Germany's Merkel calls Obama: Did NSA monitor my cellphone?

25.10.2013 15:28

Germany has become the latest
government to demand answers from
the United States about NSA spying
after reports the U.S. may have
monitored the cell phone of Chancellor
Angela Merkel.
On Wednesday, Merkel placed a call to
President Barack Obama to request
“immediate clarification” on U.S.
surveillance, according to her
spokesman, who said the German
government had obtained information
about the possible tap into Merkel’s
According to White House spokesman
Jay Carney, Obama assured Merkel that
the United States “is not monitoring
and will not monitor her
communications,” although he fell
short of disclosing any past practices.
“The United States greatly values our
close cooperation with Germany on a
broad range of shared security
challenges,” a White House statement
said. “As the President has said, the
United States is reviewing the way that
we gather intelligence to ensure that
we properly balance the security
concerns of our citizens and allies with
the privacy concerns that all people
It did not appear, however, that the
German government was fully satisfied
with the response and Merkel issued a
strongly worded statement through
her spokesman:
"She made clear that she views such
practices, if proven true, as completely
unacceptable and condemns them
Jens Meyer / AP
A 2012 photo shows German Chance
Angela Merkel checking her mobile
in Stralsund, Germany.
The United States has been forced to
respond to a series of revelations
about alleged U.S. spying around the
world, attributed to documents leaked
by former National Security Agency
contractor Edward Snowden, who fled
prosecution in the U.S. this summer
and was granted asylum in Russia.
Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit
to Rome Wednesday, also promised to
look into whether U.S. intelligence
services may have illegally intercepted
Italian telephone data.
And French President Francois
Hollande is pressing the U.S. spying
issue to be put on the menu of a
summit of European leaders that starts
on Thursday, Reuters reported.
The French newspaper Le Monde
reported earlier this week that the NSA
had collected tens of thousands of
French phone records. That prompted
a call between Obama and Hollande on
Addressing the Le Monde report, State
Department spokeswoman Marie Harf
said Wednesday the U.S. is having
“detailed discussions” with countries
that raise the NSA surveillance issue
and is providing a “consistent
“There are specific, limited reasons we
conduct intelligence activities of the
kind that many if not all countries
around the world conduct,” Harf said.
“They are for limited aims; they're to
protect American national security, to
thwart terrorist plots.” She said
intelligence is shared with allies and
The European concerns come after a
steady stream of reports from
documents tied to Snowden that allege
NSA snooping, including the collection
of email contact lists of Americans.
On Sunday, the German magazine Der
Spiegel, citing documents from
Snowden, reported that the NSA
hacked into the computers of Mexican
government officials. The Mexican
government called the report of U.S.
spying “unacceptable, unlawful and
contrary to international law.”
Last month Brazil’s O Globo television
network reported that the U.S. had
snooped on the email of President
Dilma Rousseff, whose aide said she
was “indignant” about it.