Now, the Angela Merkel (and near-about everybody else on the planet) episode.
Mark Urban at the BBC summed up this farce of ‘intelligence’ theater: Perhaps Kafka rather than Orwell provides the better literary template for this ongoing story.
(Illustration found here).
In June, on the fly in Hong Kong, Eddie Snowden let go some documents that opened up a can of naked worms. Starting with first little turd-bomb (the NSA was collecting telephone records of millions of Americans) to this week and the tapping of Merkel’s cellphone (and supposedly 34 other heads of state), and at least in Merkel’s case, have/had been doing so since at least 2002. Notwithstanding, the vacuum-up record-collecting of ordinary Germans, French, Italian, Spanish and others in the European theater.
Reportedly, President Obama knew of the Merkel shit since 2010: “Obama, according to the NSA man, did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about the German.”
The NSA cried that’s bullshit.
Yet, this could be the linchpin.
Gwynne Dyer hopefully thinks the legalities of spying/lying could be the NSA’s undoing:
The ridiculous thing about these meticulously crafted pseudo-denials is that they leave a truth-shaped hole for everyone to see.
Of course the United States has been listening to Angela Merkel’s phone calls since 2002, and of course Obama knew about it.
It would have been quite easy to deny those facts if they were not true.
The NSA is completely out of control.
Its German outpost was brazenly located on the fourth floor of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, and leaked documents published by Der Spiegel say that the NSA maintains similar operations in 80 other U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
The NSA’s worst abuse has been its violation of the privacy of hundreds of millions of private citizens at home and abroad, but it’s the pressure from furious foreign leaders that will finally force the US government to act.
“Trust in our ally the USA has been shattered,” said German interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich on Sunday.
“If the Americans have tapped mobile phones in Germany, then they have broken German law on German soil.”
This most-recent escapade has even miffed full-blown NSA toady, Dianne Feinstein, who felt the blast of cold lying air, and has somewhat changed her tune.
Two weeks ago, Feinstein doggedly defended the various NSA techniques: “The NSA call-records program is working and contributing to our safety. It is legal and it is subject to strict oversight and thorough judicial review,”
And today (via Time): Feinstein said “the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed” of the NSA’s policy of spying on allied leaders and that “a total review of all intelligence programs” is in order.
Obama’s White House might be in for some rumble — supposedly all that kind of spying ended last summer.
Maybe sometime in early summer?
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones figured it this way:
Here’s my guess at a timeline: (1) Snowden documents are released starting in early June.
(2) NSA starts damage assessment in mid June.
(3) They decide that monitoring of foreign leaders is probably going to be outed, so they tell the White House, which cuts off the program.
(4) The White House can now truthfully say that the monitoring was cut off “this summer.”
Obama might more than feel Angela’s distress in the next few whenever.