White House Assures German Chancellor It Is Not And Will Not Monitor Her Calls... Won't Comment On The Past

from the says-a-lot dept

Another day, another foreign country realizing that the NSA is spying on its leadership. This time around, it's Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel, alerted to the possibility by reporters working on Snowden documents for Spiegel, called President Obama to confront him about evidence that the NSA was monitoring her mobile phone calls.
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.
Of course, as with similar revelations recently concerning Brazil, France and Mexico, none of this should really be all that surprising. Spying agencies spy on top elected officials and bureaucrats in other countries all the time. It's what they do. A lot of the reaction to getting caught is just political theater. It's embarrassing, but not nearly as big a deal as governments spying on citizens. That said, the amusing bit is this:
"The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel."
Oh, and this:
The spokeswoman did not wish to specify whether this statement applied to the past.
And this:
[the] NSA, asked [about the White House's] statement wording, officially says it has nothing to add [about] whether Merkel was targeted in the past
Yup. Genius move by the White House spin doctors there. Say we're not monitoring and won't in the future, calling that much more attention to the question of "in the past" and then refuse to make any statements about that.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    kenichi tanaka (profile), Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    Everybody raise your hand if you believe this flim-flam excuse from the Obama Administration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    Mainly spins as if furriners are the main targets.

    So after stating this is mere noise by "White House spin doctors" why is it being amplified by Megaphone Mike?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    and we all know just how much we can trust the White House and all the US security agencies, dont we!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Mainly spins as if furriners are the main targets.

    Guys? Should I explain the simple thing of always wanting to make sure there's a spotlight on governmental wrongdoings? No? Yeah, I agree, no point. You can't teach someone who simply refuses to learn.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Mainly spins as if furriners are the main targets.

    Forest, trees, etc...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Used to be that investigative reporting was what kept government and politicians honest. Since they are now all owned by major corporations, that isn't happening any more. The only source now is whistle blowers and the administration is doing it's best to prevent that. If if can't prevent that then making examples is how they handle it.

    Until this is broken by the public screaming for accountability, nothing will change that is real, meaningful change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Jerrymiah, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    More bullshit from the White House

    If you believe anything the Black House has to say about all of this spying, then you're an idiot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    meh, that bitch is totally in their pockets anyway and will do their bidding either way, so I couldn't care less if they actually spy on her or not.

    That whole thing is at best a show for the peasants to show that she "does something" about these issues. which in reality will never happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:36pm

    Re:

    Freelance investigative journalism with crowdfunding? Mostly brainstorming here.
    If that could work, the major publishing corporations would be forced in a healthy direction of no longer controlling what to investigate and how. They may bring the stories, but they no longer have as much control over the factual content or possibilities of stopping an investigation that might target themself or their friends!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    anonymouse, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    Obama

    I wonder what congress will say when they realsie that all of their calls and texts have been recorded by the NSA. And then what will happen when the White House realizes that all of their calls and texts and web activity is monitored and stored. I believe this would be an announcement that Snowden would hold back in case he is ever in a position where he really needs something to hold over their heads, maybe if he is ever kidnapped by the US and taken to some secret base for questioning.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Re: what congress will say when they realsie that all of their calls and texts have been recorded by the NSA

    What they'll say?

    Why, what they already say: "umm... NSG is good. I support the NSA."

    It's simple blackmail - give the NSA power and money or they reveal the dirty laundry.

    How do you think Hoover stayed in power so long?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Mainly spins as if furriners are the main targets.

    Why are you amplifying the amplification?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 2:29pm

    If the White House refuses to comment, then they know there's evidence that they did spy on Germany in the leak documents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    Re:

    You've got a point there. This being a staged event seems more likely to me than the Obama administration suddenly forgetting how to lie and replying to specific questions with extremely telling "no comment"s.
    What, they'll lie to Congress, but not to Twitter? Give me a break.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 2:33pm

    Only a fool would trust in USA government.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Matt, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Germany leader...no monitoring. US public...monitoring

    Don't you find it funny/sad that the US government can switch off the monitoring of a foreign government leader (admittedly an ally) yet it refuses to stop monitoring its own citizens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    The 10 commandments of working for the NSA

    1 I am Paranoia, who brought you out of the land of uncertainty. You shall have no other gods before me.
    2 You shall not make for yourself copies of incriminating documents.
    3 You shall use the secret interpretation of law to subvert its spirit and justify your own agenda.
    4 Remember the "Snowden" day and keep it holy as a reminder of the damage apostates can do.
    5 Honor your FUD and your lies, so that you may live long in the land your god, Paranoia has given you.
    6 You shall not murder except by proxy.
    7 You shall not screw over your friends in GCHQ & Mossad.
    8 You shall not give testimony against your leaders.
    9 You shall not covet your civil liberties.
    10 You shall not get caught.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 5:25pm

    the Fox says to Hen

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Jake, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 8:19pm

    D'you think maybe someone senior at the NSA is a little bit confused about the definition of the word "ally"? Because this is the kind of thing you are kind of not supposed to do to countries who, just as an example, sent their soldiers to fight and die alongside yours in a war.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    Re: Re:

    It's hard to lie when you know the other side has evidence of what you were doing, so you promise you aren't doing it and won't do it in future, because they can't have evidence of what you will or won't do at some point in the future and probably don't have evidence for right this minute.

    Thing is, when people break the law and spy on you, then you don't trust them and you stop treating them as trustworthy, because they ain't trustworthy, they're just lying criminal scumbags and as the US is a democracy and the US government represents the people, guess what the US people are as a whole, lying cheating criminal scumbags.

    Nice reputation, well earned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    techflaws (profile), Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Mainly spins as if furriners are the main targets.

    Definitely for much better reasons than ankle-biter #1 could ever have for his pathetic attacks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    techflaws (profile), Oct 23rd, 2013 @ 10:12pm

    Re:

    Exactly. She had no problems with the whole population being monitored but herself? Oh no, THAT's unacceptable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 2:15am

    some progress

    And because our Bundeskanzlerin is victim of the NSA personally now, she'll be motivated to do her job to protect the freedom and privacy of the Germans as required by the law and her oath of office. Thank you NSA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    MondoGordo (profile), Oct 24th, 2013 @ 9:47am

    Governments have ALWAYS SPIED ON EACH OTHER

    Friends as well as enemies. Allies as well as adversaries.

    The reason for this is that our friend today may not be our friend tomorrow. To understand the justification for this thinking you only have to look at the alignment of world powers during WWII and compare that to the alignment of world powers 20 years later.

    To save you the research I'll spell it out ... in 1943 Russia & the USA were very chummy. In 1963 Russia wanted to put nukes in the USA's backyard.

    A democratic government spying on its own citizens however is unconscionable; because a truly representative government can never be at odds with the people it serves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re: More bullshit from the White House

    I'm not sure "Black House" actually accomplishes what you want there. I would go with something like "Tarnished House" or "Muddied House". "Black House" just sounds like you're referencing Obama's race.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    David, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    None of this should really be all that surprising?

    Spying agencies spy on top elected officials and bureaucrats in other countries all the time. It's what they do.

    Yes, and "Collateral Murder" videos and mass graves should not be worrying anybody. Armies kill people all the time. It's what they do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    NOT APPLICABLE, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    BOLLOCKS

    'White House Assures German Chancellor It Is Not And Will Not Monitor Her Calls... Won't Comment On The Past'

    That's because GCHQ IN THE UK MONITORS HER and passes on the info . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 24th, 2013 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: More bullshit from the White House

    Since "black house" is a term I've heard overtly used as a racist slur a number of times, I'm pretty sure he was.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 24th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Governments have ALWAYS SPIED ON EACH OTHER

    Yes, governments have always spied on each other. However, that doesn't mean that it's acceptable. That said, domestic spying is a far, far greater sin.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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