While being tapped, Germans tap everyone else
"Spying among friends, that's not all right at all" said German chancellor Angela Merkel not so long ago, when it was revealed that a US intelligence agency tapped the phones of several German leaders. However, Madame Chancellor Merkel probably had been aware that the NSA was not the only organization excessively curious of the information flow among foreign politicians.
The scandal exploded when it was revealed that while the NSA tapped the Germans, the Germans themselves tapped the European Commission and several EU member states. Their employer was none else than their own tapper, the US. Although Merkel still holds the view that friendly nations do not spy on each other, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has tapped the French president's office, the foreign ministry as well as certain Austrian ministers and even the European Commission. And all this happened with the knowledge of the chancellery.
Experts say the Germans may have "helped" their American partners in the framework of a barter deal. They were supplied some data by the US in return for the information handed over by Germany. The volume of the case is clearly shown by media reports claiming that 12 thousand e-mail addresses and phone numbers were collected.
After this highly embarrassing incident, Angela Merkel is now expected to give an explanation to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker as well as to her coalition partners in her own government. The explanation is still underway.
This is what happens when somebody is caught red-handed in real espionage affairs instead of fabricated accusations. However, the scandal remains likely to simmer away as it is extremely embarrassing for each player, including the European Union, to admit that its members are not loyal enough to the oft-quoted European values to resist US requests to spy on each other in return for a pat on the shoulder by their American friends.