The scandal unleashed by these latest revelations has shaken the certainties of German politics, possibly endangering the long-anticipated trans-Atlantic free trade agreement. But until recently it sounded as if the government had faith in the intelligence agencies of its ally. In mid-August Chancellery Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla (pictured) offhandedly described the NSA scandal as finished. Now it is not just Pofalla who stands disgraced, but Merkel as well. She appears like a head of government who only stands up to Obama when she herself is a target of the US intelligence services.