Sunday, April 6, 2014

Germany: Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere Unlikely to Fully Trust US in Future

According to Reuters,  a leading ally in Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, has criticized the US for failing to provide sufficient assurances on its spying tactics and said bilateral talks were unlikely to make much progress prior to the German leader's visit to Washington next month.

Reports in October 2013, based on disclosures by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, that Washington had monitored Merkel's mobile phone caused outrage in Germany, which is particularly sensitive about governmental surveillance because of abuses under the East German Stasi secret police, not to mention the Nazis.

Berlin subsequently demanded talks with Washington on a "no-spy" agreement, but it has become clear in recent months that the US is unwilling to give the assurances that Germany wants.

"The information we have so far is insufficient," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, one of Merkel's closest cabinet allies, told German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

COMMENT: "US intelligence methods may be justified to a large extent by security needs, but the tactics are excessive and over-the-top," de Maiziere emphasized.

Asked if he expected progress before Merkel pays a visit to President Barack Obama in early May, de Maiziere said: "My expectations of what further talks will yield are low."

Obama visited Europe late last month, saying one of his aims was to reassure allies that he was acting to meet their concerns on the scope of US data gathering.

Sadly for the US, and fortunately for Germany's aggressive media organizations, particularly DER SPIEGEL, Germany is understandably suspicious of Washington and may never fully trust the Americans again. 

In January 2014, Obama banned US eavesdropping on the leaders of close allies and began reining in the vast collection of phone data on Americans, but only after Washington "got caught with its pants down."

Needless to say, it may take years, if not decades, for Germany to fully trust US diplomats and intelligence services in the near term.

What President Barack Obama has not yet learned in its bilateral relations with Germany is that by not agreeing to a "no-spy" agreement with Chancellor Merkel, Washington seems unwilling to not stop spying on trusted allies.

As Frederich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)  once said:

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”