back to article Germany drops probe into NSA's Merkel phone-hacking

German attorney general (Generalbundesanwalt) Harald Range has dropped the investigation into spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel because the allegation could not be proved by “legally watertight means.” In October 2013, media reports suggested that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had snooped on Mutti’s phone. …

  1. Gordon 10

    Well Duh

    The Traditional way of dealing with spying is to expel a diplomat or 2. If the Germans were not actually prepared to do this any purely legal avenue was sure to be a waste of effort.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well Duh

      Not quite.

      They did _NOT_ exercise the proper pure legal avenue: to subpoena 3 well known telcos and get the relevant data about taps they supply to other countries under the threat of revocation of their license to operate and in the case of one of them the spectrum licenses. As per the conditions of their licenses and the relevant domestic law.

      That option was _NOT_ exercised which shows that there was never ever an attempt to investigate this in earnest. Any "upset" Prime Ministers were purely for public and press consumption. The investigation used only "available" documents which were rather err.. useless... So the results were predicated on the choice of documents to use.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: Well Duh

        It wasn't just the NSA that was eavesdropping. The BND was doing it too and may have been supplying the data to other parties as well. THAT may have been the reason why the investigation was dropped as it would be fairly embarrassing to both aggrieved parties.

        Let's face facts, all countries spy on each other to one extent or another. Started about the time we began to build walls around cities.

        That practice will stop shortly after the Earth stops rotating on it's axis, just slightly before entropy causes the heat death of the Universe.

  2. iLuddite

    The entire affair sounds scripted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Speaking of affairs, they maybe discovered that Mutti is a lesbian mud-wrestler in her spare time so any investigation was dropped.

      Whatever they actually found, it's clear there must be something embarrassing since Mutti is slavishly following the US Mothership orders to weaken the EU and stop doing business with those "nasty" Russians.

  3. 404

    Somebody/something got paid

    Cash and/or services...

    Farmers vs. milk cows - we being the cattle.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Somebody/something got paid

      Not necessarily.

      NSA to German security services: "You remember that little problem you had about your spying on the rest of Europe? Wouldn't it be a shame if the full details got out?"

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    So, last year the federal prosecutor Harald Range was hysterically and specifically claiming "sufficient factual evidence exists that unknown members of the US intelligence services spied on the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel", and now he has to admit that he actually had zero hard evidence! What a political buffoon!

  5. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    "It wasn't just the NSA that was eavesdropping. The BND was doing it too and may have been supplying the data to other parties as well. THAT may have been the reason why the investigation was dropped as it would be fairly embarrassing to both aggrieved parties."

    Indeed. The info's come out that BND was/is involved in large scale surveillance just as the NSA is, it would have been fairly hypocritical of the Germans to REALLY pursue the tapping of Merkel's phone when the BND is doing the exact same thing to so many others.

  6. robertcirca

    No guts anymore

    The Germans do not have guts anymore. After world war II we were educated to be docile and feel sorry for what our parents and grandparents did. However, the problem is different. Most people do not care about privacy anymore.

    George Orwell (1984) is as amazing as Jules Vernes. Both were far ahead of their time.

    WhatsApp /Google / Facebook?? - special services and everybody else who wants to know anything about you have lots of voluntary and unpaid employees. and it is YOU.

    Yes, I am German.

    However, one of the few advantages of being a German nowadys is being a German tourist. For reasons unknown to me, the rest of the world seems to like us.

    By the way, I always behave in such a way that someone else might accept me (I even give tips).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: No guts anymore

      Maybe the rest of the world likes Germans because you have become so agreeable?

      NSA: We'd really like to know what Angie Merkel is talking about when she's on that mobile phone of hers.

      BND: Sure, why not? And while we're at it, we have a warehouse full of beer and a few extra luxury sedans we're trying to get rid of. Can you take those?

      NSA: (sigh) OK, if you insist...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No guts anymore

      I tend to agree. The worst part is exactly the "pissing away your privacy on social media" argument that you hint at.

      To my horror, many people I talk to do not even get the difference between the voluntary act of putting something private on social media and being involuntarily spied on 24/7.

      I am talking about upright, intelligent, well educated and IT-savvy Germans that sometimes I even went to school with. So I remember exactly how we read/watched and discussed all the distopian literature and movies. I remember exactly how we were educated ad nauseam about the Third Reich and how to spot fascism in all its guises. And yet, seemingly, they just don't get it. In particular that it is upon them to stand up for their rights because nobody else will.

      They are docile, happy consumers, pampered into submission by our incredibly high standard of living, with no concept of what they actually have to lose.

      They are subjects, not citizens.

  7. Christian Berger

    Small missunderstanding

    They didn't look into the NSA phone hacking, they looked into the NASA:

    The NSA doing mass surveillance in Germany would obviously be absurd that's why that part of the story was dismissed immediately. If the NSA did such things they would surely say so in the questioners we sent them. ;)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can vividly imagine…

    … Range trying to get a hold of "the original (digital) files". Impressive, most impressive. If this is the effort put into the scandalous no-go (LOL) of spying on our Chancellor, how enormous must be their efforts to investigate the spying on the other 80 million of us.

    Where can I exchange my home country? This one seems broken but all official channels keep telling me that the warranty (as in the Grundgesetz, which passes for a constitution around here) is still valid.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you believe Snowden...'ll get a good snow job.

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