NSA Security

German Attorney General: Snowden Document on Merkel’s Bugged Phone is Fake


Germany’s top prosecutor began an investigation after documents released by international man of mystery Edward Snowden showed that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone was bugged by the NSA.

Attorney General Harald Range now says the document released by Snowden isn’t real.

via Reuters

Harald Range launched an official investigation in June, believing there was enough preliminary evidence to show unknown U.S. intelligence officers had tapped the phone, although there was not enough clarity on the issue to bring charges.

On Wednesday he said however, “the document presented in public as proof of an actual tapping of the mobile phone is not an authentic surveillance order by the NSA. It does not come from the NSA database.”

The first question that came to my mind was if the document isn’t real, where did it come from?

The next question that came to mind was if this document isn’t real, how many other documents released by Snowden are not real?

I’ll be fair and say finding no proof that the NSA spied on Merkel’s phone doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen, but if some of the documents released by Snowden aren’t real it raises a lot of questions.

How many members of the media and blosophere have been hoodwinked by fake documents?

  • Villemar

    Oh I just went to Der Shadenfreude and of course no mention of this. But plenty of constant and ongoing NSA paranoia. And one charming article about how Ferguson has rendered the hope of Obama’s Presidency completely null and void for African Americans in the U.S. Who rendered this judgment? You guessed right…their one interviewee…good old Cornell West.

    Way back in the day I thought they were a good alternate source for information from a European perspective. I soon realized they are almost as biased as Fox News. The phrase “Anti-American” has been rendered almost meaningless because of decades of overuse and abuse. But Der Spiegel definitely reflects this attitude; vastly more than any major news outlet in Western Europe.

  • WiscoJoe

    Just imagine what an actual, serious debate on NSA reform would have looked like if it hadn’t been moderated by boys crying wolf and the tabloid journalists that enable them.

  • muselet

    The first question that came to my mind was if the document isn’t real, where did it come from?

    I’m going to go out on a (rather stout) limb and suggest this might have been NSA chest-thumping, not recognized as such by Edward Snowden and company. I’m too lazy to find out, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the information came from a PowerPoint slide (the NSA seem to have been inordinately fond of PP presentations).

    Or the document could have been a dummied-up example of a surveillance order created for training purposes. “Okay, you’ve all been asking about surveillance orders. Here’s what one of those bad boys looks like. No, Johnson, we aren’t really tapping Angela Merkel’s cell phone because that would be stupid and besides, this is just an example.

    If it wasn’t before, it should now be clear that Edward Snowden had no earthly idea what he was absconding with.


    • raina

      Bears repeating: If it wasn’t before, it should now be clear that Edward Snowden had no earthly idea what he was absconding with.

      In the beginning of this saga, Snowden made sure to differentiate himself from Manning, insisting that the docs weren’t taken indiscriminately.

      • muselet


        Investigators estimated that of the 50,000 to 200,000 documents Snowden gave to Greenwald and Poitras, most were copied by Snowden while working at Dell.

        Edward Snowden worked for Dell as a contract worker for four years. That means he personally decided between 12,500 and 50,000 “carefully evaluated” documents per year were “legitimately in the public interest,” meaning he had to read many more which didn’t meet his criteria.

        If we assume every one of those documents was a single page, just reading the cleared documents is the equivalent of reading between (roughly) 35 and 150 novels every year for four years, and that’s in addition to his work duties, sleep and whatever social life he had.

        I find that unlikely.


      • trgahan

        I think the lack of sophistication and knowledge by the anti-NSA crowd over what Snowden took has been pretty obvious all along.

        They have had to either walk back, reframe, and/or move the goal posts so often I am surprised no one has thrown out their back.

        • Clyde’s Stuff

          Yeah, simply amazing. Especially when you find out almost immediately that he started off by telling the biggest whopper of all: “I just happened by chance to be working for the NSA, saw what was going on, and decided it was my duty to………”

          None of which turned out to be true. Not one word.

  • Perfect.

  • trgahan

    I already hear Pro-Snowdon trolls: “Well, that is exactly what a government attorney would say…mmmmaaaaannnnnn!”

    I hope a credible journalist follows this fake document down rabbit hole as far as it goes and we FINALLY get some transparency on the Transparency activists….but, to engage in baseless speculation, given who they have criticized and who they haven’t, my wild guess is there is that someone will find a lot of Russian state money tied up in this whole business.

    • trgahan

      Adding…wonder if all the pending “documentaries” and films just went into re-write.

    • Truth Hertz

      Is it just me, or does that pro-Snowden troll sound just like Dennis Hopper?

  • raina

    Yup. media should stop accepting whatever Snowden says or provides without further proof or investigation. They should stop being his stenographers.

  • Badgerite

    Very good questions. And the kind that journalists should be all over. I’m not holding my breath on that, though.