October 28th, 2013
06:53 AM ET

Report: White House Stopped Phone Tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Other Foreign Leaders This Summer

Germany is sending senior intelligence officials to Washington, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Saturday, amid outrage over claims the U.S. National Security Agency monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

Among them will be the heads of Germany's foreign and domestic intelligence services and the coordinator of the federal intelligence services, the government's press office said.

The trip comes amid a series of reports that have challenged relations between the two long-time allies. The latest is a story in the German magazine Der Spiegel that – citing a secret U.S. intelligence file – claimed Merkel's phone had been monitored for more than 10 years, stretching back before her current post.

The same database indicated the United States was spying on many others in Berlin's political district, at least up to when U.S. President Barack Obama visited Berlin this year, Der Spiegel reported.

Asked about these claims, U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said her agency does not "comment publicly on every specific intelligence activity."

"And, as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations," said Hayden, echoing comments she and others have made in recent days.

Still, it remains to be seen if citizens and leaders in Europe will accept such explanations – and whether recent efforts by the Obama administration to address their concerns will be successful.

CNN's Fareed Zakaria offered his take on forgiveness saying, “At a governmental level, I think we will be able to settle the anger, but clearly what is happening here is European politicians are responding to a public that has become quite distrustful of the United States, views it as a kind of 800 pound gorilla that’s out of control, and we do need to think about that.”

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Geoff

    Why don't the news reporters bring up the big elephant sitting quietly in the back of the room: the most important information a spy can gather is regarding deals between government heads and business heads....industrial espionage! Why don't government heads talk about that? Because that is how government heads fund their next political campaign, and who wants to upset that apple cart?.

    October 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  2. Upperhanded

    uhm..common sense would tell yas if you are a world leader of a country in 2013 ..wouldn't you expect that you are being monitored and wouldn't you take steps to avoid any security breech...Piers Morgan would able to chime in on how easy it is to easedrop on others telephone calls in these times..(what too soon?)..All I want to know ..is what toppings did Merkle want on her Heir Dominoes...:)

    also...you all look very good for a Monday...gotta stop that!!. makes the rest of us look bad...

    October 28, 2013 at 8:28 am | Reply

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