Germany says U.S. may have monitored Merkel's phone
By Noah Barkin (Reuters)BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government has obtained information that the United States may have monitored the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel and she called President Barack Obama on Wednesday to demand an immediate clarification, her spokesman said.
October 24, 2013, 2:29 pm TWN
In a strongly worded statement, the spokesman said Merkel had told Obama that if such surveillance had taken place it would represent a "grave breach of trust" between close allies.
"She made clear that she views such practices, if proven true, as completely unacceptable and condemns them unequivocally," the statement read.
White House spokesman Jay Carney, responding to the news in Washington, said Obama had assured Merkel that the United States "is not monitoring and will not monitor" the communications of the chancellor.
When pressed on whether spying may have occurred in the past, a White House official declined to elaborate on the statement.
"I'm not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity," the official said.
The news broke as Secretary of State John Kerry, on a visit to Rome, faced fresh questions about mass spying on European allies, based on revelations from Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. intelligence operative granted asylum in Russia.
French President Francois Hollande is pressing for the U.S. spying issue to be put on the agenda of a summit of European leaders starting on Thursday.
He also called Obama earlier this week after French newspaper Le Monde reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) had collected tens of thousands of French phone records in a single month between December 2012 and January 2013.
The NSA appeared to be targeting people tied to French business and politics as well as individuals suspected of links to terrorism, the paper said.
Merkel is not the only foreign leader whose personal communications may have been monitored by the United States. Last month Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff called off plans for an October state visit to Washington because of similar revelations.