Surely Frau Merkel Protests Too Much in Comparing the NSA to the East German Stasi
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
It’s not my usual practice to crank out copy defending President Obama, but I don’t know what else to do in the face of the report in The Guardian that Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel compared the snooping practices of the United States with those of the East German secret police. After Der Spiegel magazine reported that the U.S. was monitoring her personal mobile phone, The Guardian reported, Frau Merkel “confronted Obama with the accusation: ‘This is like the Stasi.’”
Ach, du lieber. Surely the chancellor protests too much (Israel’s government seems much less rattled at reports of American interception of its communications, including the prime minister’s email). The Guardian goes on to quote the New York Times’s report that Mrs. Merkel was “particularly angry” that the National Security Agency, which conducts a lot of America’s signal intelligence, “couldn’t be trusted with private information, because they let Snowden clean them out.” So which is the problem — the phone tapping or the failure to protect the data America has been collecting?
The chancellor’s outburst surprises me. In January 2003, shortly before she acceded to the chancellorship, my wife and I had breakfast with her in Berlin. The meeting – there were four of us at the table – was off the record. But the ground rules don’t preclude me from saying that she struck me as extremely smart, more so than many of the leaders I’ve met over a long newspaper life. And I was impressed that she had spent much of her life in communist East Germany.
Certainly she understands . . . for the continuation of this article, please click here (registration may be required).