US Caught Spying on Angela Merkel’s Phone

Wall Street Journal
October 24, 2013

Sad face.
Sad face.
Germany said it believed that U.S. intelligence agencies may be spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, an intrusion that could escalate the international furor over U.S. data surveillance and complicate Washington’s relationship with one of its staunchest allies.

Ms. Merkel spoke by phone with President Barack Obama on Wednesday and made clear that such surveillance among allies would be “fully unacceptable” and a “grave breach of trust,” her spokesman said in a statement released late Wednesday in Berlin.

Mr. Obama assured the German leader that the U.S. isn’t monitoring her communications and won’t in the future, a White House spokesman said. He wouldn’t say whether it had occurred in the past.

The uproar in Berlin is the latest sign that the National Security Agency scandal has the potential to continue to inflict damage on Washington’s relationships with overseas partners. Earlier this week, Mr. Obama called French President François Hollande, who expressed his “deep disapproval” over reports that the NSA was collecting data on tens of millions of French phone calls and messages. Reports of U.S. spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff as well as Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto during his successful presidential campaign have already strained the U.S. relationship with Latin America.

The German government’s sharply worded statement came after it looked into an inquiry from the weekly Der Spiegel, the magazine reported. Der Spiegel said U.S. spies may have specifically targeted Ms. Merkel’s cellphone—as opposed to having just intercepted her communications as part of a broader dragnet.

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