'Germany NSA spy scandal will give boost to nationalist organizations'
You might remember the German Chancellor's fury after it was revealed America's National Security Agency had been eavesdropping on her for years.
WikiLeaks has now released more than two thousand files detailing close co-operation between the German and US spy agencies.
RT: As we heard, these new documents show that German intelligence willingly helped the US spy on German citizens. How damaging is that revelation?
John Kiriakou: I think that in and of itself is a damaging revelation. A spy agency - no matter what country it happens to be in - should never ever circumvent its elected leadership. I think this is a scandal.
RT: Germany is the EU's most powerful country, so it's generally seen as leading Europe. But if German intelligence is taking orders from Washington, what does that say about the EU as a whole and its global standing?
JK: It says more about the relationship between Angela Merkel and her intelligence services. I think most German officials, politicians, people involved in the intelligence services would agree that the relationship between Germany and the US is bigger than the US spying on Germany or bigger than Edward Snowden not being allowed to testify in Germany. That’s one issue. People can agree to disagree on an issue like that, but when a spy agency is circumventing its elected leadership, then chaos could reign.
The Germans are fairly upset, and saying that it is causing consternation… it is showing that their own government is basically subservient to the US. I think a lot of Germans sort of realized this anyway at this point. It makes it more difficult for people to kind of duck the reality that the German government is basically acting like a puppet of the US and possibly even because the BND is working hand in glove with the NSA and the CIA that it may have an ability to subvert any independent actions by members of parliament or the Merkel government. - Dave Lindorff, founding editor of the news website thiscantbehappening.netdone
RT: It's understandable that the US would want to spy on hostile countries but Germany is a close ally. What could the NSA gain from spying on German citizens?
JK: This is the dirty little secret of intelligence, and this is certainly not unique to the US, but every country spies on every other country. This goes back to the end of the Second World War. The US spies on its allies, its allies spy on the US, the Soviet Union spied on its allies and vice-versa. It is just something that is done, it is kept in the shadows, it is not very nice to talk about, but it is a fact of life.
RT: The Chancellor has come under increasing pressure with parties like the nationalist, Euroskeptic "Alternative For Germany" party gaining momentum. Can they take advantage of scandals like this?
JK: I think so. I think this is something that is really appealing to nationalist organizations or populist movements - not just in Germany, but elsewhere around Europe. We are seeing the far right ascendant in places like France, in Greece, in Italy, certainly in Germany, even in the Low Countries. It is a trend right now. We saw it in the US with the recent election of Donald Trump. So, this is not just a fleeting whim that voters are subscribing to; this is a movement, and it crosses borders.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.