German Minister Compares NSA Tactics to Stasi

If you don’t remember, the Stasi was the old East German secret police, which combined Soviet ruthlessness with German efficiency. A real scary bunch. Anyway, here’s what Reuters reports:

In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that the United States could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were “deeply disconcerting” and potentially dangerous.

“The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is,” she said.

“The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the U.S. administration itself is paramount at this point. All facts must be put on the table.”

Markus Ferber, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party who sits in the European Parliament, went further, accusing Washington of using “American-style Stasi methods”.

This is going on while President Obama is planning to visit Germany to honor the anniversary of JFK’s ich bin ein Berliner speech. I’d point out the irony, but you never know who might be listening.