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Ten Essential Witnesses for Investigating NSA Surveillance in Germany (Der Spiegel, Germany)


"During the week, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee will meet to discuss the latest revelations regarding the NSA spying assault. At that point, a decision will likely be made as to whether to form a Bundestag committee of inquiry. Such a committee would be unpleasant for many of those involved. So who be called as witnesses for questioning? These are 10 suggested people who should be questioned by any NSA fact-finding committee."


By Veit Medick



Translated By Torsten Meister


November 5, 2013


Germany - Der Spiegel - Original Article (German)

Reconnaissance mission: The heads of the German intelligence services are headed to Washington, and an NSA fact-finding committee may soon begin its work. Edward Snowdon would be the most important witness. However, leading German politicians and officials must also expect to be questioned.


Berlin: Should we offer protection or close our doors? Ever since Edward Snowden expressed his willingness to testify in Germany about the background of the NSA scandal, a debate has broken out about how Berlin should react. Many politicians and intellectuals have spoken to Der Spiegel in support of granting asylum to the former intelligence agency employee. However, the Christian Democratic Union [CDU] and Social Democratic Party [SDP] are hesitant. They fear the damage this would cause to transatlantic relations.


One thing is clear to all: Snowden is important, and likely the most important figure, in this country's still pending reconnaissance. On Monday, the chiefs of the Bundesnachrichtendienst [BND] and the Verfassungsschutz [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution] are traveling to Washington to question the  United States government. During the week, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee will meet to discuss the latest revelations regarding the NSA spying assault. At that point, a decision will likely be made as to whether to form a Bundestag committee of inquiry.


Der Spiegel, Germany: Without Our Own Internet, We Have No Sovereignty
Der Spiegel, Germany: Et Tu, UK? Anger Grows over British Spying in Berlin
Der Spiegel, Germany: Germany's Quandary: The Debate over Asylum for Snowden
Der Spiegel, Germany: Free Press? Guardian Editor Laments 'Retrogressive' Government
Der Spiegel, Germany: Codependent: Merkel's Pragmatic Approach to the NSA Scandal
Der Spiegel, Germany: Merkel Spying: It's 'Unlikely' White House Didn't Know


Such a committee would be unpleasant for many of those involved. So who should be called as witnesses for questioning? The CDU and SPD will likely use their majorities to prevent their members from having to testify. If one is serious about throwing light on the situation, however, the most important participants will have to be questioned. These are ten suggested people who should be questioned by any NSA fact-finding committee. Snowden: He would be the central witness for any investigating committee. Snowden knows the files, the codes, the operations - no one else is likely to have a comparable detailed knowledge of the NSA surveillance scandal. How the 30-year-old whistleblower would be questioned by such a committee remains to be seen. The CDU and SPD are scared: they fear bringing Snowden to Germany would be an affront to the United States. Merkel: Appearing before the committee would be awkward for the chancellor. Not only would it be interested in the years her cell phone was monitored, a central issue would be the credibility of her insistence that she had no knowledge of American surveillance activities since coming to power in 2005. Schröder: Under his chancellorship, collaboration between German and American intelligence agencies solidified. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Berlin and Washington agreed in principle to improve cooperation on terror-related issues. Schröder would have to address the question of whether his policies facilitated the expansion of NSA surveillance in Germany. Frank-Walter Steinmeier: As chief of the chancellery under Schröder as well as intelligence coordinator, he was responsible for the security partnership with the United States during the red-green government. Prior to the last elections, the CDU reproached him for a key decision he made in 2002, which facilitated cooperation between the BND and NSA. What precisely this decision consisted of would likely be of interest to the committee. Ronald Pofalla: Merkel's intelligence coordinator played an extremely unfortunate role in the NSA debate. During the summer, he downplayed the Snowden leaks for weeks and declared the debate over weeks before the elections and now he has become sensitized. But why prior to the elections did Pofalla allow himself to be fobbed off by a lukewarm statement from the NSA? And what does he know about the collaboration that may have taken place between NSA and German intelligence services? Friedrich: Even the interior minister would pressed hard to justify himself before the committee. When the affair began, the CSU man complained less about the U.S. than he did about Berlin's anti-American attitude, fired off a few questions to the U.S. government, and wanted to leave it at that. Recently, he has appeared more aloof toward Washington. His zigzagging during the course of the debate will likely guarantee him an invitation by the committee. B. Emerson: What's really happening inside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin? Barack Obama's ambassador is quite talkative these days - but whether the government district is spied upon from inside the Embassy, as NSA documents published by Der Spiegel suggest, Emerson doesn't say. He would be the only conceivable American witness before a committee of inquiry. To questions about a possible appearance he has declined to comment. That is a "hypothetical question," he said recently - and he doesn't answer hypothetical questions. Schindler: Not the least of concerns for the fact-finding committee would be the failure of German counterintelligence. BND chief Schindler and his colleague in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen, are unlikely to avoid an appearance before a committee. What their authorities knew, how closely they collaborated with the Americans, and why they didn't uncover the surveillance themselves will be one of the central educational challenges for committee of inquiry.

Posted By Worldmeets.US Hanning: Head of the BND between 1998 and 2005. In 2002, Hanning signed an agreement with the head of the NSA at the time, Michael V. Hayden, on the interception of electronic data. He would therefore be a key witness on how German-American cooperation was expanded after the terrorist-attacks in New York.


Like Worldmeets.US on Facebook Ströbele:

The Green has become a kind of private investigator on the NSA debate since his mission to Moscow [to meet Edward Snowden]. The first senior politician to be received by Snowden in his "safe house" in the Russian capital, Ströbele has for the most part kept the contents of their conversations shrouded in silence. He could probably provide the committee an especially interesting report on the whistleblower's current situation.


Folha, Brazil: NSA Scandal No More than a Temporary Annoyance

O Globo, Brazil: U.S. Must Employ Famed 'Checks and Balances' on NSA
China Daily, China: American 'Anti-Terror' Spies Have No Place in China
NZZ, Switzerland: NSA and Germany: a 'Highly Toxic Outrage Cocktail'
Ryukyo Shimpo, Japan: Japan Must Safeguard Data from 'Superpower in Decline'
Japan Times, Japan: NSA asked Japan to Tap Regionwide Fiber-Optic Cables in 2011
La Jornada, Mexico: Human Rights, the NSA, and U.S. Moral Decline
Le Monde, France: After PRISM, E.U. Must Safeguard 'Emerging Global Consciousness'
Le Nouvel Observateur, France: NSA Snoops on France: 'Like Spying on Family'
Le Monde, France: 'How the NSA Spies on the French'
Le Monde, France: Fighting 'Big Brother'
Le Monde, France: NSA Wiretapped French Diplomats in America
Le Monde, France: French Phone Networks in NSA Crosshairs'
El Pais, Spain: NSA: For Europe, it's Better to be 'Heard than Ignored'
El Pais, Spain: Rather than Rajoy's Phone Calls, NSA Should Focus on JFK's Assassin!
El Pais, Spain: Conflicted Europe Must Defend Citizen Liberties
El Pais, Spain: Mass U.S. Monitoring of Innocent Non-Americans Must End
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Telegraph, U.K.: David Cameron 'Spies' Trouble
Der Spiegel, Germany: Embassy Espionage: The NSA's Secret Spy Hub in Berlin
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany: Say it isn't so, NSA!
Guardian, U.K.: Spain Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Claim NSA Tracked Millions
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Trouw, The Netherlands: U.S. Spying? Don't Put Your Open Data in the Town Square!
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Dep Speigel, Germany: Fresh Leak: NSA Accessed Mexican President's E-mail
La Jornada, Mexico: Nations Should Quickly Heed Advice of Greenwald, Assange
Guardian, U.K.: World Editors: 'What Guardian is Doing is Important for Democracy
Guardian, U.K.: Surveillance, Democracy, Transparency - Views from Across the Globe
Guardian, U.K.: EDITORIAL: Spies and Journalism: When Worlds Collide
Izvestia, Russia: Global Call to Arms Against 'American Exceptionalism'
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de Volkskrant, The Netherlands: Putin's Note to Americans a Guilty Pleasure for World
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Guardian, U.K.: Committee to Protect Journalists Issues Scathing Report on Obama
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Der Spiegel, Germany: Merkel Rival Calls for Suspension of Trade Talks
Telegraph, U.K.: NSA Employees Spied on their Lovers Using Eavesdropping Program
Reuters, U.K.: Close Cameron Aides Asked Paper to Destroy Snowden Data
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Guardian, U.K.: Innocent have Nothing to Fear? After Miranda, We Know Where that Leads
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Guardian, U.K.: 'Sending a Message': What U.S. and U.K. are Attempting to Do
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Huanqiu, China: 'United Global Front' Defeats America in Snowden Affair
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El Pais, Spain: Manning Verdict a Warning to Future 'Heroes of Transparency'
Izvestia, Russia: Turning Mr. Snowden into a Tool of Russian 'Soft Power'
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Posted By Worldmeets.US Nov. 5, 2013, 07:39am





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