In the latest fallout from the NSA being caught red-handed spying on the innocent civilian populations and leaders of close U.S. allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is outraged at the U.S. for tapping her cell phone. The New York Times reports:
Ms. Merkel herself angrily demanded assurances from President Obama that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap as soon as suspicions surfaced on Wednesday. Washington hastily pledged that her calls were not being monitored and would not be in future but conspicuously said nothing about the past.From The Guardian:
Germany's foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, has called the US ambassador to a personal meeting to discuss allegations that US secret services bugged Angela Merkel's mobile phone.For the second time in two days, the U.S. is paying a high price for the NSA's dragnet "collect the whole haystack to find the needle" approach to surveillance:
. . .
Informed sources in Germany said Merkel was livid about the reports that the NSA had bugged her phone and was convinced, on the basis of a German intelligence investigation, that the reports were utterly substantiated.
Ms. Merkel’s angry call to Mr. Obama was the second time in 48 hours – after a similar furor in France prompted Mr. Obama to call President François Hollande — that the president found himself on the phone with a close European ally to argue that continuing revelations of invasive intelligence gathering should not undermine decades of hard-won trans-Atlantic trust.
France and Germany join Mexico and Brazil in the outrage over NSA surveillance:
The damage to core American relationships continues to mount. Last month, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil postponed a state visit to the United States after Brazilian news media reports — fed by material from Mr. Greenwald — that the N.S.A. had intercepted messages from Ms. Rousseff, her aides and the state oil company, Petrobras. Recently, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which has said it has a stack of Snowden documents, suggested that United States intelligence had gained access to communications to and from President Felipe Calderón of Mexico while he was still in office.Not to mention Bolivia, which had its President's life put in danger when the U.S. forced his plane down while hunting for whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Meanwhile, reports of the usefulness of the surveillance in thwarting terrorist attacks have proven to be greatly exaggerated if not completely fabricated.
For those of us as outraged about dragnet secret surveillance as the leaders of Brazil, Mexico, France and Germany, the Stop Watching Us coalition of privacy and civil liberties advocacy groups is hosting a Rally Against Mass Surveillance in Washington, D.C. this Saturday, October 26, 2013 from noon until 3:00 pm. Details are available here.
Marchers will gather in front of Union Station at 11:30 a.m. by the Christopher Columbus Memorial Fountain in Columbus Circle. Shortly after noon we’ll march to the National Mall at 3rd Street and Madison Dr. NW, in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool, where there will be a stage set up for our rally speakers, musicians, and performers.Speakers include Congressman Justin Amash, whose amendment to end blanket domestic surveillance nearly passed the House earlier this year, and my client, former senior NSA executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake. The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a PSA in anticipation of Saturday's rally featuring Drake, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, AT&T Whistleblower Mark Klein, and another of NSA whistleblower client, J. Kirk Wiebe.
EFF's PSA features whistleblowers because without whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, Drake, and Wiebe, the NSA would still be conducting illegal, wasteful surveillance without public debate or reform. In a massive failure of logic, countless government officials, including President Obama himself and even those who are rightfully advocating reform, praise the public debate about surveillance and reform efforts while condemning the whistleblower who sparked the debate, calling him a "traitor" and supporting his prosecution under the heavy-handed Espionage Act. Government officials who take on the debate or support reform efforts should not condemn the whistleblowers whose disclosures jump-started the movement against mass surveillance. Considering what we know about the surveillance state thanks to whistleblowers, the country cannot afford for the next whistleblower to stay silent out of fear.