The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 03 February 2014

by TRG Alerts Admin on February 3, 2014

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report



Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.


Germany-US Relationship Faces Continued Strains Over NSA Spying



This week’s snapshot focuses on tensions between Germany and the United States over revelations of espionage by the National Security Agency (NSA). Intelligence leaker and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in October 2013 that the agency had tapped the cell phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel, and later added that the NSA was also spying on German government ministers and MPs. Though President Obama has assured Germany that the NSA is no longer spying, the episode has put major strains on ties between the two countries.



News Summary of events during the week of 28JAN-03FEB

  • On 26JAN, US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden claimed that the NSA was involved in industrial espionage. (AP)
  • On 27JAN, Snowden claimed that the NSA may have targeted other German government officials in addition to Chancellor Merkel. (Itar-Tass)
  • On 29JAN, Merkel said that Berlin and Washington are still “far apart” on NSA surveillance. (Reuters)
  • On 29JAN, DNI James Clapper called on Snowden to return “stolen” secret documents. (WP)
  • On 31JAN, US Secretary of State Kerry said that the US takes German anger over the NSA seriously, and that the countries can put the episode behind them. (AP)
  • On 31JAN, German Interior Minister de Maiziere said that NSA spying has damaged US-Europe relations instead of improving common security. (DPA)


Sample of Twitter handles regarding Germany and the NSA

@KenDilanianLAT – Ken Dilanian, Intelligence reporter at Los Angeles Times

@nickpickles – Nick Pickles, Director of Big Brother Watch

@PaulLewis – Paul Lewis, Washington correspondent for The Guardian

@nickhopkinsnews – Nick Hopkins, Defense and security correspondent for The Guardian

@JesselynRadack – Jesselyn Radack, former ethics adviser to the USDOJ

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding Germany and the NSA


Christian Lammert, Political Scientist, Berlin Free University

“Germany doesn’t play such a central role for the U.S. anymore… There’s incongruity between the rhetoric and reality.” – Merkel Hits Out at Blanket Espionage by U.S., U.K., Wall Street Journal, 29JAN14


Ronaldo Lemos, Director, Institute of Technology and Society, Rio de Janeiro

“If you read between the lines in Obama’s speech, it is clearly an effort to take back US leadership in regards to civil liberties and internet governance (…) They want to get back the space they have lost since the Snowden case. For Brazil and Germany, that will be a challenge.” –  Obama NSA reforms receive mixed response in Europe and Brazil, The Guardian, 17JAN14


Darrell West, Nonresident Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, Brookings Institution

“Everyone understands that [surveillance] is fair game with adversaries. But allies don’t expect to get treated as enemies and are upset that America would stoop to this level. That is the most surprising part, that our intelligence agency spied on the heads of state of our closest allies.”

– Brookings Scholars Comment on NSA Surveillance of Foreign Leaders, Brookings, 29OCT13


Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

“You had Obama just a few hundred yards away speaking at the Brandenburg Gate. And nearby you have the American embassy, where the monitoring of German phone calls was taking place. And so, that’s the symbolism that creates this loss of trust, which prompts Merkel and others to say this scandal is eating away at the fabric of trust that is part of the alliance.” – US Spying casts shadow over Atlantic Alliance, CFR Interview, 29OCT13


Jane Kirtley, Director, University of Minnesota Silha Center for Study of Media Ethics and Law

“”If you look at how privacy protection has developed in Europe, countries speak of privacy as a fundamental right, which is not a concept we see in England or the United States.” – European, US Media Face New Tests With NSA Spying, AP, 16NOV13



Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to Germany and the NSA


1. German TV: Snowden says NSA also spies on industry


Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 26 January 2014


BERLIN (AP) — Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claims in a new interview that the U.S. agency is involved in industrial espionage.


German public television broadcaster ARD released a written statement before an interview airing Sunday night in which it quotes Snowden as saying that if German engineering company Siemens had information that would benefit the United States — but had nothing to do with national security needs — the National Security Agency would still use it.


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2. Snowden claims US NSA could have been spying on German govt members


Media: Itar-Tass (Russia)

Byline: N/A

Date: 27 January 2014


BERLIN, January 27 (Itar-Tass) – US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has claimed Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) closely cooperates with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and with an intelligence alliance between Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, known as Five Eyes.


Snowden, a former NSA contractor, told the German TV channel NDR on Sunday that the BND and the NSA share not only information but also tools and infrastructure to achieve common goals.


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3. Berlin and Washington still ‘far apart’ on NSA, Merkel says


Media: Reuters

Byline: Stephen Brown

Date: 29 January 2014


BERLIN (Reuters) – Berlin and Washington are still “far apart” in their views on the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of Germany but they remain close allies, Chancellor Angela Merkel told parliament on Wednesday.


In the first major policy speech of her third term, the conservative leader said nobody doubted that domestic and allied foreign intelligence agencies helped to protect the German people from terrorism and crime.


“But does that make it right for our closest allies, like the United States or Britain, to access all imaginable data – arguing that it helps their own security and that of their partners?” she said towards the end of a one-hour speech to the Bundestag.


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4. US spy chief calls on Snowden to return NSA documents


Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 29 January 2014


WASHINGTON, Jan 29, 2014 (AFP) – Leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have damaged America’s national security and he should return the secret documents he has “stolen,” the US spy chief said Wednesday.


Snowden’s disclosures since June have revealed the National Security Agency’s vast electronic eavesdropping operations, sparking global outrage and prompting calls in Congress to curtail the NSA’s powers.


But James Clapper, director of national intelligence, delivered a scathing condemnation of Snowden at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying his leaks have aided America’s adversaries and undermined cooperation with foreign partners.


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5. Kerry seeks to calm German anger at NSA reports


Media: Associated Press

Byline: N/A

Date: 31 January 2014


BERLIN (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry has made clear that the United States takes German anger over the NSA spying revelations seriously, and insists the two countries can put the episode behind them.


Kerry on Friday described the discord between Berlin and Washington as “bumps in the road” that could be resolved peacefully.


But speaking to the press before meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and after talks with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Kerry gave no indication that the U.S. would sign a “no spy” accord that Germany wants, much less apologize for its past actions.


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6. NSA spying creates more damage than security: German minister


Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)

Byline: Joseph Nasr

Date: 31 January 2014


Munich (dpa) – Revelations of a US spying programme that collects millions of electronic messages at home and abroad has damaged the United States’ relations with its European allies instead of improving common security, a German minister said Friday.


“The political damage is greater than the security policy benefits across the Atlantic and beyond,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said at the Munich Security Conference.


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