Taking the Merkel?

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It has been revealed this week that the Americans and their spying techniques have pushed the limit. Leaders from around the world have had their phones bugged by American intelligence agencies; one of the most prominent response has been from the German chancellor Angela Merkel. Have America pushed it too far?

A diplomatic rift has occurred this week due to the revelation that Angela Merkel’s phone has been bugged, and it has been revealed that she is just one of the many world leaders that have been targeted by the American intelligence. This has severed trust towards America and its intentions on an international scale. The bugging of phones has been seen by many as a breach of human rights, and completely unacceptable, especially towards international allies.

The truth of the American intelligence and its surveillance came out earlier this year by whistle blower Edward Snowden, who is still avoiding American extradition in Russia. Snowden announced to the world the many aspects of spying in the American intelligence service, (for more on Snowden, please see our article here) and this latest fiasco involving Merkel has seen the German government offer a welcoming hand to the whistle blower and the information he has, revealing that Angela Merkel’s phone has been bugged for over a decade and only stopped four months ago. The German government is in the process of sending over German intelligence to Washington, but it is clear that the relationship between America and Germany is deteriorating. In the words of Angela Merkel at a European Summit: ‘Spying on friends is really not on’. The German leading lady is said to be furious with the actions of the American intelligence, and along with other leaders has called for a drafting of an ‘anti-spy’ resolution at the United Nations. The idea is to build an agreement that America will somewhat ‘behave itself’.

So what does this mean for America? The US this week has received vast disapproval and outrage on both an international and national scale, John Kerry Secretary of State ‘acknowledged this week that in some cases, U.S spying had gone too far’. It would seem that the National Security Agency has breached the trust of various world leaders. America has somewhat denied that phones have been bugged on an international scale, Barack Obama, in the limelight due to these spying theories, denies all knowledge of the phone bugging. U.S Senate Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein stated: ‘It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002’. This has to be seen as a major problem. Obama should be aware of American intelligence and its means, especially if it breaches the trust of world leaders who are supposed to be allies.

The U.S intelligence service has attempted to defend itself this week after the back lash of the phone bugging, Gen Alexander the director of the National Security Agency, claiming: ‘It is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a programme that would result in this nation being attacked’. From this statement it can be argued that America may be causing more issues and international hostility than defending itself and its security. Is this more than spying? Could it be defined as large scale espionage?

America has many questions to answer and many relationships to prepare.. who knows what American intelligence secrets might be revealed. The effects of bugging Angela Merkel’s phone has deeply affected German-American relations, but to what degree? Can this relationship be rebuilt? Or further destroyed? Only time will tell. The calling for an anti-spy draft resolution shows the beginning of tackling privacy in this new age of technology, and proves the seriousness of upset and the diplomatic rift that American intelligence tactics have caused. The saying goes “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. America has some learning to do.

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