How the NSA poisoned relations between Merkel and Hollande; and recruited news agency informants to spy on key European economic figures

25 Jun
NSA spoof sticker

National Spying Agency – ‘You talk, we listen’

translated from the German in ‘die Welt’


Für Hollande war Treffen mit Merkel angeblich “Show”


Enthüllungen von Medien und Wikileaks sollen belegen, wie die NSA Frankreichs Staatsspitze abhörte. Dokumentiert ist offenbar auch Misstrauen gegenüber der Griechenland-Politik von Kanzlerin Merkel.


The NSA has, according to information from Wikileaks, also (in addition to Angela Merkel), kept the last three French Presidents under surveillance. Top secret reports as well as technical documents relate also to François Hollande.

A definite proof, that the NSA had spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel, could before long be provided. There are actually hints or references, and Washington denied any association with the report. A call log or similar has however not emerged.

There seems to be something else on France’s head of state. The (freedom of information) platform Wikileaks released several secret documents, which stem from the surveillance activities of the NSA between 2006 and 2012…

Those affected were… high-ranking French politicians, among them the three French Presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. Yet also from the German perspective the reports were explosive: the targets are marked through the appropriate local agents – (an issue) which currently present such major tensions between the USA and Germany. And in one of the documents there are details of the tough wrangling between France and Germany over the Greek question.

Tensions between Merkel and Holland

One of the reports published illuminated the bargaining position of the French in May 2012. Hollande had by then already replaced Sarkozy as president. By the middle of the month he had travelled to Berlin. All heads of state were going to the meeting on the Euro crisis. Greece loomed much like today on the abyss.

Merkel and Hollande’s predecessor Sarkozy had established similar positions on the Euro question, despite their differences. Germany and France set the course in Europe. This alliance was now showing cracks. Hollande was showing himself open to changes to the European fiscal pact. Merkel was holding firm on this. In principle though Holland and Merkel were united: in view of the dramatic developments in Greece, they spoke of a way to re-situate it out of the Eurozone countries. They would do all they could to boost the economy. So said the official statements.

However now an official document shows, that much remained unspoken. The secret NSA Protocol dates from the 22 May 2012. The analysis looks behind the scenes and gives insights into the different negotiating positions. It is an indication what Americans might mean, when they say that they are collecting information, for them and their allies “so they can have early warning of financial crises that threaten.”

Hollande felt the meeting with Merkel was a “show”

The note deals with the Euro crisis and a possible Greek exit from the currency area. The subject of the secret NSA documents will be the communication between top officials. Hollande accordingly felt the meeting with Merkel was “Show,” of which nothing was going to come. The President complained of her rigorous adherence to the fiscal pact, which should hold the debts confined.

The French side then wanted apparently a possible Greek exit from the Euro and to discuss the possible consequences for the French economy. Hollande had passed on confidential interviews. He was becoming worried, that the deliberations would permeate to the public and the crisis could tighten.

In the NSA analysis is also a conversation showing, that the French side after what in their view were disappointing talks with Merkel, were planning a secret meeting with the SPD-Spitze, what was then the biggest opposition party in Germany. Themes would be the crisis and a possible Greek exit from the Euro-area.

The middle of June it was finally open. A troika consisting of party leader Sigmar Gabriel, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Peer Steinbrück travelled to Paris. Such a visit of a collection of the principal opposition figures to the President had never before been given. Secret, though, the meeting was not. Together the Social Democrats and French Socialists wanted to increase the pressure on Merkel.

With the new publications emerged further secret documents on the core workings of the NSA from outside. The origin of the information remains however unclear. Only four days before the finalisation of the NSA note, Holland met with US President Barack Obama in the White House. From the 18th to the 19th of May 2012 the G8 met in Camp David. The dominant theme there was also the debt crisis.

It was also noted, that the host of the International Summit for Communication interested those present. The ‘Guardian’ had reported for about two years, how the British intelligence monitored top diplomats culminating in 2009.

No hint of support from the BND

“Mediapart” has in its reporting about the revelation starting using the term ‘foreign satellite.’ By that meaning, that the phone tapping and the technology did not originate in America. Also if the French journalists afterwards hint on the current allegations against the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – nothing in the documents indicates, that the German news service was involved in the monitoring of the French.

In the past week it has become known, that the NSA had for years select BSD telephone numbers or email addresses transmitted. Assisting with research for these searches, on the communication in crisis states, was Bavarian Bad Aibling. According to the Federal Government, of the thousand of those approached each one was working against German interests: they took, for example, European businesses or ministries in sight.

(links to article on this here

Hollande at least tried. Afterwards the ever-professional Frenchman stated: “We have made things clear. The mutual trust is restored.”


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