Well, now that we’ve heard the denials that President Barack Obama was directly involved in hacking German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, new facts, as they say, “have come to light.”
President Barack Obama was dragged into the trans-Atlantic spying row after it was claimed he personally authorised the monitoring of Angela Merkel’s phone three years ago.
The president allegedly allowed US intelligence to listen to calls from the German Chancellor’s mobile phone after he was briefed on the operation by Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency (NSA), in 2010.
The latest claim, reported in the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, followed reports in Der Spiegel that the surveillance of Mrs Merkel’s phone began as long ago as 2002, when she was still the opposition leader, three years before being elected Chancellor. That monitoring only ended in the weeks before Mr Obama visited Berlin in June this year, the magazine added.
Citing leaked US intelligence documents, it also reported that America conducted eavesdropping operations on the German government from a listening post at its embassy beside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, one of more than 80 such centres worldwide.
Mr Obama’s European allies will now ask him to say what he personally knew about the NSA’s global eavesdropping operation and its targeting of world leaders, including those from friendly states. The White House declined to comment on the German media reports.
The Telegraph also reports on how while Obama has been quiet pro-war, pro-Big-Brother Republicans are out campaigning for his policies of spying on both Americans and allies. They make noise about stopping terrorists but, if that is there defense, then our relationship with Angela Merkel’s government in Germany is about to get a lot colder. I don’t especially like Merkel but I don’t think she is conspiring with Islamic terrorists to attack the US. Stopping terrorism does not explain NSA practice of bugging a leader’s phone. In any case, we already know from NSA spying on Brazil that they have taken upon themselves the duty of conducting industrial espionage.
Admittedly, this is more about power than trust and ethics. Some Europeans admit that all countries have been spying. But that isn’t going to matter. Up until now, it appears other nations had no idea of the capabilities of the US government’s electronic data collecting system. Now that it has dawned on them that we spy on them as easily as we spy on anyone in the US or anywhere else, they are going to grow angrier.
I have to appreciate the irony. Angela Merkel is the new, but not so grateful, “Obamaphone lady.”
Postscript: I heard on the radio this morning that the Obama Administration is denying that the President was informed of, or approved, monitoring Merkel’s phone.