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.
    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

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora