News / USA

Report: US May Have Bugged Merkel Phone Since '02

NSA Spying Charges Shake US Alliancesi
X
October 26, 2013 11:02 PM
Reports that the U.S. National Security Agency has spied on America's allies, and even tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, have unsettled some of Washington's key alliances. As VOA's Kent Klein tells us, several European leaders are calling for steps to limit U.S. surveillance.

VIDEO: Reports that the NSA has spied on America's allies has unsettled some of Washington's key alliances, as VOA's Kent Klein reports.

VOA News
The U.S. National Security Agency may have bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone for more than 10 years, according to a news report Saturday by the German weekly Der Spiegel.
 
Der Spiegel also cited a source in Merkel's office saying U.S. President Barack Obama apologized to the German leader when she called him this past Wednesday to seek clarification on the issue.
 
A Merkel spokesman and the White House declined comment.
 
Germany plans to send its intelligence chiefs to Washington in the coming days to seek answers on the spying allegations.
 
Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that show sweeping U.S. surveillance on Internet searches and telephone records of ordinary citizens and world leaders have sparked outrage globally.
 
Germany is also working with Brazil on a draft United Nations General Assembly resolution to guarantee people's privacy in electronic communications. U.N. diplomats say it would call for extending the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to Internet activities, but would not mention the United States.

As many as 1,000 demonstrators rallied Saturday outside the U.S. Capitol against NSA spying, demanding an end to mass surveillance of individuals.
 
President Obama has ordered a review of U.S. surveillance programs after Snowden leaked the NSA secrets.
 
Former CIA deputy director Michael Morrell said in a television interview to be broadcast Sunday that Snowden's leaks are "the most serious compromise of classified information in the history of the U.S. intelligence community."
 
Morrell told CBS television's 60 Minutes the most damaging leaked document was the so-called Black Budget, detailing where the U.S. spends its money on intelligence efforts. 
 
Morrell said Snowden has put Americans at greater risk "because terrorists learn from leaks and they will be more careful," and the country will not get the intelligence it would have gotten otherwise.
 
The Washington Post reported Friday U.S. officials are warning some foreign intelligence services that documents obtained by Snowden detail their secret cooperation with Washington.

Charges shake US alliances
 
Germany's leader has said trust between her country and the United States, a close ally, needs to be rebuilt, and French President Francois Hollande has also been a vocal critic of the NSA's gathering phone and email records.
 
But it's not just European leaders who object to the alleged spying.
 
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has revealed classified documents that show as many as 35 world leaders' cell phones were tapped.
 
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled a state visit to Washington and condemned the U.S. in a speech to the United Nations in September, saying "the safety of a citizen of one country should not be guaranteed by the violation of human and civil rights which are fundamental to citizens of another country."
 
While many countries spy on each other, Scheherazade Rehman, head of George Washington University's European Union Center, says this situation is unusual.
 
"These kinds of things go on between countries, but to have it so overtly splashed on the front pages is something that outrages most countries, I think."
 
Rehman does not foresee a long-term chill in U.S. relations with its allies, but she says the NSA will need to change some procedures.
 
"I think specifically targeting information that we are going after, as opposed to a general gathering of information, that needs to be discussed."
 
NSA Director Keith Alexander said recently that despite the public objections, many U.S. allies tell him they welcome the intelligence gathering.
 
"Here is what I get: 'Keep working with us — the intelligence you get us to defend our country is what we really need,'" he said.
 
But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday that the issue has complicated America's relations with its allies, and "created significant challenges in our relationships with some of our partners, and has been, of course, a public distraction, as you even saw over the last couple of days."
 
The challenges in those relationships will also be a challenge to policymakers in Washington, who are reluctant to give up any weapon in the fight against terrorism.

VOA correspondent Kent Klein contribued to this report, and some information was provided by AFP.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Roland from: Netherlands
October 28, 2013 8:18 AM
So why isn't there a European NSA spying on the U.S. and recording all there communucations instead of the other way around? Talk about a failure of European intelligence agencies they are supposed to know if a foreign power is spying on there leaders mobile phones and recording communications.They look like a bunch of clowns.European leaders need to grow up and protect us European citizens that is the most important thing for governments to do.Americans don't need to know what porn sites I visit.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 28, 2013 1:13 AM
"Here is what I get: 'Keep working with us — the intelligence you get us to defend our country is what we really need,'"

If possible Who did get him it? I guess Japanese and Korean officials did.


by: Dr. Q. L. Liverfart from: UK
October 26, 2013 7:22 PM
The NSA’s vast wiretapping and surveillance operation, in addition to the agency’s attempt to intimidate the media and whistleblowers from releasing information about programs such as PRISM, has has virtually nothing to do with catching terrorists and everything to do with creating a chilling effect that dissuades the free press from exposing government corruption while making Americans fearful of engaging in political free speech.

The myth that blanket NSA spying is primarily concerned with catching terrorists, or that terrorists will be aided by people like Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the PRISM program, has been debunked by numerous experts.

Firstly, the threat posed to Americans by terrorism is grossly exaggerated and overhyped. Americans are more likely to be killed by toddlers than terrorists. Intestinal illnesses, allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, drowning in the bath, or accident-causing deer all individually pose a greater threat to Americans than terrorists. So the whole debate about sacrificing privacy for security is a total fraud to begin with.

“The terrorists have already known that we’ve been doing this for years, so there’s no surprise there. They’re not going to change the way they operate just because it comes out in the U.S. press. I mean, the point is, they already knew it, and they were operating the way they would operate anyway. So, the point is that they’re—we’re not—the government here is not trying to protect it from the terrorists; it’s trying to protect it, that knowledge of that program, from the citizens of the United States,” said Binney.

This sentiment was echoed by top counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who remarked, “The argument that this sweeping search must be kept secret from the terrorists is laughable. Terrorists already assume this sort of thing is being done. Only law-abiding American citizens were blissfully ignorant of what their government was doing.”


The reason for the persecution of whistleblowers and media outlets who leak evidence of government wrongdoing is to intimidate the free press and make them less likely to publish information about government corruption for fear of legal reprisals.


As Thomas Drake, former senior NSA executive and a decorated Air Force and Navy veteran remarks, the government is incensed at Snowden and the media outlets who carried his story because Snowden exposed how the NSA is acting in “direct violation of the fourth amendment of the US constitution,” and how the NSA is “subverting the constitution.”

Despite the fact that whistleblowers are helping to expose wrongdoing in government – and the polls show they are supported by the majority of the American people – the Obama administration has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.

As all the experts agree, this isn’t being done to protect America from terrorists, it is being done to intimidate insiders from coming forward and speaking out against government corruption in the fear that they will end up like Bradley Manning – locked away in solitary confinement for years.


The NSA’s huge illegal dragnet also has an additional consequence – implanting a seed of doubt in the minds of average Americans seeking to exercise their first amendment right to criticize the government. Could they become a target of blanket surveillance and wiretapping?
The Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and the NSA and other federal agency’s role in spying on reporters and average Americans has nothing to do with stopping terrorists and everything to do with intimidating the media, creating a chilling effect that makes insiders who have clear evidence of government corruption far less likely to go public, and making Americans think twice before they criticize the government or exercise their constitutional rights.


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
October 26, 2013 6:35 PM
If Mr.Cameron and his British government want information in this country don't they get the American government to collect it and then buy the information from America?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid