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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Ron Hatfield from: USA
October 27, 2013 2:30 PM
If you think that these European countries are not at least trying to do the same thing, you are incredibly naive. It is human nature to want to know what everybody else is doing. Some are more successful than others. But, all are doing it.

     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid