by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
angela merkel, germany, nsa, spying

New NSA Leakers Reveal NSA Switched From Spying On Merkel... To All Her Chief Advisors

from the well,-of-course dept

It's long forgotten now, but back in August, the US and Germany were said to be working on an agreement not to spy on each other's governments. As we noted at the time, such an agreement would almost certainly be meaningless. Of course, that news came out after the initial Snowden leaks, but prior to the high profile news in October that the NSA was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls. While President Obama (after first claiming he had no idea it was happening) promised Merkel that the NSA would stop spying on her phone calls, by January, those plans for a big "bilateral no-spy deal" were basically dead.

And, indeed, over the weekend, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that the NSA may have stopped bugging Merkel's phone, but instead it had started bugging the phones of basically everyone around her, including pretty much every senior government official who reported to her. The report quotes a "high-ranking NSA employee in Germany" explaining what's going on:
"We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor's communication directly," it quoted the NSA employee as saying.
This shouldn't be that surprising. This is what the NSA is going to do, after all. But what amazes me about this story is the fact that it's already leaked out, and that despite all the talk of cracking down on future leaks out of the NSA, the NSA already has another leaker releasing information that is clearly politically sensitive. So many folks like to point to Snowden as if he's the only leaker the NSA ever had or ever will have. But it's increasingly looking like there are others within the NSA who are equally uncomfortable with what's become of the intelligence community.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Feb 2014 @ 7:47am


    Eh once again... something you expect your country to do.

    While we expect them to spy on everyone else and give us advantages we never really expect them to spy on US and give OTHERS advantages.

    I mean, sure, find the NSA tracks us all. Which would be fine, I guess... if they didn't have the information so poorly kept any 30 year old CONTRACTOR can just scoop up that information, hop out of the country and then announce what he did and what he ran off with.

    It's like... Really? You are going to take all of our inforamtion and you have CONTRACTORS?! Guns for HIRE protect all of this sensitive information?? At this point we don't want you spying on us anymore even if we thought it was necessary because you are so flipping incompetent we wouldn't trust you with taking out the trash!

    Then we find out you have been weakening... WEAKENING cryptography?! You've essentially made all of our systems EASIER to break into. These people should have been fired into the sun immediately. This is worse than weakening all locks on people's doors in the country. People can break into my personal files online and destroy my life with ease.

    We expect them to spy, that's what spies do. We DON'T expect them to hire wolves to guard the sheep though. That's what idiots do and idiots don't make good spies.

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