The Obama administration's handling of the NSA phone and email surveillance scandals is partly to blame for a new proposal to create a European Internet, former U.S. Rep. Allen West says.
"This is an opportunity for them to take advantage of a situation to promote Europe, having their own control and not trusting the United States of America," West, a Florida Republican, told John Bachman on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."
''We have set this thing up like T-ball for [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and others to come in and say we don't trust you guys because of what you're doing and all these leaks that are coming out.
"So, there is some fault that has to be taken by this administration and the NSA," West said Tuesday.
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Merkel is backing calls for the creation of European Internet services that would bypass the scrutiny of U.S. surveillance programs.
The NSA has been under fire for collecting data on all phone and email records in the United States — information that was made public only when it was leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Merkel's cellphone was also reportedly monitored.
West says the political atmosphere surrounding the president in Europe has changed drastically.
"You go back, and you remember back when he was running for president and the big crowd that he had in Berlin. Everyone was cheering," West said.
"Now there is a level of distrust that our European allies have with us that is unconscionable because of these leaks, because of this perception. And perception could lead to reality, and that's what this administration is dealing with."
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