France, Germany Want To Set New Rules For Surveillance

By October 25, 2013NPR News
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) talks with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on the second day of an European Council meeting in Brussels on Friday. John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) talks with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on the second day of an European Council meeting in Brussels on Friday. John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

This post was updated at 10:15 a.m.

A day after reports surfaced that the NSA may have spied on dozens of world leaders, France and Germany are offering to hold talks with the U.S. to establish new rules on surveillance.

“What is at stake is preserving our relations with the United States,” French President Francois Hollande said at an EU summit in Brussels, according to The Associated Press.

Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined other European leaders Friday in releasing a statement expressing concern about the latest allegations of U.S. spying and declaring that such practice could damage relations with Washington.

In the statement — which follows a report in The Guardian newspaper that the U.S. National Security Agency monitored the calls of 35 heads of state — the EU sought to underscore “the close relationship between Europe and the USA and the value of that partnership.” It also stressed that intelligence-gathering “is a vital element in the fight against terrorism.”

However, the leaders said, “a lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence-gathering.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cellphone may have been tapped according to the U.K. newspaper, said the alleged spying had sown “the seeds of mistrust.”

“[It] doesn’t facilitate our cooperation… it makes it more difficult,” she said.

NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Berlin that EU leaders say they are seeking “mutually agreed upon rules of surveillance” and that they are also “considering a suspension of an agreement that allows the U.S. to track the finances of terrorist groups.”

The revelations stem from documents sourced to U.S. whistleblower and former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. The Guardian also reports that the NSA has collected 70 million phone records in France.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post suggests there might be yet another shoe to drop. The newspaper reported late Thursday that U.S. officials are warning some foreign intelligence services that Snowden had in his possession “sensitive material about collection programs against adversaries such as Iran, Russia and China.”

The Post, quoting unnamed officials, writes:

“The process of informing officials in capital after capital about the risk of disclosure is delicate. In some cases, one part of the cooperating government may know about the collaboration while others — such as the foreign ministry — may not, the officials said. The documents, if disclosed, could compromise operations, officials said.

“In one case, for instance, the files contain information about a program run from a NATO country against Russia that provides valuable intelligence for the U.S. Air Force and Navy, said one U.S. official, who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing criminal investigation. Snowden faces theft and espionage charges.

” ‘If the Russians knew about it, it wouldn’t be hard for them to take appropriate measures to put a stop to it,’ the official said.”

In an editorial published late Thursday in USA Today, Lisa Monaco, an assistant to President Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism, acknowledged that the rash of disclosures about U.S. intelligence gathering activities in recent months had “created significant challenges in our relationships with some of our closest foreign partners.”

Monaco writes:

“No one disputes the need for careful, thorough intelligence gathering. Nor is it a secret that we collect information about what is happening around the world to help protect our citizens, our allies and our homeland. So does every intelligence service in the world.

“Going forward, we will continue to gather the information we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe, while giving even greater focus to ensuring that we are balancing our security needs with the privacy concerns all people share.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Read original article – Published October 25, 2013 6:59 AM
France, Germany Want To Set New Rules For Surveillance

Recent headlines

  • Regulators to hold hearing in Juneau over garbage contract transfer

    Juneau residents will have a rare opportunity this week to sound off over trash service. The company that runs curbside pick up has been acquired by Waste Connections, a Canada-based business with customers in 39 states and five provinces.
  • A few of the couple thousand walrus hauled out at Cape Grieg north of Ugashik Bay in June 2016. Alaska Department of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say the walrus are back this year, but have not said yet how many. (Photo by KDLG)

    Cape Greig walrus are back; Fish and Game plans change fishery boundary again

    The Department of Fish and Game will pull the north line of the Ugashik District back away from the haulout site again, Salomone said, the same as last year. The exact coordinates will be published with the first announcement from Fish and Game about June 1.
  • Navy to scan Kodiak waters for WWII explosives

    The Navy will scan Kodiak and Unalaska waters for World War II-era munitions using underwater drones next month, as part of an ongoing effort to eventually remove the explosives. What could happen and whether the historic weapons would detonate is unclear.
  • A blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, engulfs krill off the coast of California. (Photo courtesy Silverback Films/BBC/Proceedings of the Royal Society B)

    How the biggest animal on Earth got so big

    Whales might be the largest animals on the planet, but they haven't always been so huge. Researchers say the ocean giants only became enormous fairly recently, and over a short period of time.
X