Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Germany: Chancellor Merkel Warns Nations Who Spy on Their Allies Risk Destroying Trust

According to The Associated Press, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Wednesday (January 29) that countries who spy on their allies risk destroying trust, resulting in less rather than enhanced security.
The US says its surveillance programs are focused on threats to national security, including terrorism, but conveniently omitted incidents of  economic espionage against trusted allies including Chancellor Merkel, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and numerous other trusted allies in Europe.

Merkel used her inaugural address to Parliament after her re-election to slam the US and the United Kingdom over their spy programs. Among the allegations to surface from secret US government documents released by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden last year (2013) are that friendly countries and their leaders--including Merkel--have been the target of electronic eavesdropping.
"Actions where the ends justify the means, where everything that is technically possible is done, harms trust," Merkel said. "It sows distrust. In the end there will be less, not more, security."
COMMENT: Chancellor Merkel said her government felt a responsibility to protect the privacy rights of its citizens, too. Yet, she rejected calls to pressure Washington into signing a "no spy" agreement between the two countries by suspending trade talks between the US and the EU. 
Merkel also said despite the recent friction, the "trans-Atlantic partnership remains of outstanding importance….Germany cannot wish for a better partner than the United States of America," she said.
Merkel has accepted an invitation from US President Barack Obama to visit Washington in the coming months, though no date has been set. Her spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters Wednesday that the spying issue would be discussed during the visit.