2013-07-04 NSA Fallout: German Furore

"The fallout has been immense over revelations that US intelligence agencies systematically spied on EU officials as part of their far-reaching surveillance programs", reported German Spiegel Online. "German commentators on Monday say that Washington must explain itself."

Secret documents obtained by Edward Snowden and seen in part by Spiegel confirm that the NSA bugged the EU's diplomatic representation in Washington, New York, and Brussels, and show the significant extent to which Germany has been a target of the NSA's far-reaching spying activities.

Senior EU and German officials voiced their consternation on Sunday and Monday, with several calling for a suspension of negotiations over the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement.

The German Federal Prosecutors Office is looking into whether the NSA violated laws aimed at protecting German citizens.

The German media also reacted strongly.

Süddeutsche Zeitung:

It apparently falls to the United States intelligence agencies, primarily the NSA, to confirm all the prejudices about Americans held by much of the world. As it stands, the NSA not only egregiously spied on individual countries but also bugged and recorded the offices of the EU.

Frankfurter Allgemeine:

One has to ask whether the leaders of the intelligence agency haven't lost their marbles. Viewing EU officials as a legitimate target is more than just the unfriendly act of an apparatus that knows no boundaries and views itself as beyond the purview of policy and the courts.

Die Tageszeitung:

The outrage among politicians is huge, with complaints ranging from 'unacceptable' and 'appalling' all the way to 'a major scandal'. As indeed they should. But the question remains: What planet are these people living on?

Bild Zeitung:

Nearly everything can be rationalised in the time of global terror: telephone surveillance on millions of respectable people - reading their emails, their Facebook chats... But it is inexplicable that US intelligence agencies wiretapped and investigated supposedly friendly governments, the EU's diplomatic representation, and possibly the German chancellor.


The damage caused by the revelations about US intelligence methods is significant - and it is growing day by day... One of President Obama's central promises has been to 'restore America's moral standing' after the arrogance and recklessness of the Bush era. But the president is further away from this goal than ever.

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