Merkel ally says U.S. as­sur­ances on NSA spy­ing ‘in­suf­fi­cient’

Daily Trust - - WORLD -

A leading ally of An­gela Merkel has crit­i­cized the United States for fail­ing to pro­vide suf­fi­cient as­sur­ances on its spy­ing tac­tics and said bi­lat­eral talks were un­likely to make much progress be­fore the Ger­man leader vis­its Wash­ing­ton next month.

Re­ports last Oc­to­ber - based on dis­clo­sures by for­mer U.S. in­tel­li­gence con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den - that Wash­ing­ton had mon­i­tored Merkel’s mo­bile phone caused ou­trage in­Ger­many, which is par­tic­u­larly sen­si­tive about sur­veil­lance be­cause of abuses un­der the East Ger­man Stasi se­cret po­lice and the Nazis.

Berlin sub­se­quently de­manded talks with Wash­ing­ton on a “no-spy” deal, but it has be­come clear in re­cent months that the United States is un­will­ing to give the as­sur­ances Ger­many­wants.

“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.

“U.S. in­tel­li­gence meth­ods may be jus­ti­fied to a large ex­tent by se­cu­rity needs, but the tac­tics are ex­ces­sive and over-the-top,” de Maiziere added.

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 U.S. data gath­er­ing.

In Jan­uary, Obama banned U.S. eaves­drop­ping on the lead­ers of close al­lies and be­gan rein­ing in the vast collection of phone data on Amer­i­cans. But he also said U.S. in­tel­li­gence agencies would con­tinue to gather in­for­ma­tion about the in­ten­tions of other gov­ern­ments.

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