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.

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Comments on “White House Assures German Chancellor It Is Not And Will Not Monitor Her Calls… Won't Comment On The Past”

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29 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

anonymouse says:

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.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

MondoGordo (profile) says:

Re: 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.

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