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Government Privacy

German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan 170

cold fjord writes: According to Foreign Policy, "The revelation that Germany spies on Turkey, a NATO member, should dispel any notion that spying on allies violates the unwritten rules of international espionage. ... For nearly a year, the extent of NSA surveillance on German leaders ... has drawn stern rebuke from the German political and media establishment. ... Merkel went so far as to publicly oust the CIA station chief in Berlin. 'Spying among friends is not at all acceptable,' Merkel said. ... [C]alls made by Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were accidentally recorded. ... 'It's a kind of delightful revelation given the fact that the Germans have been on their high horse.' Christian Whiton, a former ... State Department senior advisor, added that the report on German spying is a perfect example of why rifts over intelligence among allies should be handled quietly and privately." The Wall Street Journal adds, "Cem Özdemir, the head of the Green party and a leading German politician of Turkish descent, told Spiegel Online it would be 'irresponsible' for German spies not to target Turkey given its location as a transit country for Islamic State militants from Europe." Further details at Spiegel Online and The Wall Street Journal."
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German Intelligence Spying On Allies, Recorded Kerry, Clinton, and Kofi Annan

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  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:34PM (#47705853)

    The Speigel article states that the person responsible for making the call recordings of Clinton/Kerry and Kofi Annan was the same person the BND now believes to be a double-agent working for the US. The headline here makes it seem like the German government ordered the BND to do it, but it doesn't seem to be the case here.

  • Re:Bottom line... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:49PM (#47706013)

    ...nation states are always a bunch of hypocritical jerks.

    Oh please, don't be disingenuous. It's been well known by everybody for decades that every state in the world spies on all the other statse, and that to a certain extent, every state spies on every one of its citizens too.

    The real problem comes when a certain state is outed, and flat out lies about its domestic and international spying activities to the representants of its own people.

  • by Yokaze ( 70883 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @03:54PM (#47706057)

    Also the same article states that
    * they were not targeting either officials, but the party they were happening to call.
    * and were ordered to delete the records, as soon as the involved parties were identified.

    Sounds not quite like hiring a double-agent from an allied secret service.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @04:14PM (#47706285)
    Not quite. If you RTFA, the BND made the recordings and dutifully transcribed the calls. They got passed along to higher-ups, who once they realized who was talking ordered the transcripts be destroyed. The person believed to be a double-agent for the U.S. was responsible for destroying the transcripts, and didn't. So no, he's not responsible for making the call recording - that falls squarely in the BND's lap. He just didn't follow through on the BND's good faith effort not to spy on the U.S. (or to cover up their spying on the U.S. depending on how you want to spin it).

    It does raise questions about the allegations that he's a U.S. agent though. Why would he be so keen to keep a transcript of a call between Clinton and Kofi Anon to send back to the U.S., knowing full well that the U.S. would already know everything about that call? The only explanations I can think of are that he wasn't a double-agent as Germany is claiming (or at least not a double-agent for the U.S.), or that he was a U.S. double-agent and included that transcript to implicate Germany in case the story ever blew (which would've been remarkably far-sighted).

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre