Whistleblower: NSA secretly continues Merkel surveillance by bugging other German officials

An anonymous NSA leaker revealed to the German magazine Bild am Sonntag that the agency has been spying on senior German government figures. The move is apparently a response to Obama prohibiting the agency from spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel (or other world leaders) without his authorization — by spying on the people with whom Merkel communicates, the agency is still able to intercept a large fraction of her most sensitive communications without presidential authorization.

Two amazing facts about this story:

1. The NSA is out of control. The president of the United States, the man who has the final say over NSA policy, directly ordered them to stop spying on Angela Merkel. NSA spooks then cooked up a way of continuing to spy on Chancellor Merkel anyway, using a flimsy pretense unworthy of four-year-old. (This is assuming that Obama himself didn't wink-nudge them and say, "Actually, go ahead and keep spying on her but not personally, OK?"

2. Snowden isn't alone. When the NSA breaks its own rules, other whistleblowers come forward. This probably won't stop any time soon.

On Sunday it was revealed that the NSA, forbidden by President Obama from tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone directly, has ramped up its spying on her senior government officials, according to the German Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag. The paper said that the information's source is an anonymous, high-ranking NSA official stationed in Germany.

NSA moves from bugging German Chancellor to bugging German ministers [Megan Geuss/Ars Technica]