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After NSA Spying Flap, Germany Asks CIA Station Chief to Depart

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the wir-werden-wissen dept.

Government 219

The Washington Post reports that Gemany's government has asked the CIA station chief in that country to leave. From the article, which points out the move comes after several high-profile instances of U.S. spying on German citiens, including Chancellor Angela Merkl:. "A day earlier, federal prosecutors in Germany said police had searched the office and apartment of an individual with ties to the German military who is suspected of working for U.S. intelligence. Those raids followed the arrest of an employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence service who was accused of selling secrets to the CIA. ... For years, Germany has sought to be included in a group of countries with which the United States has a non-espionage pact. Those nations include Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The Obama administration and that of George W. Bush both resisted such entreaties, in part because many U.S. intelligence officials believe that there are too many areas where German and U.S. security interests diverge."

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Why (5, Funny)

rock56501 (1301287) | about 2 months ago | (#47426559)

Why didn't we steal something useful, like their plans/strategy for world cup?

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426591)

If you think stealing their strategy would have given USA any chances, I have an almost not used bridge to sell you... toll booth goes on the house.

ahh typical dumb american (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426641)

laughing they are being fuck in the butthole by the NSA, simple brushing it off with a joke about some stupid ass sport that means absolutely nothing.

you sure are a dumb motherfucker

Re:ahh typical dumb american (0)

rock56501 (1301287) | about 2 months ago | (#47426809)

Didn't know that I had to include a /sarcasm tag for you to understand sarcasm.

Re:ahh typical dumb american (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427133)

Online sarcasm was deprecated in 1986. Please read the manual, and get off the lawn!

Re:ahh typical dumb american (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 months ago | (#47427831)

Or in the imperative the CIA has been made to understand: RAUS!

Re:Why (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427141)

Head coach of USMNT is Jürgen Klinsmann, a German national. If anyone had access to the secrets of the World Cup, he had it. And why was the NSA not spying on him to help confirm his loyalty to the US on this important matter?

Not really a surprise.... (1)

StirlingArcher (3463961) | about 2 months ago | (#47426565)

...is it?

Re:Not really a surprise.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426597)

Nope. Germany doesn't have any problems with spying (as they do it on their own citizens), they're just butthurt to not be let into the clubhouse.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 2 months ago | (#47426707)

Actually, Germany has a problem with spying on their own citizens, as this was declared illegal by the European Court of Justice.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427435)

No they don't. If they did they wouldn't be using the NSA as an intelligence source on their citizens. Other than a semantics game there is no real difference.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47427609)

Yes, but also this is a meaningless move by Germany in the real sense of the world, because it is still not demanding that all of its gold is returned by the USA immediately.

Of-course the German central bank authorities decided a couple of weeks back that it is better to pretend that the USA still has German gold and not raise any noise than to make it clear that its gold is gone. Germany requested the USA Fed to return its gold about 2 years ago, USA came out saying that it will return half of the gold within 7 year period but in 2 years only returned 1/100th of what it was supposed to, actually the numbers can be found here [mining.com] . In any case if Germany truly wanted to make a statement it would insist on the return of its gold, with the correct serial numbers on the bars and everything.

If Germany simply wanted to get the gold back it also has a choice of selling the gold in the market and getting dollars back, which the Fed could easily provide by creating them out of thin air as it always does, so that then Germany could buy the gold back in the market (of-course fewer tons could be bought since the prices would go up, but at least it wouldn't be a total loss as it is now). Any of this would be better than a useless symbolic gesture.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426635)

Not really, but the outrage would be less phony if they weren't such hypocrites [slate.com] .

Re:Not really a surprise.... (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47426697)

It's never about the moral high-ground. It's always about diplomatic leverage.

This excludes actions by populist elected bodies or particularly fickle monarchs. But in general if one nation is doing something to another nation, it's maneuvering by state and intelligence departments.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426711)

That was my point. This is fake outrage. The government was fine when the NSA was feeding them intelligence about their own citizens. They only became "outraged" when they were a target too.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47427139)

Yeah, but see, you can have your cake and eat it too. Eject someone if you don't get what you want, once you have the pretense to defy the US.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (2)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 months ago | (#47427783)

I don't think it is that complicated (as simple as it sounds).

This is pure show. They kicked the station head out, not the entire CIA. The station will continue doing what it is doing because it gets orders from higher up the chain. They know this but it makes good political theater and appears like something was done for the populace to be appeased.

The US does it too. The IRS commissioner (Steven Miller) who supposedly resigned because of the so called scandals was quitting anyways. It was just show.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics... [go.com]

Re:Not really a surprise.... (2)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 months ago | (#47427357)

Not only is this hypocrisy, but they are using a single person as a scapegoat for what is obviously an institutional problem. Sending one guy away when the BND and Bundespost work directly with the NSA will not fix a damn thing.

I truly hope that German citizens keep up the pressure to force a real change and don't accept this token arrangement as a "fix" to the institutional problems. Fortunately Germans are more aware of politics and games than Americans.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47426675)

No, a surprise would be throwing US agents in jail. This is definitely regular international diplomacy stuff.

The occasional persona non grata happens.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427147)

They're only arresting their own agents.

If they tried to arrest a US employee, they'd likely have to confront the fact that most of this is probably authorized under the broad information-sharing agreements that they're party to.

Re:Not really a surprise.... (5, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#47427897)

No, a surprise would be throwing US agents in jail.

They can't do that to "legal" agents. "Legal" agents are US Embassy employees recognized by the host government as diplomats with immunity. "Legal" agents usually have some silly, trivial sounding titles, like, "The Under-Secretary for Cultural Exchange". But their real job is gathering intelligence, and the host country knows that and tolerates it. These folks are quite easy to spot: Just look for someone who is obviously way to intelligent and clever for his job. Like someone with a Ph.D. in international affairs from Harvard and Yale who is doing clerical work at the embassy.

Lots of intelligence work is actually quite boring, and not the James Bond stuff that you expect. The agents collect and assess political sentiment and economic developments and trends in that country. The CIA gives the President of the US a short briefing every morning for breakfast, and informs him if something is amiss somewhere in the world that needs his immediate attention. During this meeting the President also instructs them which areas he thinks need their "special attention".

This is definitely regular international diplomacy stuff.

When countries who aren't quite on the most friendliest of terms get in a huff, like Russia and the US . . . they will take turns tossing out some of each others' small fry "legals" described above.

The occasional persona non grata happens.

The CIA Station Chief is not an occasional persona. That's usually taboo among allies. Russia knows who the CIA Station Chief is in Moscow. But they do not toss him out. The US knows who the SVR Resident is in Washington, as well . . . and leave him alone.

Tossing out the CIA Station Chief is a serious diplomatic escalation, which is why it is getting so much press coverage.

Oh, here's an interesting Pro-Tip: If a foreign diplomat wants to hand you a piece of paper with an explanation of why their country just did something very nasty . . . you don't touch it. You instruct him to read it out loud. If you put your hands on it, his country will report that you "accepted" the explanation. If you don't, you will only hear in the news that the diplomat "read out load" or "recited" the explanation. This is the next thing that you will hear about this, as the professional diplomats from Germany and the US try to paper over the cracks left by the spooks.

Spying On People Investigating Spying! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426581)

From the article:
"The 31-year-old suspect was, apparently, gathering information on a German committee that was investigating American surveillance on Germans. German officials say he sold 218 secret documents for 25,000 euro ($34,000)."

Spying on people investigating spying! That's how our tax dollars should be spent.

"Security interests" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426605)

I imagine that's shorthand for "Germany doesn't like that the US has been treating all of Europe as a client state for the past 70 years." (Because Germany wants to do that instead.)

A diplomatic euphemism (3, Insightful)

mbkennel (97636) | about 2 months ago | (#47427081)


| The Obama administration and that of George W. Bush both resisted such entreaties, in part because many U.S. intelligence officials believe that there are too many areas where German and U.S. security interests diverge."

This is a euphemism for saying "we believe that the German intelligence department is significantly penetrated by the Russian FSB".

Of course the German intelligence apparatus also spies on US, and France and UK, as they all do to one another.

What if he refuses? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426619)

Germany is an occupied country, and the Germans missed the opportunity to change that state when reuniting with East Germany.

If any of the occupational forces say "no, this person stays", there is nothing Germany can do.

They really should get their act together and get those old contracts cancelled. As long as they don't, they are not in a position to rid themselves of the U.S. fascists. And ending fascism was sort of the point of WWII.

Re:What if he refuses? (2)

Sique (173459) | about 2 months ago | (#47426757)

First of all: Germany is no longer an occupied state, independently of what you think. Second: Of course Germany can do it. What will the U.S. do to retaitiate? Occupy Germany again? To what result? And is it worth it? Losing all the business in Germany? Losing all the taxes the U.S. earns from doing business with german companies?

after hymenology flap we return to creativity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426621)

no big surprise & none too soon with history racing up to correct itself & our future at the speed of right with new clear options provided by momkind et pals... see you there

I don't blame them for being mad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426657)

I don't think they're surprised, its more a case of now that the NSA has so much bad press its the perfect time to start cleaning out the foreign spies.

Re:I don't blame them for being mad. (5, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47426691)

And yet their own intelligence agencies have no issue with sharing and working with the NSA.

http://www.spiegel.de/internat... [spiegel.de]
http://www.spiegel.de/internat... [spiegel.de]
http://rt.com/news/germany-nsa... [rt.com]

Germany's government was perfectly fine with the NSA's surveillance until they found out they were being spied on too. It's faux outrage meant to deflect people's attention from them being in bed with the NSA for years.

Re:I don't blame them for being mad. (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 2 months ago | (#47426799)

Actually, it's the German population which has a problem with being spied on. And they were pressuring the government again and again no longer to tolerate it. Being spied on is an issue that has grown in importance within one year that now the German government has to fear to lose the next elections if they don't do anything about it. And that's exactly how it is supposed to work.

Re:I don't blame them for being mad. (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47427501)

I'm sure the German population is pissed by it. But the outrage I'm talking about is the phony scapegoating coming from the government who is conveniently only upset when it wasn't just the plebes being spied on. They were perfectly fine with that.

Re:I don't blame them for being mad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426811)

They may not be fine with what the extent of said spying is after these revelations, its possible they were fine with what they believed to be a reasonable arrangement between the two and now are unhappy about some aspects they were unaware of previously.

Re:I don't blame them for being mad. (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47427483)

Which was exactly my point. They were perfectly fine when the plebes were being spied on by the NSA just not themselves.

Re:I don't blame them for being mad. (1)

Forever Wondering (2506940) | about 2 months ago | (#47427737)

But, Germany wants to be part of the "special club" that has been US, GB, Canada, Australia, New Zealand for sharing SIGINT: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U... [wikipedia.org] But, most of those are just part of the UK, and they speak English [more or less :-)], so Germany can never really be "one of the good ole boys" ...

To what end? (1)

BobMcD (601576) | about 2 months ago | (#47426671)

So, what's the end game here, for Germany?

And why chastise the US publicly when you could manipulate them through false information instead?

What are the implications here?

Re:To what end? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 months ago | (#47426699)

They want to join the 5 Eyes so that they can continue to receive NSA intelligence that they use against their citizens but the government officials won't be spied on.

Re:To what end? (4, Insightful)

Baki (72515) | about 2 months ago | (#47426835)

No they don't. The supreme court actually has something to say in Germany, and its constitution is pretty strong (also in practice) w.r.t. privacy and citizens rights. I'm not german myself (but living near germany). My impression, also from German newspapers etc., is that most germans including politicians are truely mad and are seriously considering to cool down relations with the USA. The USA is risking to loose one of the few remaining friends it has in the world.

Re:To what end? (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | about 2 months ago | (#47427277)

What they can do is to force the closing of one or two US Army intalations in Germany [wikipedia.org] . Although no real impact if they pick carefully, it would send an extremely serious message on a political level.

Re:To what end? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 2 months ago | (#47427281)

"My impression, also from German newspapers etc., is that most germans including politicians are truely mad and are seriously considering to cool down relations with the USA."

As they should be, frankly the reaction seems inexplicably mild.

Can you imagine the reaction if the shoe was on the other foot? If this was a BD spy caught infiltrating the CIA?

A 'cool down' in relations would be a serious understatement.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427987)

The US catches spies all the times, including those from "allies" like Israel. It's just part of the game.

Re:To what end? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47428057)

Germany has had, in living memory, the bad experience of the East German Stasi. This was a secret police service of almost unbelievable power and penetration into ordinary people's lives.

IIRC, it took about 10 years but finally (this is after German reunification) they opened up the records of the Stasi to everyone. Every former GDR citizen can look up their Stasi records and find out exactly what the state knew about them, at least what was written down. And who the informant was. This was hugely controversial and the main source of the slowness in opening the records.

Again, from memory, but the issue was and continues to be, informants were everywhere. Most citizens either were informing or knew someone who was. Informants could prove to be your boss, your co-worker, a family member, friend, anyone. Social relationships have been damaged on a massive scale as citizens found out the truth about their social circles. This is only somewhat mitigated by the knowledge that informers were often bullied or blackmailed into their informing activities.

I understand that some citizens have declined to even look in the records. The thinking being something like: The Stasi is finished, so let the past die quietly. Or nothing good can come of this. Or if intimidation of informers was widespread, then the informers do not have primary responsibility, so why damage their reputations.

For this reason the notion of state spying in Germany today is tarred by the memory of the Stasi. I don't doubt that Germany spies. However I'd suggest that there are political limits on what are considered acceptable targets and levels of spying.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426791)

Political leverage. They have solidly embarrassing information on US spying techniques, and while Germany is guilty of the same, they haven't been sloppy enough to let that information go so virulently public that it's politically convenient to shout from the rooftops without really souring relations. The US can't realistically chide Germany for publicizing these incidents, as they are already well planted in the public discourse; neither can the US raise classified incidents of German overreach, because doing so would constitute an actual breach of trust. Germany would be foolish not to use this leverage to get whatever it wants... within reason.

Re:To what end? (2)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427165)

The endgame is for individual politicials and political parties to distance themselves from their cooperation with US intelligence sharing programs in the eyes of their voters.

There's something Germany can do right away... (2)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 months ago | (#47426715)

The Obama administration and that of George W. Bush both resisted such entreaties, in part because many U.S. intelligence officials believe that there are too many areas where German and U.S. security interests diverge."

How about getting rid of that United States base in Germany? A move like this would be in the right direction.

Did I mention that Slashdot should at least try getting world leaders' name spellings correct? Anyone also sees this unfortunate Merkl spelling in the introductory piece>?

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | about 2 months ago | (#47426789)

Not going to happen. The US bases bring in a lot of money to Germany. Also, the Germans are in on it too. This is just a dog and pony show to pretend they're doing something about spying.

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47427047)

Not going to happen. The US bases bring in a lot of money to Germany. Also, the Germans are in on it too. This is just a dog and pony show to pretend they're doing something about spying.

It's a tad more than that. These agreements are NOT equal. Germany knows there's nothing they can do about the US spying so they try to co-operate to avoid being targeted themselves. But really it's kind of an Uncle Tom situation, they thought they'd found a way into the house, but really they're getting whipped in the end just as bad as everyone else.

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427269)

I thought you were going to say:

Not going to happen. /. can't afford editors....

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426883)

How about getting rid of that United States base in Germany? A move like this would be in the right direction.

First they'd have to get rid of the occupation statutes. As long as they are officially occupied allied territory, they don't have the right to unilaterally dissolve a U.S. base, or throw out a CIA officer.

They can only ask nicely. Which is just what they did regarding that official.

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 2 months ago | (#47426949)

Germany is not an occupied state, since the end of the 4+2 talks which was 25 years ago. Continuing to claim so doesn't make it true.

Re: There's something Germany can do right away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426961)

Germany has ceased to be occupied just before reunification. This is common knowledge. You are misinformed and ignorant.

Re: There's something Germany can do right away... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#47427319)

You are misinformed and ignorant.

Sounds like a typical American.

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426889)

Because tons of Germans are employed there, and lots of businesses like all the extra people who need their services around the base, and if shiat ever comes to Germany the US can help the Germans fark them into schnitzel...

Re:There's something Germany can do right away... (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427191)

Germans would riot (literally) if the US planned to close the base. It is a huge source of jobs, jobs that would otherwise go to US contractors but instead go to local German contractors.

In the past when there were plans of reducing the size of the base, they protested strongly and got us to change the plans.

Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (3, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#47426721)

When the Germans discovered that the NSA had bugged Angela Merkel's phone, Obama kinda sorta said, "sorry", and it looked like the whole matter would have been forgotten. I would have thought that Obama would have told his spooks to lay off for a while. But instead, it seems that he has racketed up the spying on Germany.

Can someone tell me what Obama is trying to achieve by this? I mean, there must be some purpose behind all this. I just can't figure it out.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (4, Insightful)

Maltheus (248271) | about 2 months ago | (#47426751)

When Germany rolled over the first time, it was an invitation for more. Same is true here with the American people.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (-1, Flamebait)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#47426877)

I would have thought that Obama would have told his spooks to lay off for a while. But instead, it seems that he has racketed up the spying on Germany.

Can someone tell me what Obama is trying to achieve by this? I mean, there must be some purpose behind all this. I just can't figure it out.

Have you stopped to think that it might just be that he's a fucking idiot?

I mean, so far, in the polls, he's already being rated as the worst president since WW2. And he had some serious "talent" to beat out in that contest, you know?

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (0)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about 2 months ago | (#47426939)

I mean, so far, in the polls, he's already being rated as the worst president since WW2.

There's a growing number of Americans who strongly believe he is the worst president EVER.. BAR NONE.. And *I* strongly believe
that number is growing daily....

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427307)

And there are just as many who think Saint Reagan was the worst President EV-AH. BAR NONE. And that number was growing while he was still in office! Z O M G!

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427335)

There's also a growing number of Americans that don't believe in evolution. Just because you choose to live in another reality doesn't make it true. Based on facts you're going to have a hard time justifying why you feel he is the worst president ever, there have been some real bad ones. Of course the powers of the presidency have been greatly exaggerated as congress hasn't accomplished a whole lot with record use of stall tactics.

You'd be hard pressed to say he's the best President ever either, but he's hardly the worst, exaggerating only takes away from any valid criticisms of policy you have. The American people were much worse off as a result of Silent Cal's Presidency, there are many other examples as well.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47427395)

I mean, so far, in the polls, he's already being rated as the worst president since WW2.

Said someone about every president since WW2. You guys elected him twice, collectively you fucking love the guy.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#47428007)

Said someone about every president since WW2. You guys elected him twice, collectively you fucking love the guy.

Hey, don't blame me, I voted for Kodos!!

:)

But seriously, I used to think Carter was the worst, and I wasn't terribly happy with Bush Jr., but Obama, ugh.

I used to think it was just his agenda, but I'm starting to think it is more fully explained by incompetence. I used to joke and ask my friends that voted for him "How's that Hope and Change" working out for you.

Not anymore, I'm frankly a bit scared about the US and the world. He has no answer and seems to really not even care about:

Problems in Libya, Syria (draws imaginary line in sand when not going to back it up), ISIS coming in from Syria, Our southern US border currently being overrun by illegals, when he actually COULD with a swipe of his pen, fix the problem there, or at least send national guard and militarize the damned thing, economy still in the toilet, etc.

He's a great speaker with a teleprompter and good politician (for getting elected), but I think as far as presidency, he's in way over his head and I'm frankly worried about the state of the world under his last 2x years.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427759)

Have you stopped to think that it might just be that he's a fucking idiot?

He's not an idiot, he's a puppet. I thought GWB was the worst president ever, but Obama seems hell-bent on wresting that crown. The fact that he's not an idiot makes it worse, not better. GWB at least could just blink cluelessly as he was told what to do.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 2 months ago | (#47427909)

I mean, so far, in the polls, he's already being rated as the worst president since WW2.

I'm not fan of Obama, but I'm suspicious about the results of that (single) survey. 35% of respondents rated Reagan as the best president since WW2, followed by Clinton (18%), Kennedy (15%), and Obama (8%). On the other side, 33% said Obama was the worst, followed by GWB (28%), Nixon (13%), and Carter (8%). As far as "worst president" goes, it looks like recent memory plays more of a role than anything the guys actually did. Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy, the 3 directly after WW2, got 0-1% of the votes. Carter is probably happy just to be included.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426907)

Can anyone still believe civilians are in control of the government? Our MSM and gov maintain that facade, but it is less and less true.

NSA, a military organization, rewrote the Constitution in secret. Justice Dept developed the justification, is not taking credit for the initiative.

CIA, nominally a non-military organization, closely cooperates with the military, and is incestulous with the banking and military-intelligence-police complex of interests.

NSA/CIA don't bother to tell the President or anyone else about a lot of things. Thus Snowdon is a hero, a patriot.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47427111)

you sound like you're genuinely distressed, and i can empathize. all i'll say is that after a point, you realize that the extent to which you've been lied to is extraordinary. once you can acknowledge that fact, you begin to see things a bit differently. part of growth. it hurts sometimes, but it's required.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427189)

When the Germans discovered that the NSA had bugged Angela Merkel's phone, Obama kinda sorta said, "sorry", and it looked like the whole matter would have been forgotten. I would have thought that Obama would have told his spooks to lay off for a while. But instead, it seems that he has racketed up the spying on Germany.

Can someone tell me what Obama is trying to achieve by this? I mean, there must be some purpose behind all this. I just can't figure it out.

Simple. We had spy on them in order to figure out how pissed the Germans really were that we were spying on them...

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (0)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 2 months ago | (#47427221)

Obama is looking for his real birth certificate which is in a German vault along with the ark of the covenant, 1000s of art masterpieces thought to have been destroyed, $10 trillion dollars worth of gold bricks, and a cryogenic chamber in which the Fuhrer patiently rests.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (3, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427291)

You may not know this, but the President of the United States doesn't have an office in the NSA, and doesn't have direct access to their leadership or decision-making.

So no, Obama isn't trying to achieve anything, as it is somebody else doing it.

Being able to fire the person at the top gives limited control in certain types of circumstances. In a regular business it means you have a lot of control over a department. But even a large corporation, you might not be able to succeed at getting things done the way you want just by firing department heads; and there is a cost to morale in attempting it.

In the case of Government, the workers are the same under one President and the next, and they can drag their feet and wait-out a President who tries to micro-manage them. But also, appointing department heads for a President is a political act, it has real cost, and if you try to do it with a weak hand then Congress will win that battle. Also, the departments have entrenched support from Congress-critters that have been in place longer than the President and will be in place after his terms expire.

You just can't use a small-business-owner model of Control to understand the powers of the President here. He's the one that has to explain the policies to the people, but in Intelligence and Law Enforcement, Congress has erected barriers to direct Presidential control. People often imagine that the President can just walk into any department and look at anything and order anybody around, but actually he's not a dictator, and can only move the levers of power that are provided.

Re:Why is Obama doing this . . . ? (1)

Dorianny (1847922) | about 2 months ago | (#47428193)

Like all large organizations, bureaucracies are hard to change and are resistant to political direction, which makes them difficult to control from the executive, but a determined and capable president can ultimately impose his will on them.

I found this article to be more informative (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 months ago | (#47426743)

Retaliation for Spying: Germany Asks CIA Official to Leave Country [spiegel.de]

Initially, there had been talk of a formal expulsion of the CIA employee, who is officially accredited as the so-called chief of station and is responsible for the US intelligence service's activities in Germany. A short time later, the government backpedalled and said it had only recommended that he leave. Although it cannot be compared with a formal explusion, it remains an unfriendly gesture.

On a diplomatic level, it is no less than an earthquake and represents a measure that until Thursday would have only been implemented against pariah states like North Korea or Iran. It also underscores just how deep tensions have grown between Berlin and Washington over the spying affair.

The USA's response has been something along the lines of "you expected us not to conducting traditional spying activities?"

Re:I found this article to be more informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426807)

and if the guy did leave, voluntarily or otherwise, he'd just be replaced with someone else.

Re:I found this article to be more informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426903)

The USA's response has been something along the lines of "you expected us not to conducting traditional spying activities?"

More like "you expected us to honor bilateral contracts?"

Re:I found this article to be more informative (1, Insightful)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427333)

I'd prefer a more proactive response, maybe carry around a bunch of WWII concentration camp photos and wave those around whenever the Germans complain about "spying."

No they shouldn't be punished forever, but we probably should keep an eye on them forever.

Re:I found this article to be more informative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47428091)

Could be difficult, with a beam the size of Texas in your eye.

Re:I found this article to be more informative (4, Insightful)

Dorianny (1847922) | about 2 months ago | (#47428289)

I'd prefer a more proactive response, maybe carry around a bunch of WWII concentration camp photos and wave those around whenever the Germans complain about "spying."

No they shouldn't be punished forever, but we probably should keep an eye on them forever.

Their history with the Nazi state and the Gestapo secret police is exactly why Germans are so bothered by spying. They know for a fact that gathered information can easily be put to nefarious use.

Re:I found this article to be more informative (2)

Dorianny (1847922) | about 2 months ago | (#47428271)

The USA's response has been something along the lines of "you expected us not to conducting traditional spying activities?"

The USA rejected the proposed no spy agreement so the response is more along the lines of: We do not fully trust you and we will keep on spying on you not matter how much it annoys you.

Considering Bush did this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426773)

and it is 100% his fault, why the cheap shot at Obama in the summary? This site is getting more and more completely nutcake gun-owning, violent CONservative. You people have ruined this site with your hatred of technology and science. Could you please stop insulting us with your pro-Bush drivel. We know Obama has tried to stop this and is unable to because of the way the racists wrote the laws. We all know that, but they keep telling lies about that. Bush's kind still hates Germany for killing Jews which is irrational because they also are Holocaust deniers. They exude lies with every breath.

LOL at the captcha. It is paranoia which so accurately describes those moron Republicans.

Re:Considering Bush did this... (3, Insightful)

sydbarrett74 (74307) | about 2 months ago | (#47427019)

As to why the 'cheap shot', it's because Obama has been expanding upon many of Bush's most-hated policies. In his campaign speeches, he promised to scale back the War on Terror, close Gitmo and rein in the surveillance apparatus. He has done none of these things, and has indeed intensified those efforts.

Re:Considering Bush did this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427273)

Exactly. When I read the summary, my immediate thought was "Here we go again...Obama's doing it but it's OK because BUSH DID IT FIRST!!!111" I.e. the exact opposite of the GP's take. It is utterly amazing how the Obama fan club continues to give him a free pass on everything under the sun...

Re:Considering Bush did this... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 2 months ago | (#47427171)

Because Obama is the current President, and is responsible for the current policy?

The nutcakes are the ones living in a fantasy land where we don't hold our currently elected representatives accountable. Hope and change, still waiting for the change. (I've given up hope)

It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (5, Interesting)

boorack (1345877) | about 2 months ago | (#47426831)

Most of European countries used to be vassals to US and if US spies were found, Europeans used to sweep such fiascos under the rug. This is changing now. My suspicion is that this is related to strong arm tactics of US government (if not outright bullying, eg. ACTA, now TISA, BNP Paribas etc.) and other fiascos (NSA, and now all this Ukraine/Russia fiasco, caused almost entirely by US neocons). My feeling is that European countries are now in the process of breaking out from strong US influence as they recognized USofA is actually not their friend. Russia might also be involved, assisting core EU countries in delicate path of reducing their political subordination to Washington. Note that France is also increasingly defying Washington orders (Mistral contract) despite of heavy bullying (BNP Paribas case), with top french politicians and central bankers talking openly about getting rid of dollar in international trade. Great Britain and Poland are the only countries trying to wreak as much havoc as possible in this process. Should this process go on for a while, it would force USofA to abandon its imperial project, reform itself and start behaving like ordinary country which would be good thing for everyone, especially Arabs/Ukrainians and ordinary Americans themselves.

This is much more than just simple spy flap story.

Re:It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427257)

AC because Mod.

Very good point. Also, recent history shows that if the Germans really want to kick off, it takes the rest of the world, and a lot of lives and money, to dissuade them. You want to upset the Germans? You'd better be sure you can afford it.

Re:It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427451)

My feeling is that European countries are now in the process of breaking out from strong US influence as they recognized USofA is actually not their friend.

My feeling is that European countries want to be friends with the US, because otherwise they get bullied by Russia.

Re:It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47428227)

No. Excepted UK, I don't know any European country wanting to be friend with US. US does not want to be friend. US is a bully.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures
1 United States United States 682,478,000,000 4.4% 2012
2 China People's Republic of China 166,107,000,000 2.1% 2012
3 Russia Russia 90,749,000,000 4.4% 2012

Now Europe
4 United Kingdom United Kingdom 61,007,000,000 2.5% 2012
6 France France 58,943,000,000 2.3% 2012
9 Germany Germany 45,785,000,000 1.4% 2012
10 Italy Italy 34,004,000,000 1.7% 2012
19 Spain Spain 11,535,000,000 0.85% 2012
21 Netherlands Netherlands 9,839,000,000 1.3% 2012
23 Poland Poland 9,355,000,000 1.9% 2012
[...]

From http://www.eda.europa.eu/docs/default-source/eda-publications/defence-data-booklet-2012-web a total of € 189.6 billion
Europe is the second only to US. I don't think Russia will be stupid enough to bully an union investing twice as much than themselves.

Re:It's geopolitics, not just simple spy flap (1)

32771 (906153) | about 2 months ago | (#47427461)

Given that we may be nearing some energy crisis you could think about what it might cause. Looking for it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
you can find talk about decentralization which means a break up of a system into smaller units. I think this is what might be happening, Europe is basically used up having an aging populace and diminishing resources, whereas Asia has lots of young people and some ambition to get their hands on resources. Since there have been signs in the past that energy demand has been outstripping energy availability, I would guess that for the US to keep its position in the world it has to find new resources and keep competition and resource use low. With the current system the finding of new stuff has long been passed, so its hampering other peoples development and reducing energy expenditure now.

Europe is a competitor but not as much as Asia, I would expect Europe to become some kind of backwater and less useful to the US in the future, which would mean the fracturing of NATO. This spy scandal and Ukraine appears to be the start of this process.

too many areas where German and U.S. security inte (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47426845)

"too many areas where German and U.S. security interests diverge"

Spying on the Germans being the major one.

Re:too many areas where German and U.S. security i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427187)

Spying on Germans is just common sense.

Translation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47426863)

You just outed our spies in your network and you expect us to sign a no-spy list? Come again when we have undermined your security enough that you're as safe as the other countries we pretty much already own.

In other words, we'll only not spy on you if you hand over what we want willingly.

Re:Translation (2)

Aighearach (97333) | about 2 months ago | (#47427361)

Wouldn't the existance of spies be the reason for a "no-spy list?" I mean if you're not spying on each other anyways, then why waste time and money negotiating that? Seems to be a required precondition.

This proves the status quo is spying, therefore the premise of a no-spy list is valid.

Re:Translation (1)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47427935)

The "countries with which the United States has a non-espionage pact" don't spy on the US. It's a one-side agreement, like most treaties with the US are in practice.

Huh? (1)

RAVEN2 (1368873) | about 2 months ago | (#47427199)

We were only following orders.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427677)

Spelling *azi here. You should write it like this: Befehl ist Befehl.

They are sending home the wrong man (1)

Trachman (3499895) | about 2 months ago | (#47427391)

I think that Germany is sending the wrong man home. If US has any specialists worth their salt, then their station chief will be the driver, security guard. A cook perhaps, or public relations officer. If you remember from recent Snowden's revelations, officers are given made up identities. That being said, what is wrong with these Germans? The last time we have checked, Germany is an occupied nation since WW2 , it has occupiers' army and some must have forgotten who is the boss.

Re:They are sending home the wrong man (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | about 2 months ago | (#47427509)

I believe from reading the official histories for allies its custom and practice to let your station chief be known to his/her opposite number.

I Spy.... (1, Informative)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 2 months ago | (#47427505)

Without generating some type of comparison chart, I Googled multiple variations of who spies on who. Spies caught, spy agencies....etc.
And the winner of my informal who spies upon whom poll......Somalia! With no official Government they have no official spy agency.
Don't want to be spied on by your government you live under, this appears to be the place.
it seems that every modern country has been caught in some capacity.
(This was not a thorough nor proper search, just an hour of casual searching, so I know someone will come up criticizing this, finding counter examples, etc. So I say this is opinion based upon limited data and subject to change with refinement of data.)
As always, the easy target is the one who got outed. But Germany whining about spying? Now that's giggle worthy.
I don't like what the alphabet soup agencies (ANY of them, regardless of country of origin) do either. But this just seems like mock outrage to me. Just like Diane Fienstien who supports NSA spying getting bent when she found out she was targeted as well.
When you sleep with cobras, you're likely to get bitten.

Re:I Spy.... (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 2 months ago | (#47427575)

Yeah, Somalia has a 'recognized' government, but it is almost completely ineffectual.

Sanctions/Embargo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427519)

Prevent German/Chinese/Russian goods being imported into the US.

remember Gary Mckinnon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47427657)

Alternatively he can be put on trial in every country violated in the good name of the United States (in the technology sense)

To give an idea of the damage: Does anyone think US tech products are still worth buying? The mere suggestion makes me laugh.

If extradited to the US and charged, McKinnon would have faced up to 70 years in jail.

The US State Dept (2)

argStyopa (232550) | about 2 months ago | (#47428069)

...seems to be doing everything in their power to push Germany to be a regional power that DOESN'T NEED OR WANT the US.

Is that the greatest idea?

Now if only... (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 2 months ago | (#47428181)

... we in the USA could also tell the CIA to GTFO.

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