US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Phone.

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US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Phone.

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http://www.spiegel.de/international/wor ... 29642.html
Berlin is taking seriously indications that Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone might have been tapped by US intelligence, according to SPIEGEL information. Merkel spoke with President Barack Obama on Wednesday about her concerns.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss suspicions that she may have been targeted by US intelligence agencies for years, SPIEGEL has learned.

ANZEIGE

The chancellor asked for a thorough explanation of serious indications that US intelligence agencies had declared her private mobile phone to be a target in their operations.
Merkel made it clear that, should these indications turn out to be true, she "unequivocally disapproves" of such methods and finds them "totally unacceptable," her spokesman Steffen Seibert said. "This would be a grave breach of trust," he added. "Such practices must immediately be put to a stop."

The unusually strong reaction from the Chancellery was prompted by SPIEGEL research. After the information was examined by the country's foreign intelligence agency, the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), and the Federal Office for Information Security, Berlin seems to have found their suspicions plausible enough to confront the US government.

During her conversation with Obama, Merkel expressed her expectation that "US authorities would provide an explanation about the possible extent of such surveillance practices, and thus answer questions that the German government already posed months ago," Seibert said.

"As a close ally of the United States of America, the German government expects a clear contractual agreement on the activities of the agencies and their cooperation," he added.
In response to the allegations, a spokeswoman for the US National Security Council told SPIEGEL: "The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel."

The spokeswoman did not wish to specify whether this statement applied to the past.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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This just gets better and better.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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'Out of Hand': Europe Furious Over US Spying Allegations

The newest allegations of US spying have unleashed a torrent of criticism and concern in Europe. If suspicions unearthed by SPIEGEL that the US tapped Chancellor Merkel's cell phone turn out to be true, the ramifications for trans-Atlantic ties could be immense.

Leading politicians and media commentators in Germany expressed serious concern on Thursday following allegations that US intelligence agencies had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. Merkel's spokesman confirmed that she placed an angry call Wednesday night to United States President Barack Obama to discuss the suspicions, which arose from an inquiry by SPIEGEL.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle took the unusual step Thursday morning of summoning the US ambassador, John B. Emerson, who is set to meet with the minister in the afternoon. A source at the Foreign Ministry told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Thursday that Westerwelle will meet with the ambassador "in person."

Sharp criticism also came from German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière. "If what we are now hearing is true, that would be really bad," he told broadcaster ARD. "The Americans are and remain our closest friends, but this is completely unacceptable." De Maizière went on to say that he had assumed for years his own phone had been tapped. "However, I did not expect the Americans," he added. Asked about possible effects on US-German and US-European relations, de Maizière said: "We can't simply return to business as usual. There are allegations in France, too." Diplomatic relations between France and the US have been strained following reports that millions of French calls had been monitored by US intelligence agencies.

'Our Fears Have Been Confirmed'

"The allegation shows once again that our fears have been confirmed," said Thomas Oppermann, chairman of the Parliamentary Control Panel, which is responsible for monitoring Germany's federal intelligence services. "The NSA's monitoring activities have gotten completely out of hand and evidently take place beyond all democratic controls," continued the center-left Social Democrat, who called an emergency meeting of the Control Panel for 2 p.m. on Thursday.

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has called for Merkel's government to suspend the SWIFT deal between the EU and US, which governs the transfer of some bank data from the EU to anti-terror authorities in the United States. "The new suspicion exceeds all bounds. The NSA affair is not over," she said, calling for EU bodies to "decide quickly" on the matter.

German media commentators also reacted angrily on Thursday. "A greater affront by a friendly country is hardly conceivable," wrote the prominent center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung in a front-page commentary that criticized Merkel's government for initially downplaying the US spying scandal. "But the new allegations also cast a new light on Obama and the US intelligence community. During his visit to Germany, the US president grandly promised a trustful cooperation. But even Merkel now seems to have lost her belief in that. It's hard to even imagine how Obama's intelligence services deal with hostile states when one sees how they behave toward their closest allies."


The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cautioned readers that nothing had yet been proven regarding the chancellor's mobile phone, but it also emphasized the extent to which the US spying scandal has already damaged diplomatic relations. "As Obama's cool reaction shows, the government in Washington has apparently not yet understood the level of damage that continues to be caused by the activities of American intelligence agencies in Europe. They have diminished the trans-Atlantic relationship -- even to a major degree."

Outrage Ahead of EU Summit


Elsewhere in Europe, other editorialists also reacted with outrage to the latest spying allegations. Conservative Paris daily Le Figaro called the news "a warning shot in the direction of the US and a call for a resolute response from the EU. Europe is not discovering the NSA wiretapping scandal now. But with a personal accusation from Angela Merkel, the matter takes on a spectacular new scale."

Even if the cell-phone allegation turns out to be false, writes right-leaning Milan daily Corriere della Sera, "it doesn't change anything of the substance. ... The real central issue is that a threshold has already been crossed. No one can and must be indignant that a global power like the US has such an efficient information-gathering service. But, in the sensitive area of security, the monstrous possibilities offered by modern technologies oblige states to work alongside friendly and allied countries with the maximum degree of coordination, with respect to the limits and rules that should govern such activities."

"With each leak, American soft power hemorrhages, and hard power threatens to seep away with it," wrote Britain's left-wing Guardian newspaper on Wednesday evening. The commentary went on to question what it means "to be an American ally in the 21st century.
"

The revelations are likely to overshadow the other issues on the agenda at an EU summit due to take place Thursday afternoon in Brussels. The summit was originally meant to address Europe's economic recovery and immigration, as well as the EU's digital economy and innovation. Now, however, it's quite likely American spying in Europe will steal much of the spotlight.

When the NSA scandal first broke the Germans sent the USA a catalogue of questions. The USA to this day has not even deigned to answer a single one.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Does Merkel expect to be taken seriously? I mean when it was only normal people that were spied on her lap dogs downplayed the whole affair and declared the whole discussion about it to be over and "security to be a super fundamental right" which apparently tops "normal fundamental rights".

I have no idea where the sympathy among the German public for this hag comes from.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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salm wrote:Does Merkel expect to be taken seriously? I mean when it was only normal people that were spied on her lap dogs downplayed the whole affair and declared the whole discussion about it to be over and "security to be a super fundamental right" which apparently tops "normal fundamental rights".

I have no idea where the sympathy among the German public for this hag comes from.

Well, they tried to downplay it in election cycles and considering the USA has not responded to a single one of her questions it might have been simply too much.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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This falls under the segment of "This is the NSA real job". We spy on foreign governments, that's to be expected. The Germans need to practice some OPSEC for senior goverment officials and get them all burner phones if they want to conduct any business via mobile phones.

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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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The scale is a bit off though. It feels like the resources devoted to spying on allies are completely out of line.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Thanas wrote:The scale is a bit off though. It feels like the resources devoted to spying on allies are completely out of line.
How so?

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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

Post by energiewende »

All this shows is that the NSA isn't asleep on the job. And I don't share any moral outrage, either. Ordinary citizens against whom there are no court-approved search warrants may be innocent bystanders, but Angela Merkel is the leader of a major power and therefore very much a player in the game.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Thanas wrote:The scale is a bit off though. It feels like the resources devoted to spying on allies are completely out of line.
Look, the NSA grabs all the phone records, right? Why should anyone be surprised that they are investigating Merkel's phone for terrorism, she's using the same model and the same networks as everyone else. It's not as though they have alligator clips on her mobile-they have a tap on everyone's phone.

p.s. Terrorism, Al Qaeda, Ossama, Blah blah blah, NSA trigger words!
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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If she´s got nothing to hide...
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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On the one hand, states should not be surprised that other states spy on them.

On the other hand, states have a right to try to use their resources to deter another state from doing that. Especially if there is a history of responsible cooperation between the two states- if you wish to spy on me and be my friend at the same time, you should not be surprised if those objectives conflict.

So while Merkel has no right to be surprised, she has a right to be offended and to take steps to discourage the US from doing this. What is hypocritical is failing to attempt to protect the privacy of German citizens from the NSA. While we don't normally think of "defend citizens' privacy from foreigners" as a responsibility of government, it's a very logical corollary to the general "defend citizens" responsibility.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

Post by Zaune »

energiewende wrote:All this shows is that the NSA isn't asleep on the job. And I don't share any moral outrage, either. Ordinary citizens against whom there are no court-approved search warrants may be innocent bystanders, but Angela Merkel is the leader of a major power and therefore very much a player in the game.
A major power whose soldiers happen to be fighting and dying alongside yours in Afghanistan, for no particular benefit to themselves at that. I'm sure they will be truly overwhelmed by this awe-inspiring display of gratitude.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Initial gut reaction is: and? then I force myself to stop and think...

This is what I come up with: The U.S. (and 'we' be extension) are spying on everyone due to an inflated sense of self consciousness. Everyone is a suspect, except the actual criminals, in the attempt to derail 'freedom and democracy.' While the government doing this is not exactly a surprise it does reek of McCarthyism and the reason Americans go along with this breach is because they do not see it as effecting them, personally, at least not where they can see it.

That is the real kicker. People in the U.S. are continually trading security for freedom and are not taking this to the logical conclusion of pure fascism.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

Post by Alyrium Denryle »

Thanas wrote:
salm wrote:Does Merkel expect to be taken seriously? I mean when it was only normal people that were spied on her lap dogs downplayed the whole affair and declared the whole discussion about it to be over and "security to be a super fundamental right" which apparently tops "normal fundamental rights".

I have no idea where the sympathy among the German public for this hag comes from.

Well, they tried to downplay it in election cycles and considering the USA has not responded to a single one of her questions it might have been simply too much.
I suspect a degree of irritation has been building for a while. Dr. Merkel does not strike me as the sort of person who likes to be bullied or manhandled (see her reaction to the Inappropriate Shoulder Rub). So when the US government bullied her government to drop torture allegations against the CIA, I dont think she liked it much. The NSA... maybe or maybe not the same thing. Either way, she played the game there and the Intel Agencies were, as I recall, cooperating (even if, perhaps, she either did not know or was pressured into giving assent. Whichever)

But this? Straw that breaks the camel's back, I should think. Granted, I am not a German, and my exposure is limited. I could be off-base but that is my impression. This IS a woman who had the cast-iron ovaries necessary to directly contradict the pope in public.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Mr Bean wrote:
Thanas wrote:The scale is a bit off though. It feels like the resources devoted to spying on allies are completely out of line.
How so?
When your nation grabs all phone records of an allied nation for over a month it all seems completely out of proportion, as does the budget of the NSA, which at this time is probably larger than that of every European agency combined.
Simon_Jester wrote:So while Merkel has no right to be surprised, she has a right to be offended and to take steps to discourage the US from doing this. What is hypocritical is failing to attempt to protect the privacy of German citizens from the NSA.
The attempt to do so is currently blocked by the USA, so this is merely another piece of the puzzle.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Mr Bean wrote:This falls under the segment of "This is the NSA real job". We spy on foreign governments, that's to be expected. The Germans need to practice some OPSEC for senior goverment officials and get them all burner phones if they want to conduct any business via mobile phones.

Burner phone:A use and lose mobile phone designed to be used for a few calls and then discarded. A professional burner phone will offer fast swap in/out of the sim card and multiple support chips so the phone can be re-flashed onto a different carriers network and different number in a few seconds.
Missed this, but Merkels phone is such a modern burner phone. Apparently did not do much to protect it from NSA hacks.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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While everyone expects the NSA to flagrantly ignore any respect for allies, what this means is that the dirty laundry is put in public and NSA has been caught with its hands where they don't belong. Which in turn means that it's damage to the US standing and it allows the EU nations one more weapon in negotiations. I would also not be surprised at the EU unilaterally suspending all cooperation in data sharing with regard to EU citizens in its current form as a retaliation measure.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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So what is it the NSA/CIA is supposed to have done exactly vis-a-vis Merkel's phone? Or is that another of those things we are just supposed to infer based on vague accusations?
Zwinmar wrote:Initial gut reaction is: and? then I force myself to stop and think...

This is what I come up with: The U.S. (and 'we' be extension) are spying on everyone due to an inflated sense of self consciousness. Everyone is a suspect, except the actual criminals, in the attempt to derail 'freedom and democracy.' While the government doing this is not exactly a surprise it does reek of McCarthyism and the reason Americans go along with this breach is because they do not see it as effecting them, personally, at least not where they can see it.

That is the real kicker. People in the U.S. are continually trading security for freedom and are not taking this to the logical conclusion of pure fascism.
If the NSA is/was Bugging Merkel and other ally's phones, its not necessarily because they suspect her of having any nefarious intent. It could be something as simple as "market research". It's a lot easier "sell" an idea to your allies if you know their mindset.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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I would think she had almost every security system imaginable on her phone
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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690.000 € worth of it, apparently.
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Thanas wrote:690.000 € worth of it, apparently.
Which is why cheap phones you use for one conversation then toss are far more secure.

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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Mr Bean wrote:
Thanas wrote:690.000 € worth of it, apparently.
Which is why cheap phones you use for one conversation then toss are far more secure.
Nobody in government uses cheap phones. Are you saying Obama does so?
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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Question is if Merkel's people are trying to listen to Obama?
I would be surprised if they were not
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Re: US Government may have tapped Angela Merkel's Mobile Pho

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I don't think anybody of prominence expects the US to not spy on its allies. I'm much more interested in the timing of this news.

A little context for the uninitiated: a package of EU-wide data protection laws drafted by the European Commission is making its way through Brussels at the moment. To become law, the proposals need to be adopted by the European Parliament and by the Member States in the European Council. The Justice Ministers of the Council discussed it on 7 October; the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament backed it 49 to 1 with 3 abstentions on 10 October; and it's slated for discussion by the heads of state and government at the meeting of the European Council of 24 and 25 October. President Barroso of the European Commission has called for the revised data protection laws to be adopted before the end of the European Parliament's term in June, and the next meeting of the Justice Ministers is in December.

Right now the proposal appears to be breezing its way through, but I would hardly be surprised if someone in the German government decided to orchestrate a little extra consensus ahead of the meeting of the Council by releasing one more juicy story about the wanton disregard for EU citizens' privacy shown by American intel cowboys. Now Merkel can play the aggrieved victim, everybody clucks their tongues in disapproval at the NSA, and the Commission (whose Commissioner for Digital Agenda earlier called Edward Snowden's revelations "helpful") scores a big victory ahead of the elections in May. Everybody wins! Except the Americans, of course, but then they shot themselves in the foot with their own damn gun so yay for Old Continent politics!

Of course it could also be a complete coincidence that this came out right when it did two days ahead of a big meeting of the heads of state of the European Union that just so happens to have the digital economy on its agenda, but really? Coincidence at this level of politics?
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