Opinion: The NSA scandal keeps growing | World| Breakings news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 05.07.2014
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Opinion: The NSA scandal keeps growing

The NSA spying scandal continues to make waves in Germany as new revelations come to light. More effort needs to be put into investigating the situation, writes DW's Christoph Strack.

No, it's not just about the bugging of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. The NSA scandal has never been about this one phone - a fact that has been particularly evident since Thursday (03.07.2014), when Germany learned that another of its citizens had been spied on. All along, it was obvious that the NSA also had its eye on the chancellor's phone conversation partners. And now some also suspect that the US agency collaborated with a German intelligence service employee.

There is growing pressure on Germany's federal prosecutor, Harald Range, to conduct a more decisive and thorough investigation. Until now, Range has limited his focus to the cell phone tapping incident. The time for this approach - seeming almost as if done for show - has lapsed. The revelation of NSA's spying on German IT specialist Sebastian Hahn will be followed by more such discoveries. That's because his portal for encrypting internet traffic helps prevent espionage. The federal prosecutor should launch an investigation to protect Hahn's rights. Evidence of illegal activity, which is a prerequisite for an investigation, can be found easily.

A scandal has an impact. But unlike the ripples caused by a stone thrown into water, this scandal's impact is not diminishing with time. And even more ripples are appearing. Now the case of a German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) employee has come to light - a man accused of providing the US spy agency with confidential information.

Christoph Strack

DW's Christoph Strack

"There shouldn't be any spying between friends," said Merkel in the fall of 2013, shortly after the NSA espionage scandal erupted. Now Germans are finding out how much spying can in fact be done. Perhaps the chancellor is learning this with astonishment too.

Former NSA staffers told the German parliament's NSA inquiry committee that the NSA was a totalitarian mass collector of data and that the BND closely cooperated with the NSA. And while it is normal for agents to work together with so-called friendly establishments in so-called friendly countries, one of the ex-NSA members called the BND an "appendix" of the NSA.

Of course, after the inquiry committee session in which one whistleblower reported what he had heard from other whistleblowers, one can start to doubt the accuracy of the account. But despite such objections, the German side - and this means not only the inquiry committee - needs to clarify at what point the NSA scandal also becomes a BND scandal.

And then there's the pressing question of how the German government will continue to deal with the spying scandal among so-called friends.

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