German Government Outraged by US Snooping Scandal
security is not an end itself, but a means to ensure freedom”
BERLIN - The German government is demanding explanations from the US after it emerged that its secret spying programme Prism collected more information from Germany than any other EU country.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to raise the issue when she receives US President Barack Obama in Berlin next week, her spokesman said on Monday (10 June).
Data privacy is a very sensitive topic in Germany and the cluelessness of Merkel’s government about the affair may become an issue in September’s elections.
“Everything we know we found out from the media,” interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said on Tuesday in a press conference in Berlin.
Its head of domestic intelligence, Hans-Georg Maassen, standing beside Friedrich, added: “I knew nothing about it.”
The ministry of interior is working on a questionnaire for the US government to find out the extent and the legal basis for the collection of data from Germany, he added.
Meanwhile, German justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a Liberal politician, wrote in an op-ed for Spiegel Online that reports about Prism are “deeply worrying” and “dangerous.”
She contradicted US leader Barack Obama, who recently said you cannot have 100 percent security and 100 percent privacy at the same time.
“I do not share this view. A society is less free, the more its citizens are being surveilled, controlled and scrutinised. In a democratic system, security is not an end itself, but a means to ensure freedom,” she wrote.