In all of the outrage by the Germans over the NSA tapping the cell phone of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, as well equally aggrieved complaints from Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and France over mass surveillance of their citizens one thing seems to be missing: Red faces in the security organizations in those nations over the fact they didn't know that the NSA was "inside" their communications infrastructure.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is not happy hercell phone has been bugged by the NSA ... for 10 years
While we can suppose the NSA's surveillance of public telephone and Internet traffic might not be quite so difficult given how much infrastructure American communications companies own and control abroad isn't it incredible that Germany, which is definitely not a technologically inept nation, could allow their chancellor's cell phone to be compromised! Moreover, it has been reported that the bugging may have been going on for a decade!
But wouldn't you of thought that someone as politically important as Angela Merkel would only use an encrypted cell service? Wouldn't you have thought that the German government security services would be on the lookout for bugging?
Of course, the idea that the US spies on other countries (or even its own citizens) isn't exactly news. The NSA has been building up their signals intelligence abilities since they were founded in 1952 and their budget got a huge boost following 9/11 so the idea that they would hold back in any way from expanding their mission is, at best, naive. While the recent Snowden revelations have provided confirmation of the extraordinary breadth and depth of the NSA's activities you can't argue that what the NSA has been up to is at all unexpected.
All of this furore has to be seen in its correct context: Purely political maneuverings driven by anti-American sentiment in Europe, South America, and the Far East. And then there's the other side of the coin: We know full well that all of the aggrieved countries also have their own domestic and international surveillance operations it's just that apparently, considering the United States has been able to bug Merkel's cell phone for a decade, just much better at being sneaky than the other guys are. Pots, meet the bigger, badder kettle.