'A serious breach of trust': Angela Merkel demands explanation from Barack Obama after secret service reports appear to show that US had tapped her mobile phone for years
That a German chancellor should even make such an inquiry of an American president is remarkable and serves to illustrate how far trust has broken down between the two nations
Oct. 23 2013
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called US President Barack Obama to demand an explanation after secret service reports appeared to show that US intelligence agencies had tapped her mobile phone for years.
“The Chancellor made it clear that should the indications prove true, she unequivocally disapproves and considers them totally unacceptable,” Ms Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters. “This would be a serious breach of trust. Such practices must be halted immediately,” he added.
Confirming that the highly unusual call had taken place, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, said that Mr Obama had reassured Ms Merkel she is under no such surveillance.
“The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor”, he said. Mr Carney did not say whether monitoring of Ms Merkel’s phone might have occurred in the past.
That a German chancellor should even make such an inquiry of an American president is remarkable and serves to illustrate how far trust has broken down between the US and even its allies on how far Washington has gone in breaking the norms of privacy to keep tabs not just on its foes but its friends too.
The European Parliament today voted to suspend a data sharing agreement with the United States aimed at detecting terrorist fund-raising, the latest salvo as the EU scrambles to find an appropriate response to the hacking allegations against America’s National Security Agency (NSA).
The resolution would need the backing of member states to take effect, but it highlights grave concerns in Brussels over claims that the US security agency tapped communications both of European Union institutions and member states including France and Belgium.