Der Spiegel reports: There are strong indications that it was the SCS [the Special Collection Service jointly operated by the NSA and CIA] that targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. This is suggested by a document that apparently comes from an NSA database in which the agency records its targets. This document, which SPIEGEL has seen, is what set the cellphone scandal in motion.
The document contains Merkel’s cellphone number. An inquiry to her team revealed that it is the number the chancellor uses mainly to communicate with party members, ministers and confidants, often by text message. The number is, in the language of the NSA, a “Selector Value.” The next two fields determine the format (“raw phone number”) and the “Subscriber,” identified as “GE Chancellor Merkel.”
In the next field, labeled “Ropi,” the NSA defines who is interested in the German chancellor: It is the department S2C32. “S” stands for “Signals Intelligence Directorate,” the NSA umbrella term for signal reconnaissance. “2” is the agency’s department for procurement and evaluation. C32 is the unit responsible for Europe, the “European States Branch.” So the order apparently came down from Europe specialists in charge of signal reconnaissance.
The time stamp is noteworthy. The order was transferred to the “National Sigint Requirements List,” the list of national intelligence targets, in 2002. That was the year Germany held closely watched parliamentary elections and Merkel battled Edmund Stoiber of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union to become the conservatives’ chancellor candidate. It was also the year the Iraq crisis began heating up. The document also lists status: “A” for active. This status was apparently valid a few weeks before President Obama’s Berlin visit in June 2013.
Finally, the document defines the units tasked with implementing the order: the “Target Office of Primary Interest”: “F666E.” “F6” is the NSA’s internal name for the global surveillance unit, the “Special Collection Service.”
Thus, the NSA would have targeted Merkel’s cellphone for more than a decade, first when she was just party chair, as well as later when she’d become chancellor. The record does not indicate what form of surveillance has taken place. Were all of her conversations recorded or just connection data? Were her movements also being recorded?