By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Germany’s leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, is leading the charge of foreign leaders concerned about US spy operations carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA).
According to secret documents leaked by ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden, Merkel’s cell phone was supposedly being monitored by the US. Now, Germany’s planning to send top intelligence officials to Washington, in order to get more information about the NSA’s alleged spying.
While snooping on friends and enemies alike is a common practice in the world, very rarely does an ex-employee like Snowden betray his country to reveal behind-the-scenes operations.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed that Snowden’s actions have damaged international relations, because it has “led to criticisms of our intelligence activity by many of our friends and partners. It’s created significant challenges in our relationships… and has been, of course, a public distraction.”
As the German spy chiefs prepare for their Washington trip, US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, “…the US government looks forward to meeting with them,” and added that the NSA “gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”
Germany and Brazil have also begun coordinating an international effort to protect the privacy of electronic communications through the United Nations. A German spokesman said the two countries believe “this is a very important topic” and that the document they’re putting together “is still at a very early stage, so we don’t know when it will be presented or if other countries will join.”
Images courtesy of Bundesregierung/Steins.