An already complicated diplomatic situation got a bit trickier for the White House Saturday after Germany’s Der Spiegel reported that the National Security Agency may have bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone as early as 2002. President Barack Obama reportedly told Merkel that he had no idea about the spying on her phone and he would have ordered it stopped had he known, according to Der Spiegel and another German daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Der Spiegel hasn’t published the story in English and Google translate doesn’t quite cut it for such a delicate issue, but Reuters publishes a summary of what’s in the story. The magazine saw an NSA Special Collection Service document that claimed the agency had a “not legally registered spying branch” in the U.S. embassy in Berlin. And U.S. authorities seemed to be well aware that if their ally Germany were to find out about the spying post it wouldn’t be very happy. But it was hardly a unique situation considering there were about 80 of these branches across the world. The one thing that is not clear from the documents Der Spiegel saw is whether the NSA officials actually listened in on Merkel’s communication or whether they used the information to build networks of contacts.
Meanwhile, Germany said it will be sending senior intelligence officials to Washington to try to figure out exactly what was done when, reports the Guardian. "We are talking to the Americans to clear things up as quickly as possible. A high-level delegation will travel for talks with the White House and National Security Agency to push forward the investigation into the recent allegations,” a German government spokesman said. Germany and Brazil are apparently working together on a U.N. resolution that would call for protecting the privacy of electronic communications.
Meanwhile, in Washington, thousands got together to protest NSA surveillance, saying lawmakers need to keep closer tabs on the agency, reports USA Today. The protesters carried signs that read "Thank you, Edward Snowden" and "No NSA mass spying," among others.
TODAY IN SLATE
Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case
The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race
How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
- Texas Lab Worker on Cruise Tests Negative for Ebola as Dallas Hospital Apologizes
- Police Use Tear Gas to Break Up College Pumpkin Festival Turned Violent
- Racist Rancher Cliven Bundy Challenges Eric Holder in Bizarre Campaign Ad
- Supreme Court Allows Texas Law That Accepts Handgun Permits but not College IDs to Vote
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.