By Matt Jackson
Last week, the United States government entered a new dramatic chapter of the National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal. After months of continuous revelations about the government snooping into the lives of American citizens, it was revealed by Der Spiegel, a German newspaper, that President Barack Obama approved the organization’s spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Der Spiegel claims that a high-ranking NSA official confirmed this news, stating, “Not only did [he] not stop the operation, but he also ordered it to continue.” The rest of the headline plays out like a stereotypical soap opera, including claims that the president ordered investigations into the most private areas of the chancellor’s life. However, the American public should not be so quick as to trust such an unreliable source.
The new revelation of the NSA scandal came in the midst of what was a terrible week for the Obama administration: it was a week that included the disastrous launch of the president’s healthcare plan and government hearings attempting to stop the program’s launch. Such headlines like the latest NSA development have a tendency of coming along at difficult times for the administration. While this may simply be an unfortunate coincidence, when considering the source of the headline, its reliability may be called into question.
Last Wednesday, the president’s national security advisor, Susan Rice, told the New York Times that this latest revelation is far from true. The claims may be further falsified in other accusations made by Der Spiegel, including one that the U.S. spy agency has monitored Markel since 2002, well before President Obama was in office. Therefore, if the report claims the president authorized the NSA spying on Markel, how could he have done so in the year of 2002?
These revelations follow other recent allegations that the U.S. spied on the phone calls of French and German citizens, prompting officials from both countries to question their respective American ambassadors. All of the latest allegations stem from the classified documents that were recently leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. However, the files that were leaked by the former government official did not include documents supporting these latest allegations.
Der Spiegel went on to claim that the chancellor’s cellphone number had been part of a special surveillance list used by the NSA in June of this year. Such dramatic claims, made by such a biased news source, should not be trusted by naïve news watchers. The president does not have any interest in the private life of the German chancellor, and has never had good reasoning to monitor her conversations. Such far-out claims as those alleged by the German newspaper have no solid ground to stand upon.
If these latest allegations were proven to be true, the United States government would find itself in uncharted territory, as it would imply that our country is spying on close allies.
However, there is no trustworthy evidence placing the leader of the free world at the crime scene. The American public would be better served if the media would ignore such petty gossip and acknowledge the problems our country actually faces. Such a miracle, however, is unlikely to ever occur.