Merkel grilled over US espionage scandal

Merkel grilled over US espionage scandal
Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:47:30

Opposition parties in Germany have criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel over government’s refusal to reveal details of US spying of European officials.

The parties have reacted to Merkel’s recent press conference where she defended her stance on the US spying program, saying her government is applying “inappropriate pressure” on Washington.

Merkel’s center-left challenger, Peer Steinbrueck, termed her comments a sign of “alarming cluelessness and helplessness.”

“I get the impression that she is simply sitting waiting in the chancellery for our American partners to inform her,” said Steinbrueck.

The Green Party reacted by saying Merkel was not at all convincing in her speech.

“Merkel’s performance at the press conference was not only an insult to all listeners who expected explanations, but also an intellectual insult to all those who work in the chancellery, pretending not to have known about anything,” said Green deputy leader Volker Beck.

During her press conference on July 19, Merkel was reluctant to directly criticize the US, saying Washington needs more time to give all the answers and that she could not force the US to change its laws.

Merkel said a list of questions had been submitted to the US and that Berlin is waiting for answers however “the work is not complete. It is ongoing.”

In addition, the Chancellor repeated her message from Obama’s visit to Berlin in June that surveillance measures in Germany could not be allowed to grow out of proportion with what is actually needed.

Merkel and her ministers claim they were first informed about the US spying programs from press reports however a report published on July 17 by German daily Bild revealed that the German military has been aware of the surveillance for years.

A recent poll ran by public broadcaster ARD shows that over two thirds of those questioned are not happy with how the German government is handling the US spying affair.

In June, Edward Snowden, an American former technical contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA) and a former employee of the CIA, leaked documents showing the US spied on the European Union and monitored up to a half-billion German telephone calls and internet activities each month.


string(661) "[{"id":"1493708","sort":"3056075","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/11/alalam_635091291347887124_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"US Poll: Snowden a whistleblower, not traitor"} ,{"id":"1495513","sort":"3056076","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/16/alalam_635095991126764543_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Snowden submits asylum request to Russia"} ,{"id":"1495319","sort":"3056077","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/07/16/alalam_635095589071384569_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"US trapping Snowden in Russia: Putin"} ,{"id":"1487235","sort":"3056078","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/06/23/alalam_635076156023067816_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"China: US is biggest villain in our age"} ]"