement.

In Washington, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Danish Defence Intelligence Service also declined to comment.

Denmark, a close ally of the United States, hosts several key landing stations for subsea internet cables to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and Britain.

Through targeted retrievals and the use of NSA-developed analysis software known as Xkeyscore, NSA intercepted both calls, texts and chat messages to and from telephones of officials in the neighbouring countries, sources told DR.

The internal investigation in the Danish Defence Intelligence Service was launched in 2014 following concerns about former NSA employee Edward Snowden's leaks the previous year revealing how the NSA works, according to DR.

Snowden fled the United States after leaking secret NSA files in 2013 and was given asylum in Russia.

Following DR's report, Snowden posted a cryptic Danish-language comment on Twitter saying: "If only there had been some reason to investigate many years ago. Oh why didn't anyone warn us?"

Steinbrück told German broadcaster ARD he thought it was "grotesque that friendly intelligence services are indeed intercepting and spying on top representatives" of other countries.

"Politically I consider it a scandal," he said.

Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish SVT broadcaster that he "demanded full information". Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told broadcaster NRK that he took the allegations seriously.

In Paris, French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune told France Info radio that the DR report needed to be checked and that, if confirmed, it would be a "serious" matter.

"These potential facts, they are serious, they must be checked," he said, adding there could be "some diplomatic protests".

A decision in August last year to suspend the head of the Danish Defence Intelligence Service and three other officials following criticism and accusations of serious wrongdoings from an independent board overseeing the agencycentred on the 2015 investigation, according to DR.

Denmark said last year it would initiate an investigation into the case based on information from a whistleblower report. That investigation is expected to be concluded later this year.
 
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