Is this not Ironic, but many nations do it to each other, to see what they are really saying in real time. Its the game nations play. Embassy Espionage: The NSA's Secret Spy Hub in Berlin http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cover-story-how-nsa-spied-on-merkel-cell-phone-from-berlin-embassy-a-930205.html Also, this article in todays The Australian, a great paper. 28 Oct 2013The AustralianTOBY HARNDEN BOJAN PANCEVSKI THE SUNDAY TIMES ADDITIONAL REPORTING: MATTHEW CAMPBELL, JAMES GILLESPIEhttp://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/sorry-angela-but-berlin-does-it-too/story-fnb64oi6-1226747832259 SORRY, ANGELA, BUT BERLIN DOES IT TOO The German Chancellor should have known the US was listening WHEN Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, was told last week that her trusty Nokia 6210 Slide had been monitored by the US National Security Agency from Fort Meade, Maryland, her reaction seemed to be one of genuine outrage. PICTURES: AP; AFP; MINISTRY OF DEFENCE Who’s spying on who? German Chancellor Angela Merkel is said to have been outraged; Barack Obama, below left, uses a $US14,000 spy-proof mobile; French President Francois Hollande has voiced indignation; but Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, below right, was likely listening in also What she might have paused to consider, however, was that if the phone, which she had for four years before swapping to a BlackBerry Z10 in July, was so insecure then the Chinese and the Russians were probably also listening in. It is highly likely as well, according to US intelligence sources, that officers at Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, along with French spies, were eavesdropping too. If the Nokia had been fitted with a conference call function, one former US official joked, then everyone could have joined in on an interesting discussion about just who was spying on whom. Ironically, the GSM phone network in Europe is so easy to penetrate largely because it was designed on the advice of continental spy agencies eager to monitor conversations. The NSA was so concerned about President Barack Obama’s commercial BlackBerry when he took office in 2009 that it persuaded him to use a secure one at a cost of $US14,000. Obama may lose even that if Lenovo, the Chinese-owned computer company, buys the BlackBerry brand from its Canadian owner. In 2008 the Obama campaign website was hacked by the Chinese for information about his donors. ‘‘The dilemma here is it’s so easy to do this that there’s an embarrassment of riches,’’ says James Lewis, a former State Department official and cybersecurity specialist at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. ‘‘The only problem is resources. There aren’t that many people at NSA.’’ The NSA’s monitoring of Merkel’s phone, he says, was likely to have been sporadic and for a specific reason, such as an approaching summit. This may be the case, although NSA documents obtained by the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that Merkel’s mobile was put on the agency’s target list in 2002 — and still featured on it several weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June. It said NSA and CIA operatives monitored German government communications from a unit called the Special Collection Service in Berlin’s Pariser Platz, close to Merkel’s office. Similar listening posts, all set up at the end of the 1970s, exist in about 80 other cities round the world. Merkel’s public indignation and the shocked reaction of Francois Hollande, the French President, have been met with eye-rolls not only from Americans but also among their own spies. Bernard Squarcini, head of intelligence under Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, said Hollande’s outrage sounded ‘‘disconcertingly naive’’. The French President would not have been so shocked about the American snooping if he had read the reports from his own spy chiefs, Squarcini says. ‘‘All countries, even allies cooperating in the anti-terrorist struggle, are spying on each other,’’ he says. ‘‘The Americans spy on us in the commercial and industrial field and we also spy on them because it is in the national interest to defend our companies. Everyone knows it.’’ There is a long and colourful history of the French spying on the US. In 1991 another former head of the French secret services revealed that microphones had been placed under first-class seats on Air France flights to eavesdrop on US businessmen. American and French intelligence chiefs signed an agreement in 1988 not to steal each other’s commercial secrets, but both sides appear to ignore it. Tales abound of French agents slipping into Parisian hotel rooms in the 1990s to search through the briefcases of visiting businessmen. Sarkozy had no doubts that he was being spied on. Countermeasures recommended by his security t eam had included a mobile phone supposed to be safe from eavesdropping. But he did not use it because it took 30 seconds to get a dial tone. In a further apparent sign of Hollande’s hypocrisy, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, France shares information with the US and Britain under a program codenamed Lustre, the German media reports. So do Israel, Sweden and Italy. Anthony Glees, director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at Britain’s Buckingham University, says that despite such co-operation it is routine for allies to spy on each other. ‘‘Any agency worth its salt would do it. You would want your money back if they didn’t do it,’’ Glees says. ‘‘We have done it. MI6 had a spy in the Bundesbank (about 20 years ago), whether a person or a bug I don’t know. The British government wanted to know about interest rates and the policy on the single currency. So they all do it.’’ Merkel, he says, was ‘‘completely idiotic’’ if she did not suspect the NSA might try to eavesdrop on her conversations. Last week, the German newspaper Bild claimed the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German equivalent of Britain’s MI6, monitored telephone calls as well as text messages and emails in the US. The BND told Bild: ‘‘We take what we can get. If someone offers us information, for instance, about the Americans, we will not throw it in the bin.’’ Lewis accepts that Snowden’s leaks, which he believes were calculated to portray America as engaging in ‘‘uniquely evil activity’’, have badly damaged relations with Germany. The ‘‘Five Eyes’’ agreement, which began with Britain and the US agreeing not to spy on each other and was later extended to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, regulates spying among the leading English-speaking nations, but there is no such deal with Germany. Now, Lewis says, there may have to be ‘‘some kind of common understandings and maybe constraints, maybe a degree of transparency’’ in order to mollify the Germans. For now the US administration seems unrepentant. ‘‘People at a senior level are still in the mode of, ‘Well, everybody spies and no one should be surprised and it’s our right to do this and if we’re quiet maybe this will go away’. They have not yet realised the scope of the damage,’’ Lewis says. German indignation, driven by public opinion, could endanger trade talks, hamper the effort to formulate better rules for cybersecurity and even affect US companies doing business in Germany. Most serious would be a decision by the Germans to scale back on sharing counter-terrorism intelligence. Senior NSA officials have contemplated going public with details of German and French spying on the US, but have been dissuaded for now. ‘‘If the uproar continues, people will be made to realise just how pervasive surveillance is by at least a dozen countries,’’ Lewis says.