The latest revelations about NSA spying have caused a crisis of confidence between the US and its allies. Has the transatlantic relationship been permanently damaged? How should Europe react to the NSA scandal? President Barack Obama has lost a lot of credit because of the affair.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel was deeply shocked by news that her mobile phone was probably monitored over the course of years by America’s security services. The United States Embassy in Berlin, just a few hundred meters from the government quarter, was probably the location for a spying operation directed at the heart of Germany’s government. Merkel phoned Obama to complain and the US ambassador to Berlin was called in.
But the governments of France, Brazil and Mexico, where millions of people have allegedly had their phone calls monitored, are also angry. Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided the documents that indicate mass surveillance was taking place.
Only a couple of months ago the German government said it was satisfied with American reassurances about the extent of its surveillance programs. Merkel’s chief of staff even declared the matter to be officially over.
Have the governments in Berlin, Paris and Brasilia been naïve or are they simply incapable of defending themselves against espionage? Has the US gone too far or is it a case that the NSA is just pursuing the same goals as every other spy agency in the world?
Tell us what you think: USA = NSA? Obama's Fall from Grace
Erik Kirschbaum - Born in New York, Kirschbaum began as a reporter for various dailies and magazines in the US. He moved to Europe in 1989 to become a correspondent in Germany and Austria. Kirschbaum now works for the “Reuters” news agency in Berlin.
Christoph von Marschall - is the senior diplomatic correspondent for Berlin's Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. Before that he spent many years in Washington where he was one of the few members of the foreign press corps to be granted a White House Press Pass. He is a sought after commentator on US politics for the German media.
Tom Goeller - born 1958, he studied American History and Politics at the University of Bonn/ Germany. He has been a journalist for various media, among them BBC and ARD. From 1997 to 2004 he was a political analyst of international affairs with the German Weekly "Das Parlament" and the US correspondent in Washington, D.C. From November 2004 until end of 2010 he was the correspondent for Germany of the US daily “The Washington Times” and of the Egyptian monthly "Egypt Today". He now works as a freelance journalist and political analyst of US and Middle Eastern, as well as security affairs.