Why did Merkel bother to do this?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel phoned United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss suspicions that she may have been targeted by US intelligence agencies for years, SPIEGEL has learned. The chancellor asked for a thorough explanation of serious indications that US intelligence agencies had declared her private mobile phone to be a target in their operations.

Shouldn’t she have used the phone, placed some fake information in the call, then seen what the Americans did?

15 thoughts on “Why did Merkel bother to do this?”

  1. Because presumably the Germans knew that the Americans knew that they had been rumbled. Feeding false information wouldn’t have achieved anything in that instance; whereas kicking up a diplomatic fuss may yet yield something.

  2. As terrible as the NSA spying may or may not be, I’m a bit non-plussed about the usual suspects astonishment at US spying on allies.

    Is there anyone who thinks that the French/Germans/Brits etc don’t spy on each other? If I was in charge of the Intelligence services and found out they weren’t spying on everyone I’d sack them.

  3. It makes perfect sense for the US to spy on the leaders of the EU. After all while they are military allies they are economic rivals. Boeing v Airbus etc etc. Given that Merkel is calling the shots in Brussels at the moment on account of Germany’s fat wallet of course the NSA will be spying on her and all the other leaders of major countries

  4. It would have been a domestic disaster if this had come out in the press without either preaction or prevenge from Merkel. “Yes but we were doing some secret squirrel in reverse” would not have worked. It would have been so serious it could even have brought down the non-government, that current non-government being another reason for it to happen the way it did – there just isn’t a government around to make considered choices at the moment.

  5. I like Tim’s suggestion.

    If I were Frau Merkel, I’d have staged a phone call saying the Nobel prize committee were going to give Obama a surprise award for Coolest President Ever at the next G20 summit.

    Then, when Obama turned up with his best suit on and a speech prepared, just carry on as normal and he’d be wondering “where’s my award?” but unable to ask.

  6. I love this story. Politicians who think it is OK to monitor the emails and phonecalls and web browsing habits of everyone in the EU gets hot under the collar when someone does it to them.

  7. @Interested, it should be obvious to anyone who can use google that I meant the other. Even has a timestamp.

  8. The disgusting thing about this is she seems so concerned that the US is listening to *her* phone calls – not so much that my government is listening to the phone calls of the rest of her country.

  9. Offshore Observer
    October 24, 2013 at 10:20 am
    “It makes perfect sense for the US to spy on the leaders of the EU. After all while they are military allies they are economic rivals. Boeing v Airbus etc etc. Given that Merkel is calling the shots in Brussels at the moment on account of Germany’s fat wallet of course the NSA will be spying on her and all the other leaders of major countries”

    Here’s my problem with that line of thinking – here in the US we have a short (non-inclusive) list of *human* rights the government is supposed to respect. I say human rights because those rights are tied to your status as a human being and do not derive from government privilege. As such, the USG should not be violating these rights just because someone is outside the country or is not a citizen.

    Blanket warrants or warrantless surveillance should not be acceptable to us just because the subject of the surveillance is a foreigner. If we *actually* lived by the laws we’ve written then much of this abuse would not exist.

  10. @ Agammamon
    Firstly, how about remembering how “mammon” is spelled if you want to merge mammon with Agamemnon and secondly, how about thinking about the appalling incompetence of Agamemnon’s siege which allowed the Trojans to eat for ten years when the besiegers should have cut them off from all external food supplies millennia before the invention of freezers?
    Thirdly, getting to the point: Frau Merkel may not want a third world war so she is giving Obama an escape route.
    “Human rights” are not just an invention but involve a contradiction: anyone capable of ‘O’ level Geometry will understand that no “rights” can exist without a matching duty but many of the so-called rights contradict each other (e.g. freedom of expression and the right not to be abused)

  11. Human rights”…. involve a contradiction: anyone capable of ‘O’ level Geometry will understand that no “rights” can exist without a matching duty but many of the so-called rights contradict each other (e.g. freedom of expression and the right not to be abused)

    nonsense.

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