German spy chiefs to head to US over snooping row

Angela MerkelVoice of Russia

German spy chiefs will travel to the United States next week to demand answers following allegations that US intelligence has been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, as a row over US snooping threatened to hurt transatlantic ties.

Documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden showing sweeping US surveillance on ordinary citizens’ Internet searches and telephone records have already sparked outrage worldwide.  

But the furore has intensified after allegations that world leaders including the presidents of Brazil and Mexico have been among spying targets.

This week, the scandal widened to Europe, with allegations that Merkel’s phone was being tapped, prompting Berlin to summon the US ambassador – a highly unusual move between the close allies.

Meanwhile, several thousand protesters gathered in Washington to call for new US legislation to curb the NSA’s activities and improve privacy.

Twenty one countries participate in talks over a draft UN General Resolution aimed at holding back US government surveillance, reports The Foreign policy.

The effort in UN by Brazil and Germany to restrain NSA was supported by 19 more countries. for example by Venezuela, Cuba and such traditional US allies as France and Mexico. Close American allies like France and Mexico – as well as rivals like Cuba and Venezuela – are all part of the talks. Other participating countries are Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway, Paraguay, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Uruguay.

The Foreign policy obtained a copy of the draft. It calls on states “to respect and ensure the respect for the rights” to privacy, including the privacy on the Internet, as enshrined in the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, including It also calls on states “to take measures to put an end to violations of these rights” and to “review their procedures, practices and legislation regarding the extraterritorial surveillance of private communications and interception of personal data of citizens in foreign jurisdictions with a view towards upholding the right to privacy.”

You can read the UN draft in full here.

The draft does not refer to US spying revelations made by former US contractor Edward Snowden but according to The Foreign policy it was clear that the leaks provided the political momentum to trigger the move to the UN.

The push marks the first major international effort to curb the NSA’s vast surveillance network.

Germany and Brazil are drafting a UN General Assembly resolution that would demand an end to excessive spying and invasion of privacy after a former US intelligence contractor revealed massive international surveillance programs, UN diplomats said on Friday.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned the widespread snooping by the US National Security Agency.

Charges that the NSA accessed tens of thousands of French phone records and monitored Merkel’s mobile phone have caused outrage in Europe. Germany said on Friday it would send its top intelligence chiefs to Washington next week to seek answers from the White House.

In response to the disclosures about US spying, many of which came from fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the German and Brazilian UN delegations have begun work on a draft resolution to submit to the 193-nation General Assembly, several UN diplomats told Reuters.

“This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA (General Assembly), since no one likes the NSA spying on them,” a Western UN diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, unlike resolutions of the 15-nation Security Council. But assembly resolutions that enjoy broad international support can carry significant moral and political weight.

Merkel demanded on Thursday that Washington strike a “no-spying” agreement with Berlin and Paris by the end of the year, adding she wanted action from President Barack Obama, not just apologetic words.

Last month, Rousseff used her position as the opening speaker at the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders to accuse the United States of violating human rights and international law through espionage that included spying on her email.

Rousseff also expressed her displeasure by calling off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for this month over reports that the NSA had been spying on Brazil.

Voice of Russia, AFP, Foreign Policy, Reuters
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3 thoughts on “German spy chiefs to head to US over snooping row

  1. Ooooh…. a gang of German spies are coming here to “demand answers”.

    Stop the BS and send ’em all to the guillotine; their spies and ours. We’ll get all the answers we need by interrogating their severed heads.

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