While there is still much more to be exposed, initial reports are indicating that the NSA chose to bug over 300 individuals German government officials to make up for not being able to spy directly on Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Reuters Germany reported on February 23 that the list of targeted individuals includes German Interior Minister (and former Defense Minister) Thomas de Maiziere, who happens to be a close confidant of Chancellor Angela Merkel. While the international community expected NSA’s surveillance activities to tone down after Obama instructed the NSA to stop spying on Merkel earlier this year, the recent revelation (if proven true) may prove to be the final stone in the coffin for the NSA.
Bild am Sonntag quoted the NSA employee stating that “We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the Chancellor’s communication directly.“
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Over 300 German Official’s nn NSA’s Watch list
While there is still much more to be exposed, initial reports are indicating that the NSA has over 300 individuals German government officials bugged to make up for not being able to spy directly on Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The news was broken to German magazine Bild am Sonntag (Germany’s best-selling national Sunday newspaper), by a high-ranking NSA official individual stationed in Germany. The individual chose to remain anonymous and no reaction from the NSA or the US government has been released as yet.
Obama Breaks his Promise to Stop Spying on Germany
Last time, US-Europe relations deteriorated and President Obama had to intervene by making multiple pledges to curb the anger that spread like wildfire amongst the European masses. With Bild am Sonntag reporting that there are around 300 NSA officials stationed in Germany spying on over 300 German officials, President Obama is going to find himself in some very hot water.
Even though Bild am Sonntag did not name the source behind the news, the newspaper seemed bent on substantiating the allegation. The newspaper took the liberty of quoting NSC spokesperson Caitlin Hayden’s heavily criticized statement: “The United States has made clear it gathers intelligence in exactly the same way as any other states.”
Related Article: The Day We Fight Back – Stop the NSA Mass Surveillance
US Refuses to Sign No Spying Agreement
Relationships between the two countries remain slightly strained as the German government continues to refrain from trusting the US unless it enters into a No Spying Agreement between them. The US was still in the process of making up for the NSA’s Merkel fluke and the recent news may create further complications.
It is likely that the NSA and the US government will reject the allegation altogether. There is no way out from here but to either accept that the NSA is out of control and needs to be shut down, or to take the offensive and lie more blatantly than before. Judging by the government’s support of the NSA’s activities, I expect the latter to take place within days.
The Road Ahead
The incident raises questions about the true nature of the friendship that the two countries share, and the degree to which the US respects its allies. This is not the first time that the US has come under fire due to the NSA’s activities. Ever since Edward Snowden blew the whistle, a domino effect seems to have given others the courage to come forth.
Even though two days have passed since the German newspaper published it, the news continues to make headlines around the world as governments worry about the audacity of the NSA’s spying activities, and the general public wonders if it is time to take matters in their own hands. The news comes to light at a point when the entire global community is struggling to fight the increasing threat of cybercrime and the international community is running out of patience for the NSA’s shamelessly unrelenting spying activities.