NSA spies on German head of gov’t

COMMENTARY BY
RUTH DAVID

Notorious former NSA employee Edward Snowden was the first to release the news — the NSA has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel since 2002. Recent reports from CNN, The Guardian and Fox News confirmed the news. Merkel’s cell phone conversations were indeed being tapped for the last 11 years.
Once she found out on Oct. 23, Merkel was understandably furious. She called Obama personally, and he said that he had no idea it had even been going on. According to multiple CNN news reports, Obama is not a part of NSA decisions, nor does he order such surveillance. He also told Merkel this surveillance on her would stop immediately, Merkel said.
Since it was revealed that she has been spied on, people from all around the world have expressed their outrage. Representatives from Germany and Brazil have called on the United Nations to pass legislation to protect their citizens from foreign spying. Brazil has not been happy with the U.S. since Snowden released documents showing Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her advisers were also being spied on by the NSA in September. Simply put, the U.S. is burning bridges.
However, the main controversy in this situation is the question of if the U.S. was wrong for spying on an ally and friend. Many say that there should be a limit, a line a country does not cross when it comes to that. What good can come from spying on someone who has been an ally for years? What if that person finds out? But it should come as no shock that the NSA is watching our allies, friends and everyone else in between. Enemies come in all shapes and sizes, and often they are usually the ones closest to you. As the United States stands, there are many countries that do not like us, and it is not hard to see why. We invade, lie, spy and do everything all in the name of democracy. We are the policemen of the world.
The surveillance, however rude it might seem, definitely fits into the safety of the country. We have not always had amazing relations with Germany, and who knows if we will have problems with the country again. A ruling country must always be one step ahead, and though unfortunate, spying is the best way to do that. It is naïve to say that Germany has never spied on us or other countries. It would be even more naïve to think that every big European country is not spying on the others. Allies or not, it is crucial to know what is going on in the minds of all foreign leaders. Not only that, but I highly doubt the NSA just picked Germany out of a hat — there is always more to the story. That is not to downplay it. It sounds awful and like a great breach of privacy because it is. However, this is the game of politics. Every country plays it, whether the nations want to admit it or not.

contact the writer:
ruth.david@scranton.edu

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