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"We're no longer in the Cold War." More than six weeks after the scandal began, the German government is still waiting for answers on what exactly the NSA is doing in -- and against -- Germany.
In particular, Berlin has yet to be fully informed about what kinds of data the NSA gathers, directly or indirectly, in addition to the millions of pieces of metadata the BND admits to collecting at its surveillance stations, such as the one in Bad Aibling near Munich, and forwarding to the Americans.
Only the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand -- referred to as the "five eyes," together with the United States -- are seen as true friends, largely off-limits in terms of espionage, and with which there is an open exchange of information.
The NSA classifies about 30 other countries as "3rd parties," with whom it cooperates, though with reservations. "We can, and often do, target the signals of most 3rd party foreign partners," the secret NSA document reads.
Not surprisingly, the top targets include China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Germany ranks somewhere in the middle on this priority list, together with France and Japan, but above Italy and Spain.
On the one hand, intelligence agencies cooperate with one another and exchange information.
Lawmakers in the German parliament, the Bundestag, have also expressed an interest in the group of buildings near Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt.
According to the list of spying priorities, the European Union is also one of the targets of American surveillance, specifically in six individual areas.
The areas assigned a priority level of "3" are EU foreign policy goals, "international trade" and "economic stability." Lower-priority areas are new technologies, energy security and food security issues.
Countries like Cambodia, Laos and Nepal are apparently more or less irrelevant from a US intelligence perspective, as are most European countries, like Finland, Denmark, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
The report reflects the ambivalent relationship the United States has with many countries.
Among the issues listed as being of interest are German foreign policy and questions of economic stability as well as threats to the financial system, both given a priority rating of "3." Other surveillance assignments include subjects like arms exports, new technologies, advanced conventional weapons and international trade, all with a priority of "4." The US spies apparently feel that counter-espionage and the risk of cyber attacks on US infrastructure coming from Germany are not particularly threatening (priority level "5").