News / Europe

Allies Protest Wiretapping, but Partner With NSA

Demonstrators march through Washington toward the U.S. Capitol to rally and demand that the U.S. Congress investigate the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs, Oct. 26, 2013.
Demonstrators march through Washington toward the U.S. Capitol to rally and demand that the U.S. Congress investigate the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs, Oct. 26, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Al Pessin
— The 23-member European Parliament delegation began a series of meetings Monday with U.S. lawmakers and officials in several government agencies, including the National Security Council at the White House. The talks are scheduled to extend through Wednesday.

European officials are protesting to Washington following revelations that a U.S. intelligence program collected data about millions of telephone calls, and monitored calls involving senior leaders.

The U.S. ambassador in Madrid was called in to receive a Spanish government protest Monday, after reports that the National Security Agency collected data on the origin and end point of millions of Spanish telephone calls.

A Spanish government minister reportedly called the operation "inappropriate and unacceptable” conduct by a friendly nation.

The latest revelation is reportedly from information provided by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has received temporary asylum in Russia. His information also led to reports of NSA tracking of millions of French phone calls.

U.S. policy expert James Boys at London’s King’s College said the alleged surveillance makes clear how seriously American officials view their responsibility to do everything possible to fight terrorism.

“What this incident does demonstrate is that there are continuing U.S. national security interests that will be continued irrespective of who is in the White House, and that they will be pursued irrespective of the potential hurt to feelings that may be caused, even in allies and capitals around Europe,” said Boys.

Massive call tracking operations identify the origin and end-point of phone calls in an effort to establish patterns and find terrorists, without actually listening to the calls.  

The latest reports of such tracking come just days after allegations - again based on information from Snowden - that U.S. intelligence officials did listen to phone calls by as many as 35 world leaders over many years.

Among them were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who dispatched senior intelligence officials to Washington to demand an investigation.  

German media report U.S. President Barack Obama knew about the surveillance. The NSA denies it, though, and The Wall Street Journal newspaper reports the president was not aware of the program until a few months ago, and he ordered it stopped.  

Berlin-based Journal reporter Anton Troianovski said whether the president knew or not, this is becoming “a major event” in U.S.-German relations.

“It’s really something that’s being taken personally by much of the political leadership here. Chancellor Merkel has spoken over and over in the last few days about a relationship of trust being broken, and the need to reestablish trust. People really struggle to explain what the point of this would be.”

Troianovski said the long-term impact of the revelations will depend on how well the United States explains its actions to European leaders and their people.

At a summit last week, European leaders took turns criticizing the U.S. intelligence gathering program. Boys is suspicious, though, of the European outrage.

“The European intelligence services are allied with the National Security Agency. And European powers will benefit from some of the intelligence that’s gathered by the National Security Agency. So, sure - there are some ruffled feathers, but all European leaders will be aware that conversations are monitored. So I think there’s a lot of public posturing going on here,” said Boys.

A senior member of the U.S. Congress expressed a similar view on Sunday. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, called the European objections “disingenuous,” and said the call tracking helps keep the United States and its allies safe.  

The New York Times newspaper reports that France and Germany will try to address the issue through even closer ties with U.S. intelligence, in an arrangement that would share the most sensitive information in exchange for a promise not to spy on each other. The Times said European governments also may require global communications firms to get their approval before providing U.S. intelligence agencies with information about calls or emails in their countries.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet - Africa
October 29, 2013 4:23 AM
Good, the wind over the US is blowing in chains and the nakedness exposed to the extent that even the blind sees it. Those who see the US as god, can go home and repent of the misleading belief. The confusion in the world today is the US- saying good and doing the contrary.


by: makeroftoys from: America
October 28, 2013 10:32 PM
Smoke and mirrors ...
every time Smoke and Mirrors
why?
so they can run off with all the money and convince you to give them your future earnings as well. in short Slavery
Economic Slavery to be specific.
Which is the best form of slavery because it requires that the slaves feed and cloth themselves


by: John Baker from: Australia
October 28, 2013 7:12 PM
I used to admire the Americans and the ideals that were their foundation. Because of the wrongly held belief that they know what's best for the world and their unbelievable greed,they are now a threat to the freedom and prosperity of every other nation.They seem to be heading in the same direction as North Korea where every facet of peoples lives is tightly controlled and anyone who steps out of line is tossed into the gulag.Their founding fathers must be turning in their graves!!


by: upowe from: Maryland
October 28, 2013 2:49 PM
I remember these words. Freedom isn't free, you got to pay a price, you sacrifice for your liberty. Those are word that i wil never forget.


by: usmc from: usa
October 28, 2013 2:37 PM
let me just say that if the people of Spain want to be taken seriously... you have got to do something about this silly hat... no wonder the British look on you as stupid - can you blame them? you think you can recover your territory from Britain looking like idiots...???


by: Xaaji Dhagax
October 28, 2013 2:25 PM
There's no question that US did eavesdropping to all European leaders plus Mexico, Brazil and Haiti. What's the fuss if these leaders have got nothing to hide?, I mean what else they all can do against US. Crafting a new international anti-spying law at UN will take them nowhere! Please stop being fussy fools and let's keep saying loud and clear "God Bless America"!


by: stephen Real from: Columbia USA
October 28, 2013 9:46 AM
This is not about them. (i.e. Europe) This is about US and how we conduct ourselves as Americans. I do not need to search through my old lady's personal things to have a deep trust with her. Gosh fellas. Have a modicum of decorum.


by: rbockman from: Philly
October 27, 2013 5:38 PM
I see nothing wrong in watching the German leader. Germany's adventures have cost the U.S. much in treasure and blood.


by: avlisk from: Arizona
October 27, 2013 4:56 PM
As Obama once said, "The buck stops here." Oh, what's that? It wasn't Obama who said that? I'm shocked. Shocked!


by: Ted Price from: Tennesseee
October 27, 2013 2:52 PM
The USA has no credibility in the world

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid