Image credit: Der Spiegel
There’s been a huge roar in Europe and specifically in Germany about NSA overkill.
Although President Barack Obama recently dismissed NSA operations as being nothing more than a little spying between friends, Germany sees it as a reminder of former U.S. Cold War tactics.
The media is asking if there will be an investigation. And France sees future trade negotiations in danger.
From an article in the July 2 edition of Der Spiegel, Germany’s weekly news magazine:
Europeans are deeply unsettled as a consequence. We expect rapid clarification from our American partners,” said a spokeswoman for European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. “Of course we are worried, because if the allegations are true, it would create a great deal of unrest.”
European Union (EU) diplomats, with the active involvement of German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, spent much of Monday coming up with a joint response and reaction to possible U.S. spying. According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Westerwelle spoke at length with Catherine Ashton, chief of EU foreign affairs, on Monday. “Both were in agreement that such activity among partners and friends is unacceptable,” the statement read.
Ashton, who is in Brunei for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), addressed the spying allegations with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of that meeting on Monday. In comments to reporters in Brunei, Kerry appeared to downplay the allegations. “I will say that every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs and national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contribute to that,” Kerry told journalists there. “All I know is that is not unusual for lots of nations.”
In Berlin, the German Foreign Ministry called in U.S. Ambassador Philip Murphy on Monday for consultations. Brussels likewise called in the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, William Kennard.
UPDATE-from Der Spiegel-July 8th.
“BND Admits Monitoring Cooperation With NSA
Officially, the BND post in Bad Aibling doesn’t exist, and neither does the local cooperation with the Americans. But in a confidential meeting with the parliament’s intelligence oversight committee, BND head Gerhard Schindler last Wednesday confirmed the cooperation with the US service,
There are other locations in Germany where the Americans engage in data monitoring. The US army runs a top secret lstening post in the town of Griesheim near Darmstadt, in western Germany. Five radomes stand on the edge of the August-Euler airfield, hidden behind a little forest. If you drive past “Dagger Complex” you get suspicious looks from security guards. It’s forbidden to take photos. Inside, soldiers analyze information for the armed forces in Europe. The NSA supports the analysts.
The need for data appears to be so great that the US army is building a new Consolidated Intelligence Center in the nearby city of Wiesbaden. The $124 million building will house bug-proof offices and a high-tech control center. As soon as it’s completed, “Dagger Complex” will be shut down. Only US construction firms are being used. Even the building materials are being brought in from the US and closely guarded along the way.”
‘A Touchy Issue’
French President François Hollande also voiced his anger at allegations published by The Guardian that Paris had been a target of U.S. surveillance and spying activities. “We cannot accept this kind of behavior between partners and allies,” Hollande said. “We ask that this stop immediately.” Italian President Giorgio Napolitano added that “this is a touchy issue.”
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is a world-renowned international journalist and founder of Link Tv. At aNewDomain.net, he covers the global beat, focusing on politics and other international topics of note for our readers in a variety of forums. Email him at DavidMc@aNewDomain.net.