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Radar domes at the Bad Aibling station in Bavaria: The Merkel government has made little progress at calming the storm kicked up by the NSA spying scandal. Monday, August 5, was the day that the German government hoped would finally provide some relief in the ongoing surveillance scandal.

That morning, a member of the Bundesnachrichtendienst BNDGermany's foreign intelligence agency, stationed at the embassy in Washington picked up four German officials at a local hotel. The four were part of a high-ranking delegation that had landed in the US capital a day earlier. Keith Alexander received his German visitors in a windowless, air-conditioned conference room. He greeted them with a friendly "How are you? Alexander, 61, is a graduate of the legendary West Point military academy, a four-star general, the father of four daughters and, for the past eight years, director of the NSA.

And he was also the man who was supposed to take the pressure off Merkel's conservative government. And Alexander delivered. He had his people prepare a paper: a single sheet of white paper, but one without letterhead or a cover letter or a name to indicate that someone could later be held able. This impersonal list of facts had been approved, word for word, by the agency's legal department. According to a German translation of the document, it says that the NSA abides by all agreements that have been reached with the German government, represented by the German intelligence agencies, and has always done so in the past.

The general's note was what the Germans have been waiting for all these weeks. It was the document that they had long been hoping would absolve Berlin of all responsibility in the data scandal sparked by the intelligence leaks of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. This slip of paper is supposedly proof that the Germans -- and, indeed, the NSA -- have done nothing wrong.

The key sentence in that document also says that the GCHQ's work is subject to the legal requirements of both countries at all times. Shortly thereafter, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich enthusiastically noted that the allegations had "disappeared into thin air. So, all is well? That was at least the opinion of the Frankfurter Allgemeinea leading conservative newspaper in Germany, which published a commentary announcing that the "German election chapter 'Worldwide Presence of American Intelligence Agencies' has been closed.

The minister, who is a member of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party FDPthe junior partner in Merkel's ruling coalition, wrote: "An honest response to the question of how involved we are in this surveillance can only be: right in the middle. Indeed, ever since Snowden leaked the first classified documents early last June, the true extent of US data surveillance has remained unclear. Hardly any of the allegations have been credibly refuted -- not even by the Chancellery. Under the search term " PofallabeendetDinge" literally, " Pofalla puts an end to things"Tumblr bloggers have been poking fun at the sheer chutzpah of the Merkel aide with quips like "In my view, Schubert's 8th Symphony is now over.

Pofalla's defense strategy rests on a shaky foundation: The German government is relying on the solemn statements of British and US intelligence agencies. Yet it has turned a blind eye to the fact that spreading disinformation, maintaining secrets, bending the rules and using lies and deception are as integral to the game of espionage as Parmesan cheese is to spaghetti Bolognese -- even among the intelligence agencies of democratic states.

He also assured the visitors that everything was done by the book. In Pofalla's eyes, this also makes him a key witness for the government's defense. But Clapper may not be the most reliable source. Last March, he told the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA did "not wittingly" snoop on the communications of American citizens -- a statement that was shortly thereafter exposed as a lie.

He said that the response that he gave the committee, under oath, was "the least untruthful" testimony, but soon admitted that his statement was "clearly erroneous. As part of a rare act of collaboration, a bipartisan group of 26 US senators sent a written complaint to Clapper maintaining that his statements, and those of other officials, were "misleading the public" and "will unfortunately undermine trust in government more broadly.

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The credibility of other key witnesses for Pofalla has also been shaken. Alexander and his NSA have come under increasing pressure for deceiving the public on a of occasions. The NSA initially reacted to the Snowden leaks with a "fact sheet. Now it seems clear that the NSA can search through its database of American citizens' phone calls and s, even without a warrant, thanks to a legal loophole dating back to Furthermore, the intelligence agency has the authority to collect the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with "foreign targets," as the NSA calls them.

Last week, Pofalla saw how little credence could be given to official American statements -- only days after US President Barack Obama publicly insisted that NSA surveillance programs were exclusively used to prevent terrorist attacks, and that the agency was complying with all laws and regulations.

Earlier, NSA head Alexander went even further out on a limb when he made assurances that reviews of his agency's activities over four years detected "no willful or knowledgeable violations of the law or the intent of the law in this program," adding: "That's the fact. Last Thursday, however, the Washington Post revealed that the NSA has violated the privacy of US citizens and overstepped its authority thousands of times every year.

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For instance, the Snowden documents reveal that, due to a programming error, phones calls in Washington area code were intercepted because of confusion with Egypt area code Germany friday morning nsa funthe actual target of the surveillance. It comes as little surprise, though, that this escaped the attention of the branches of the government charged with overseeing NSA activity.

The most recently disclosed documents reveal that the NSA instructs its analysts not to provide too much detail in their reports to the US Department of Justice and Clapper's Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA analysts apparently feel that the illegal surveillance of US citizens presents no serious consequences. This is indicated by a document seen by SPIEGEL which states that, if Americans inadvertently fall under the scope of surveillance, it has to be reported internally, but otherwise there is "nothing to worry about.

The public justifications made by the NSA bear a startling resemblance to the fine semantics of statements that have been made by German officials, which must be read very carefully. One example of this is the most comprehensive press release in the history of the NSA, which the intelligence agency released on Friday, August 9. In one shaded section of its seven- declarationthe NSA vaguely writes that it "touches" only about 1.

It may not sound like much, but this is actually an enormous amount of data. In effect, 1. This would be roughly three times as much data as is contained in the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library whose stated mission is to provide "universal access to all knowledge. But the figure "1. Only a fraction of global Internet traffic is interesting for intelligence agencies. s and chats are targeted, for instance, but not necessarily the millions of videos that are sent or ed every day online.

This sheds a totally new light on the purportedly small figure of 1. It means that the NSA "touches" roughly half of all communications on the Web -- or, as Jarvis writes, "practically everything that matters. In view of all this, it would be grossly negligent to rely on the NSA as a key source of information. Not much value can arguably be placed on the assurances made by an agency that has demonstrably deceived and lied to the public -- an agency that Senator Wyden accuses of cultivating a "culture of misinformation.

Given these circumstances, the Snowden affair is far from over -- especially for the parliamentary opposition in Berlin. We know that there are hardly any legal limits to the foreign surveillance of the NSA," says Thomas Oppermann of the center-left Social Democrats SPDwho chairs the parliamentary committee in Berlin charged with overseeing the work of German intelligence agencies.

These are questions that Pofalla failed to answer last Monday during a five-and-half-hour session with the committee. Instead, Merkel's chief of staff first read a long-winded statement, without allowing any interruptions for questions. What's more, he referred to numerous documents that had not been made available to the committee. As of last Friday evening, the Chancellery had still not met requests to provide copies of the documents.

Pofalla, says Social Democrat Oppermann, is pursuing an "unfair, one-sided and selective spreading of information. At a press conference following his session with the committee, Pofalla also read from a prepared statement -- and with good reason: After all, this was yet another statement riddled with subtle nuances.

On a of occasions, Pofalla said the US agencies had "explained" processes and provided "written assurances" that they adhered to applicable laws "in Germany. Pofalla's response says little or nothing about what, if any, data related to Germany has been collected by the NSA. These days, very little purely domestic German digital traffic is transferred solely via German telecommunications networks.

Even s exchanged within the same city or chats with a neighbor can be routed via American or British servers and intercepted there by intelligence agencies -- all in accordance with these countries' domestic laws. The German government is aware of this.

In fact, the German Interior Ministry provided detailed answers to a written list of questions from the SPD parliamentary group.

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The government wrote that it saw no indications that foreign agencies had access to the communications infrastructure "in Germany. Indeed, interpreting the responses provided by the German government is really a job for experts in the art of political and legal hairsplitting. There are no s of a "national surveillance," according to government officials. But does the word "national" have much meaning when dealing with global data streams? The "personal data" of Germans is not passed on, the government insists.

But does this mean that other data is transferred to the Americans? In fact, the NSA says that this center is its largest analysis and production unit in Europe. Yet the German government allegedly knows nothing about any of this. Still, at least the government's response provided a bit of new information. For example, attentive readers learned the Federal Prosecutor's Office, based in the western city of in Karlsruhe, has received roughly criminal complaints based on the Snowden leaks. This Monday, Pofalla is due to testify once again before the parliamentary intelligence committee.

It will probably not be his last appearance. The opposition intends to summon him again before the German general elections are held on September It's very possible that Merkel's close aide will then be asked to testify on another related matter. The government has issued an official cabinet decision on this issue.

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At least the German government has hired professionals. Consulting giant Accenture is currently interested in purchasing Booz. Booz is also a company with an interesting past. Inthe firm broke away from Booz Allen Hamilton. Zum Inhalt springen. News Ticker Magazin Audio. Suche starten. That's all we know," he concludes. Indeed, despite all of the government's assertions, the affair is far from over.

Translated from the German by Paul Cohen. Teilen Sie Ihre Meinung mit. Melden Sie sich an und diskutieren Sie mit Anmelden.

Germany friday morning nsa fun

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