Angela Merkel two years ago:
"We need trust among allies and partners," Merkel told reporters in Brussels. "Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about."
"The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies," the German leader said. "But such an alliance can only be built on trust. That's why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be."
Well, now it turns out the "honest" Germans have themselves carried out extensive spying on their closest allies:
The German newsmagazine "Spiegel Online" has reported that Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) eavesdropped on communications of several of its allied countries until late 2013.
According to reports, these operations may not all have taken place under the guidance of the US National Security Agency (NSA) but also under the BND's own initiative. Earlier this year, it had been revealed that the NSA commissioned the BND for years to spy on German targets using so-called "selectors" - search criteria used to flag activity with vested interests for the NSA.. The NSA was reported to have supplied the technology involved in this method of intelligence gathering.
The latest disclosures, however, might imply that the BND added its own choice of selectors to the list - an act which would fall outside its constitutional mandate and qualify as illegal. The BND is already under scrutiny for the legalities of doing the groundwork for a foreign spy agency by collaborating with the NSA..
Further setbacks for the BND
According to the report, Germany used thousands of such selectors in total, which ended up flagging communications of allied states. France and the United States were reported to be among the nations affected by the intelligence breach.