In an interview with television network ARD, Trittin
said, "The Americans criticize the Chinese, but they're acting the same way." He said he thinks Snowden should have safe accommodation in Europe because
"he has done Europe a service" and should not "need to seek refuge from despotic regimes that themselves trample on basic rights."
Daryl Lindsey, editor of the English edition of Der Spiegel, told me that Europeans are offended by what appears to be an unabashed NSA program
aimed at vacuuming up and storing practically any European data it wants.
"We've seen a document from an internal presentation of the NSA where they describe information superiority as their vision," Lindsey said. "And that's
obviously in conflict with using the spying for security purposes, their original justification."
The immediate result of these latest disclosures is threefold. In Germany, a government investigation into what Chancellor Angela Merkel's government knew
about Prism will likely come into being this week. In Brussels, kickoff talks on the EU-U.S. trade deal could be hampered or stall out completely over
fears that the U.S. government is using its spying system to steal European trade secrets. And, on both sides of the Atlantic, Transatlanticists are
struggling to figure out what still binds both sides.
"There is growing pressure in Germany for Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a stance on this," Lindsey said. "She's said very little as this has trickled
out over the last two weeks. If it turns out that Germany's intelligence agency, the BND, has been openly cooperating with the NSA in this data collection,
this could have very serious constitutional implications here. The government will face legal challenges and there could be political consequences for
politicians as well."
Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German EU parliamentarian, told me that he doesn't see the trade deal going anywhere unless the United States addresses the spying
issue. Albrecht also suggested that agreements in place on sharing "banking data, airline passenger data, and on mutual legal assistance" could be called
into question in the face of "such a dramatic loss of trust."
U.S.-EU policy expert Sergey Lagodinsky suggested that the Obama administration needs to engage in some serious public diplomacy if it hopes to neutralize
the harmful effect of what seems to have become a regular, inevitable drip of Snowden leaks.
"I think the administration will have to do serious thinking regarding public diplomacy," Lagodinsky said. "I think what's been broken here through these
leaks is the trust of Europe's remaining Transatlanticists. The people who are convinced of the special relationship with the United States are slowly
running out of arguments of what unites us, and what kind of values we still share. Substituting those values with trade partnerships and trade
commonalities is too thin a base for a true alliance and a true partnership."