NSA Spied on Germany to Help CIA Avoid Torture Scrutiny

NSA Discovered Former FM Didn't Want to Ask 'Tough Questions'

A new batch of Wikileaks documents shows that NSA surveillance of German officials extended to former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, an operation that centered largely on his role in investigating CIA torture and keeping US officials appraised of the situation.

Steinmeier, per the reports, didn’t appear too interested in investigating CIA torture flights going through German airports, and the NSA reported he seemed “thrilled” that his tactic of avoiding asking direct questions had succeeded, and relieved that Condi Rice had given him nothing he “had to” look too far into.

US officials were warning Germany at the time that bilateral relations could be negatively effected if German officials looked too deeply into the torture program, and this appears to have played a role in Steinmeier’s aversion to probing too far.

While NSA surveillance has been hurting US-German relations with its repeated targeting of top officials, the latest revelation may also badly embarrass the German government for its relative ambivalence about investigating torture at the time.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.