Leading trans-Atlantic analysts have reacted with shock and horror to the weekend revelations by SPIEGEL regarding the extent to which the American National Security Agency (NSA) spied on Germany and on European Union facilities.
“This is a very serious problem for the trans-Atlantic relationship,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe program for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It will make Washington’s work with Europe more difficult on a full range of issues, such as (the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement). Add this to a pre-election environment (in Germany) and the challenge becomes greater.”
The revelations are “very awkward,” agrees Charles Kupchan of Georgetown University. In the administration of President Bill Clinton, Kupchan was in charge of European issues on the National Security Council. Jack Janes, from the influential American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, says: “US Secretary of State John Kerry and possibly the president will have to address this publicly soon. They can’t stall any longer.”