Spying Fallout German Trust in United States Plummets

The NSA spying scandals have taken a toll on Germans' opinion of their longtime ally, according to a new survey. Mistrust in the United States has skyrocketed, and more Germans are viewing whistleblower Edward Snowden as a hero.

Germans' approval of President Barack Obama has dropped from 75 to 43 percent over the past year.

Germans' approval of President Barack Obama has dropped from 75 to 43 percent over the past year.

A string of NSA spying scandals has sent Germans' trust in the United States plummeting, with only a third saying they view their longtime ally as a trustworthy partner, a recent opinion poll has found.

The survey, commissioned by public broadcaster ARD and daily newspaper Die Welt, found that only 35 percent of Germans considered the US government trustworthy -- numbers not seen since the times of highly unpopular President George W. Bush. Forty-three percent said they were satisfied with the work of US President Barack Obama. Just a year ago, he enjoyed the backing of 75 percent of Germans.

The results appear to be a strong indictment of the pervasive US surveillance programs uncovered through classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden -- whom 60 percent of respondents consider a hero. Despite that strong majority support, Germans were evenly split over the question of whether their country should offer Snowden asylum, with 46 percent saying "yes" and 48 percent saying "no."

Germans were scandalized when they learned that the NSA had targeted the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel and has used the US Embassy in central Berlin as a base of operations for eavesdropping. In the wake of the German government's furious response, Washington has reportedly offered to negotiate with Berlin over a mutual no-spying agreement akin to the "Five Eyes" deal it has with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. However no such deal has been publicly announced, and 92 percent of respondents in the poll said they expect the US would break the agreement and continue secret intelligence operations on German soil.

The survey also found that Germans' trust in the British government had also deteriorated to 50 percent, down from 80 percent four years ago. The Snowden leaks also revealed a number of heavy-handed espionage practices by GCHQ, the UK counterpart to the NSA, as well as a suspected interception post on its embassy grounds in Berlin.

The computer-guided telephone survey was conducted by Infratest dimap on Nov. 4 and 5 and questioned 1,002 German residents. The sampling margin of error is 1.4 to 3.1 percentage points.

acb -- with wires

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kinsale 11/08/2013
1. German Trust in U.S. Plummets
I hate to say this but all of this started, in my opinion, back during the run-up to the Iraq War. There is no doubt that the Germans were correct to oppose a very stupid move by the U.S. History has vindicated that judgement. But it was all done in a very tactless and clumsy way by Chancellor Schroeder. He could have gone quietly behind the scenes and told the U.S. firmly that Germany was totally unsupportive and unwilling top participate. Instead he and Chirac hammed it up posing for pictures with Putin in a way that caused even pro-German Americans like me to believe Germany was colluding with that paragon of democratic legitimacy. I think that was the start of the cycle of mistrust we now find ourselves in. Many Americans have never forgotten those photos. It was just very hard to take from a supposed "ally." Both sides probably need to have a frank talk about all that push the reset button now.
pefujiwara 11/09/2013
2. Obama Foreign Policy
The unfortunate effect of the Obama persona on foreign policy, is as former Vice President Dick Cheney said: "Our adversaries no longer fear us, and our allies no longer trust us."
awschnelle 11/10/2013
3. Barack H. 0bama
You loved him. You wanted him. You got him. Now deal with it.
greanknight 11/10/2013
4. Five Eyes misunderstood by Germany
If Five Eyes were a mutual no-spying agreement, why would the NSA be paying the UK's GCHQ to monitor internet communications between the USA and Europe? If it were a mutual no-spying agreement it would be just as illegal for GCHQ to look at the internet traffic of 'US Persons' as it would be for the NSA. From what I've read, Five Eyes is less a mutal no-spying agreement, and more 'we'll tell you what we find out by spying on your citizens if you tell us what you find by spying on our citizens.'
oceanluvr30 11/10/2013
5. American's trust in the US is plummeting as well
Germany and other countries just don't get it. This administration is corrupt, paranoid and intent on driving its ideology no matter what the cost. It has NO friends except the press and DNC. Americans are, in record numbers losing faith with Obama and the direction of the US.
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