Also read here: www.nytimes.com/dont-trust-him.r=0
Today I’m going off topic to write about an explosive issue – the NSA. Spiegel has uncovered and reported explosive material that for now is only being superficially reported back in the States. Obama, and the free world, have a mega-crisis on their hands.
Image source: US Government, NSA website.
In Europe, especially Germany, the NSA scandal is taking on ever increasingly huge dimensions with each passing day. While the American media are pretty much low-key or even silent on the NSA scandal, in Europe it is taking on alarming dimensions and threatening to become a foreign policy catastrophe.
News magazine Spiegel has received documents revealing that NSA activity also included bugging European offices, including the Chancellor of Germany. The AP writes:
A top German official accused the United States on Sunday of using “Cold War” methods against its allies, after a German magazine cited secret intelligence documents to claim that U.S. spies bugged European Union offices. Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was responding to a report by German news weekly Der Spiegel, which claimed that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels.”
What is illegal for authorities and intelligence services in Germany to do, is apparently done by the US intelligence: It allegedly has spied on the communication of millions of Germans.”
Spiegel writes at its German site that:
The US intelligence services, with approval by the White House, targetedly monitored the German Government, including the Chancellor.”
Die Welt also writes that the spying is clearly shown by “a paper from the NSA from September 2010…referencing secret documents that former US intelligence agency employee Edward Snowden took with him“.
Bild daily writes:
The statistics that Spiegel had seen shows that on normal days up to 20 million telephone connections and up to 10 million internet data sets had been monitored. On Christmas Eve 2012 the Americans checked over and saved 13 million telephone connections and half as much data from internet connections.
On peak days, such as 7 January 2013, the intelligence agencies spied on about 60 million telephone connections. As a comparision, for France the Americans in the same time period recorded about two million connections.”
The Spiegel revelations are developing into a major and highly embarrassing scandal for Washington. While the news is spreading like a firestorm in a tinderbox in Germany, reports from US media have had their volume turned down to almost mute levels.
Spiegel, which broke the story yesterday, reports today that the German Justice Department has filed charges against “unknown perpetrators“. The German news magazine writes:
The espionage affair surrounding the American intelligence agency NSA has now reached the German Prosecutor’s Office. The authority based in Karlsruhe is responsible for investigating criminal acts against internal security and, according to SPIEGEL information, is checking to see whether violations of privacy laws have been committed during the systematic surveillance of German citizens. … The NSA scandal has now become a matter for the German Justice Department.”
Washington’s and London’s relationship with mainland Europe is now so damaged that they are being compared to the Cold War. This is not a foreign policy scandal, rather it is a foreign policy debacle of historical proportions.
In today’s report, Spiegel writes:
According to an internal statistic of the NSA, approximately 500 million communication connections are monitored. The NSA has ranked Germany as a target of attack.”
According to Spiegel, all this is based on “material whistleblower Edward Snowden collected“.
One can only speculate what information Spiegel has received. But so far everything points to the acquisition of huge trove of intelligence information. I suspect this is only the tip of the ice berg and we are going to be seeing a lot more from Spiegel in the days and weeks ahead. “Foreign policy debacle of historical proportions” may be an understatement.