The spying scandal of some of the leaders of the most important countries in the occidental world, including Germany, the UK and France, by the National Security Agency (NSA) came out on the news this past October 6th. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose personal phone was hacked, said the allegations had shattered trust in President Barack Obama’s administration and undermined the crucial trans-Atlantic relationship.
The NSA has been secretly spying millions of citizens all around the world, including countries such as France, Germany, Spain and the U.S. But this new scandal is not that recent since it has been going on ever since Bush’s administration. This scandal was uncovered by CIA agent Edward Snowden, who revealed that the Government of the United States used a certain spying programme to watch the communications of millions of people around the world. Right now Snowden is hiding in Russia and will never be able to come back to his home country. While the U.S media shows him as a traitor, in other countries he is seen as tragic hero and many have lost the trust in Obama and the U.S.
Meanwhile, Obama assured he was not aware of the NSA’s spying on European countries as well as the american citizens. But after several months of denying his knowledge -and approval- of the spying operation, and lying Angela Merkel on the phone, the Economic Times writes the “high-ranking” NSA official declared that the president, “not only did not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue.” Apparently, President Obama found out about the spying operation 3 years ago, and reports say hat Angela Merkel’s personal phone has been hacked since 2002, when she was a member of the opposition in Germany.
This is a big issue for the government of the United States. Spying his allies could cost the U.S more than they think in terms of international relations, political agreements, economic deals and so on. So their strategy is to make this issue a minor deal by using the media. There is a noticeable difference between how European media tells the story and how the United States media does. For instance, Spanish headlines were some such as: “The United states spied the cell phones of 35 worldwide leaders”. On the other hand video was posted on the HuffPost Politics online newspaper informing what Senator Marco Rubio said to all European leaders: “Everyone spies on everybody”. This way, the American newspaper gave the issue little importance.
The first attempts made by the government to handle the story were not really effective. Lying about such an obvious case brought nothing but suspicion by the American citizens as well as the European allies. So the next strategy the government is trying is make the spotlight move from this story to distract people. Like my professor used to say: “Who controls the media controls the population”. The government has the power of distort or twist the reality, without technically lying about. And of course people believe it.
I wonder what the consequences are going to be for obama and the U.S now. We probably won’t know the real story until decades from now. And maybe European leaders are showing their indignity on a public level, but lets be realistic, with The United States being on of the most -if not the most- powerful and influential country in the world, and European leaders need to look after their own countries, so they will probably not take the risk of breaking off their agreements and international ties with the United States. However, on a private level, they will make the U.S pay.
This satiric video by Marta Cillero shows the friendship of President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.