NSA Spying Scandal: EU Sends Team To U.S. To Seek Response To Allegations
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A delegation of lawmakers from the European Union will travel to Washington on Monday to seek a response to allegations of widespread spying by the United States against EU citizens and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The three-day visit by members of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee follows reports this week that the U.S. National Security Agency accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel's mobile phone.
The revelations have drawn condemnation from EU leaders meeting in Brussels, with Merkel demanding that the United States sign up to a "no-spying" agreement with Germany and France by the end of the year, in line with similar deals with Britain and others.
The nine-member delegation will meet senior U.S. government and intelligence officials and explore "possible legal remedies for EU citizens" resulting from the alleged surveillance, although it is not clear what such remedies might entail.
The European Parliament has already opened an inquiry into the impact on Europe from leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and has led a push for tougher data protection rules and the suspension of a major transatlantic data-sharing deal.
"A key priority for this inquiry is to gather all relevant information and evidence from U.S. sources, which is why this fact-finding delegation to Washington is so important," Claude Moraes, a British socialist lawmaker who is leading the parliamentary inquest, said in a statement.
The European Parliament, with 766 members directly elected from the EU's 28 member states, this week voted in favor of an amended package of laws that would greatly strengthen EU data protection rules that date from 1995.
The rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Facebook, Yahoo! and Google is shared with non-EU countries, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers.
Fearing that the rules, if adopted, will raise the cost of handling data in Europe, major U.S. technology companies and the U.S. government have lobbied hard against the proposals, which the backers hope may become law during 2015.
I'm loving this. We deserved to be bitch-slapped by the world for allowing the NSA free-reign to invade everyone's communications. Snowden needs to win Man of the Year.
Though I am a Democrat, and I still like President Obama, I must admit that, in matters of foreign affairs, warfare, and civil liberties, OBAMA IS AS BAD AS BUSH. It is as if he (and John Kerry) was hypnotized by the military-industrial complex on his first day in office.
Oh please people. The NSA was on record as spying on everyone in works published in the 1970s. All these people, including Angela Merkel, rose in politics assuming the USA was monitoring everything she did. Indeed, she probably thinks her rise was impossible without US covert help.
It's the Euro public which didn't realize it and is now just cluing in.
See, I've always assumed that countries spied on each other. I mean, just because the Cold War ended doesn't mean that spycraft stopped. It seems incredibly naïve or disingenuous for the EU to act shocked that there is "gambling in Casablanca".
That said, I'm glad the NSA is getting their ass handed to them.
"The Puzzle Palace" was one book about NSA spying back in the day.
German intelligence was clearly involved in the Oklahoma City bombing (McVeigh and Nichols had met with a German agent at Elohim City) so they really shouldn't be opening this can of worms.
Not to mention their obvious efforts to assassinate popes in 1978.
Europeans probably regret giving Barry O. the Nobel Peace Prize, so early in his presidency.
Europeans and smart Americans have known what the NSA was up to for over 30 years.
Germans, I dare say, have a permanent team at NSA getting intercepts.
As if the French and the Germans aren't doing the same thing? PUHLEESE!
[quote]As if the French and the Germans aren't doing the same thing? PUHLEESE!
So you think the French and Germans bugged Obamas phone? And the evidence of this is....?
How many Americans is he spying on?
It's not that likely R13, because they can probably get intercepts from their staff who are permanently located at the NSA.
We planned the menu weeks in advance because we knew they were coming before they did.
Janbot, we know who you are.
It's all political theater. They know the US and UK spy on them and share intelligence. And Germany and France spy too.
This is how National Socialism comes to "The Beacon of Freedom"- the Nazi's would be proud!
Wow. I don't know that I've ever f&f'd so many posters in such a short thread. Loons and freepers and frothers, oh my.
The Germans have evidence of this tap beginning in 2002 (at least that's the earliest date I've seen claimed). Obviously, the US, Germany and most other developed nations have been spying on each since long before then.
However, this is what they are fussing about now, the tap beginning in 2002. I believe that Mr. Obama was NOT president at that time, it was Mr. Bush. I hope the Germans enjoy their time with him in Texas and, of course, their time questioning Darth Cheney about this.
As if spying on the leaders of Germany, France, Spain, Mexico and Brazil are not bad enough, the NSA also spied on the pope.
The New York Times says the US has an agreement with four other countries not to spy on them (and vice-versa) that's call The Five Eyes - Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
An agreement nobody has adhered to. Even I ran into British agents back in the day, trying to stop the IRA in America.
Ahhhh, I get it.
R20 is pissed that Obama is just as bad as Bush when it comes to spying!
r23, that was also a "Great Game".
The British government penetrated the IRA from the beginning. At one point the Provo security chief was a plant.
The only reason it was allowed to go on was the number of prominent UK Catholic families who supported it. It was well-known that many Americans like the Kennedys also financed it.
There are only two types of countries in the world, those who are spying on all the other countries and those who wish they could figure out how to spy on all the other countries.
That is why it baffles me when people want to give the government MORE power when it is abusing the power it already has.
Also when they were looking for Jimmy Smith R26.
And for some reason they thought Corning Glass was involved and that a bunch of dumpy western east towns like Elmira, Warren-PA, Erie, and Youngstown held the backbone.
Some countries are not worth spying on.
What R18 said. They all spy on each other. Besides, the EU can whine all they want, but they still want the US "on that wall." So does China.
These countries who whine about the US' power and stomp their little feet and pout about the US still want this country taking the lead when there's a mess in the world because the rest of them don't want that responsibility and also know they can't handle it.
And, really, the last century has certainly shown us that we have no reason to spy on Germany, right?
Like I said, countries are either spying on everyone or wishing they could.
r32, I thought the tacit agreement was for foreign policy/security issues.
The business espionage is not cricket.
UPDATE 2-Europe's spies work together on mass surveillance - Guardian 12:10am IST
By Estelle Shirbon
LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Spy agencies across Western Europe are working together on mass surveillance of Internet and phone traffic comparable to programmes run by their U.S. counterpart denounced by European governments, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday.
Citing documents leaked by fugitive former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the Guardian said methods included tapping into fibre optic cables and working covertly with private telecommunications companies.
The Guardian named Germany, France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands as countries where intelligence agencies had been developing such methods in cooperation with counterparts including Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ.
The report is potentially embarrassing for governments, especially in Germany and France which have been the most vocal in protesting about U.S. mass surveillance of European communication networks revealed by Snowden since June.
Germany, jointly with Brazil, circulated a draft resolution to a U.N. General Assembly committee on Friday that called for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and other gross invasions of privacy.
There has been particular anger in Germany, a close ally of the United States, over the revelation that the NSA monitored the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Snowden has written an open letter to Merkel and other German authorities to say he is counting on international support to stop Washington's "persecution" of him.
Germany's BND federal intelligence service said there had been considerations in 2008 about merging German security services' surveillance of telecommunications, which would have required changes to telecommunication and security laws.
It said it had exchanged experiences with the British services on this in 2008 but these discussions had focussed on technical rather than legal issues. The BND added that it regularly held such exchanges on technical developments with other European services.
"It is incorrect that Germany's BND federal intelligence service tried to circumvent legal restrictions to be able to implement British acquisition technology. On this point too the BND complied with the law," a BND spokesman said.
The Guardian said GCHQ files leaked by Snowden showed the British agency taking credit for advising European counterparts on how to get around domestic laws intended to restrict their surveillance powers.
"HUGE TECHNOLOGICAL POTENTIAL"
Citing a 2008 GCHQ country-by-country report, the Guardian said the British spies were particularly impressed with Germany's BND agency, which they said had "huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the Internet".
"We have been assisting the BND ... in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany," the GCHQ document said, according to the Guardian.
The GCHQ had also praised France's DGSE agency and in particular its close ties with an unnamed telecommunications company, a relationship from which GCHQ hoped to benefit.
"We have made contact with the DGSE's main industry partner, who has some innovative approaches to some Internet challenges, raising the potential for GCHQ to make use of this company in the protocol development arena," the report said.
There was similar analysis of the intelligence agencies in Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands, with Spain's CNI praised for its ties with an unnamed British telecommunications firm and Sweden's FRA congratulated over a law passed in 2008 that widened surveillance powers.
Asked about the Guardian's report, Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) said it was natural that it had contacts with similar organisations in other countries.
FRA spokesman Fredrik Wallin said
Ah. Just as several people in this thread (including me) said earlier - everybody is spying on everybody else. They've been at it for decades - actually for centuries but in the modern era we'll go with decades.
The children who are jumping up and down in faux outrage over this (or in the even sadder real outrage) need to grow the fuck up. We spy, they spy, spying happens. It's a fact of life and nothing to freak out about.
If everyone decided to jump off a bridge, would you?
If everyone decided to murder gays, would you just shrug your shoulders and say "meh", what can I do?
People like r35 want us to think that all the governments are on par with one another, with equal access to information and technology. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Uraguay, for example, wants to be on equal footing with the US, what options do they have? It'd be MUCH, MUCH harder for them to spy on Obama than vice versa.
If Uruguay wants espionage parity, it should ally with Brazil and/or Argentina and pool information.
r38, the US spends more on military than nearly the rest of the world combined. So that's still not parity.
Uruguay is not owed parity, r39. Smaller, weaker countries ally with other countries. They trade information and make defense agreements. That's nothing new.
r40, you still don't get it. Uruguay could ally with Brazil, Argentina, Chile and ALL OF EUROPE and still not be on par with the US for resources. Not you getting it?
That would be okay by me, r41. It isn't true, but I don't mind being powerful.
These kids don't actually want to learn anything or understand how politics (both global and domestic) actually function. If they acknowledge how the world really works, they might have to grow up and deal with it.
They get their satisfaction from bitching and whining about how THE UNITED STATES IS WORSE THAN ANY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD and AMERICANS ARE WORSE PEOPLE THAN EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD. They probably use those as personal mantras for anti-meditation sessions.
To see things clearly, rationally and with an intelligent, informed, historically accurate, adult perspective just isn't their thing. Whining and hysterical carping at the United States is their thing, god forbid they get a job. Their parents must be so proud.
So r42 do you have any inkling of an idea why other countries would resent being spied on without the ability to spy on the US? And unless you're living in a vacuum, you'd have to realize there'd be ways they could retaliate, militarily, economically and politically. Remember that, the next time we start a war and only the UK shows up to support us.
And the US has to balance that resentment against the value of that spying. If you think the US is calculating this badly, please tell your congressman.
r45, trillions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of deaths and injuries, and you think the US MAY be "calculating this badly"?
No, r46, I think YOU think the US may be calculating this badly.
STAY THE COURSE! STAY THE COURSE! Victory is right around the corner!
R48, I've argued with tea partiers on other sites, and they pull the same crap you do. Hyperbole verging on hysterical overstatement plus making up positions I'm supposed to hold.
r49, you've got the very same "my country right or wrong" that tea partiers have. Learn to THINK and REASON instead just following the herd.
I can't understand why you're bickering.
The US should not be spying on anyone. Spying leads to counter spying. Murder leads to counter murder.
The fact that theUS has the biggest spy complex on the planet should scare any citizen that cares about freedom.
When the Republican thugs take the White House and congress again and use the Internet to imprison or harass anyone who dissents, you will wish Obomber had shut down the "Security Surveillance State" instead of expanding it and handing those powers to a (R)!!!
Who cares? And the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all host major NSA installations on our behalf and do our bidding. Which is not a secret.
R51, that's like arguing that we should get rid of our military because all it does is make other countries feel like they need a military.
The truth is that there has been spying since eyeballs evolved. Krugg and Lugg were peeping at each other in their caves. Your view of the world is very simplistic. Can't we all just get along will never ever work as long as there are human beings involved.