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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

3-day Lockdown to Fight Ebola Continues In Sierra Leone

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid