News / Europe

German, European Officials to Confront US Over Spy Allegations

British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet on sidelines of EU summit, Brussels, Oct. 25, 2013.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet on sidelines of EU summit, Brussels, Oct. 25, 2013.
VOA News
Senior German officials and European lawmakers say they are going to Washington soon to confront officials about allegations the U.S. has been spying on its allies.
Germany said Friday that the heads of its foreign and domestic intelligence agencies would travel to the U.S. shortly, although no date was set for the meeting with officials at the White House and the National Security Agency, the government's clandestine spy agency that monitors millions of telephone and Internet exchanges in an effort to thwart terrorism.
The European Union lawmakers said they are meeting with U.S. officials next week in the wake of allegations the U.S. has engaged in widespread electronic spying on EU citizens and leaders, including the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Friday that the alleged spying on Merkel's phone may have been conducted out of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, which is located less than a kilometer from the German chancellery. The newspaper said the U.S. embassy has a listening post run by the Special Collection Service, a joint operation by the NSA and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
The U.S. spy operations have drawn widespread condemnation in Europe, whose leaders are some of the staunchest American allies. Merkel said the U.S.-European alliance "can only be built on trust. That's why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be."
French President Francois Hollande demanded an explanation from the Obama administration, saying the U.S. spying must stop.

"There are some behaviors and practices that cannot be accepted," he said through an interpretor. " Considering the level and extent of surveillance that has been led by American services, as it happens, and given this can apply to all citizens, including a number of European leaders, we need to put an end to it and there is a clarification required."
Meanwhile, a prominent U.S. newspaper, The Washington Post, says U.S. officials are warning some foreign intelligence services that documents obtained by NSA contractor Edward Snowden detail their secret cooperation with Washington.
The newspaper reported the tens of thousands of documents that Snowden collected contain sensitive material about spy programs against such countries as Iran, Russia and China. The newspaper said the documents also referred to operations involving countries not publicly allied with the U.S.
The Post described the process of notifying world capital officials about the risk of disclosure as "delicate" because, in some cases, one part of a cooperating government might not know about the collaboration.
The notification coincides with a global uproar over reports the United States spied on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders, the latest report being about Merkel.
White House spokesman Jay Carney refused Thursday to deny the NSA had spied on past communications from Chancellor Merkel.
Merkel says she made it clear in a phone call Wednesday to U.S. President Barack Obama that "spying on friends is not acceptable at all."
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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Comment Sorting
by: JKF from: Great North (Canada)
October 25, 2013 9:09 PM
What a bunch of hypocrites, they are all in the intelligence gathering business, and so is every other rational country that has the ability/resources to do it.. They all gather info on other countries, it is part of self preservation and the National Interests... agenda. The intelligence efforts are directly proportional to the capabilities and financial abilities to do so; the more able gather more info than the less able; this has gone on from time of the first tribal units and it goes beyond gvmts, it permeates business, science, technology... etc. In some cases there may not be any other way, given some of the senseless conflicting statements some of the org heads make....Who knows what the truth is??? So why? pick on the US, until they clean their own houses of such activities!

by: Nikos Retsos from: Chicago, USA
October 25, 2013 12:13 PM
It is understantable when China spies on the U.S. and the U.S. on China and Russia as they are foes that may fight a war some day - especially now that the dispute between China, Vietnam, and Philippines over South China Sea is getting hotter. If there is a war, the U.S. may fight on the side on Philippines. But the U.S. spying on European allies, and the cell-phone calls on 35 other world leaders, is quite foolish.

It has come to the point where Ireland's prime minister yesterday showed his cell-phone to reporters in the European Parliament Hall and told them: "Every time I use this, I use with the attention that someone is listening to it," on quote. Who he meant was "the someone?" Well, who else When the news of the U.S. spying on European leaders had first made the headlines in the French newspaper "Le Monte," BBC's anchor Kathy Kay interviewed the diplomatic editor of the Associate Press for "pespective." At the end of the discussion, Ms. Kay asked him this question: "What can the Europeans do to stop it (the U.S. spying)? His answer: "Nothing, they just have to suck it up!"

Obviously, the European leaders were informed by their staff about such views of them (as suckers) were making the global news, and their tempo of anti-U.S. spying rhetoric picked up. And even though they try to pretend publicly that the furor is contained, as it is required by diplomatic protocols, their egos are certainly wounded! Being spied upon by your ally as he spies for terrorists is something that the European leaders may have to "suck it up!" But the question that still has to be answered is this: "Can the digest it?" Nikos Retsos, retired professor

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