Can trust be restored? This was the question European leaders were asking in Brussels as one allegation of US spying after another was revealed this week.
To this end, German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined up with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to draft a UN resolution on the protection of civil liberties. Both were allegedly subject to the NSA’s electronic eavesdropping.
Germany and France called for a no-spying transatlantic code of conduct to be drawn up by the end of the year, but Claude Moniquet, President of European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, has doubts:
“I am not so sure it’s very realistic to think that the US will sit around the table with the French and the Germans and others and discuss their intelligence programmes and discuss any limitation to their intelligence capacity,” he said.
“When it comes to dealing with China, when it comes to selling products, high-added value products to other parts of the world, you are no more the best friend of your ally. You are a competitor.”
EU leaders warned that rather helping the fight against terrorism, the lack of trust between allies could harm intelligence sharing. The US aimed to calm the storm of suspicion.
“The President has directed us to review, directed the government to review our surveillance activities, including with respect to our foreign partners. We wanted to be sure we’re collecting information because we need it and not just because we can. Going forward, we will, of course continue to gather the information we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe,” explained State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The NSA was apparently subject to a cyber attack, with their website being taken down. Although there is no confirmation on the source of the attack, the agency has an expanding range of people with grievances against it.