Spying on Friends: Germany’s BND Scandal Puts Snowden Leaks in Context

The U.S. flag flies on top of the U.S. embassy in front of the German Bundestag, Berlin, Oct. 25, 2013 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).
The U.S. flag flies on top of the U.S. embassy in front of the German Bundestag, Berlin, Oct. 25, 2013 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

Two years ago, revelations that the National Security Agency had been spying on Germany’s leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, rocked the U.S-German bilateral relationship. “Hardly anything is as sensitive a subject to Merkel as the surveillance of her cellphone. It is her instrument of power,” wrote the newspaper Der Spiegel in a blockbuster story at the time, based in part on documents leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden. Merkel responded with particular anger to the allegations. “Spying among friends? That’s just not done,” she said in response to the story. “Now trust has to be rebuilt.” Merkel sent senior […]

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