NSA revelations damage trust between US and allies
Following revelations by the Guardian newspaper yesterday that the American National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring the telephone conversations of as many as 35 world leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande are calling for a meeting with the US before the end of the year.
Both European leaders were in Brussels yesterday and the normally urbane Angela Merkel was clearly angry by the revelations that she had been one of those leaders whose phone had been tapped.
In an article on the German government website Angela Merkel is quoted as saying “”We are allies, but such an alliance can be built only on trust.” Chancellery Minister Ronald Pofalla went on to say that the new revelations threw a completely new light on the NSA statements of the past few months and that the new allegations would have to be investigated.
When questioned in a press briefing yesterday afternoon, White house Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the president, in a telephone call with Chancellor Merkel, had made it clear that the American government “is and will not monitor the Chancellors communications”. But he refused to confirm or deny that Chancellor Merkel’s telephone conversations had been monitored in the past.
Mr Carney said that “The US gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations” but did admit that the government was “reviewing how we gather information”.
Bizarrely the main United States government website carries an advertisement for Cybersecurity Tips which reads ‘Take steps to secure your computer, smartphone and other gadgets to avoid cyber-threats’.