NSA Affair: Germans Conduct Helicopter Flyover of US Consulate
American Security Surprised by Action
But it doesn't appear there was anything routine about the Eurocopter mission -- if there had been, police would have almost surely notified the Americans beforehand. Instead, security personnel at the consulate appear to have been surprised by the flyover. They even took pictures as it happened during the morning of August 28. A short time afterwards, the deputy US ambassador telephoned with the German Foreign Ministry to discuss the issue. But what the ministry is now describing as an "information exchange," was apparently a complaint.
The German government left open on Monday the question of whether the flyover had provided any clarity about the suspected eavesdropping technology. The spokesperson said that only relevant committees in the national parliament would be informed. Still, experts believe the move was intended more as a symbolic gesture that as a serious effort to try to find surveillance equipment. They believe that the Germans just want to show that if push comes to shove, they can also get more aggressive. One official spoke of a symbolic "shot across the bow."