Saturday, February 8, 2014

NSA Reportedly Spied on Former German Chancellor Schroeder

At Der Spiegel, "Iraq War Critic: NSA Targeted Gerhard Schröder's Mobile Phone":

Edward Snowden appeared to come very close to announcing the news himself. During his recent interview with German public broadcaster NDR, he said: "I would suggest it seems unreasonable that if anyone was concerned about the intentions of German leadership that they would only watch Merkel and not her aides, not other prominent officials, not heads of ministries or even local government officials."

Now it appears that, in addition to eavesdropping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile communications, the National Security Agency was also eavesdropping on Gerhard Schröder's phone while he was still chancellor. On Tuesday night, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and NDR reported that Schröder had appeared on the so-called National Sigint Requirement List, a list of people and institutions named for targetting by the intelligence agency whose telephone communications should be monitored. Schröder was reportedly assigned the number "388" in 2002, if not sooner.
The reports cite unnamed US government and NSA insider sources claiming that Schröder was declared a target for monitoring because of his critical position on US preparations for a war in Iraq. A person with knowledge of the action is quoted as saying that the US had reason to believe that Schröder would not help lead the alliance toward success.

Criticism from German Government

In Germany, the revelations appeared to create new tensions in German-American relations. Speaking to SPIEGEL ONLINE, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas, of Schröder's center-left Social Democratic Party, accused the NSA of conducting indiscriminate mass surveillance. "Protecting safety appears to be a guise for the NSA to collect unlimited data," he said. "Eavesdropping on a chancellor's mobile phone in no way contributes to protecting against terrorist attacks."

Maas called for Germany to continue to push for a no-spy agreement with the US, despite resistance from Washington. "Even if it won't be easy for the Americans, we still need to continue pushing for an international agreement, because we cannot spare any effort to ensure the the data of people in Germany is better protected."

Responding to questions about the allegation that the NSA spied on Schröder, agency spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told SPIEGEL ONLINE the intelligence agency would not publicly comment on every alleged intelligence service activity...