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Iran Press TV

Obama says US not ‘rifling’ through German emails

Iran Press TV

Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:0PM GMT

US President Barack Obama says that American spies have not been ‘rifling’ through the emails of German and French citizens.

He made the remarks after a Wednesday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, insisting that the programs operated by the US secret service National Security Agency (NSA) were legal and limited.

The United States’ controversial Internet and phone surveillance programs have sparked alarm in Europe.

“This is not a situation where we are rifling through, you know, the ordinary emails of German citizens or American citizens or French citizens or anyone else,” Obama said.

He also claimed that “lives have been saved” due to the use of the surveillance system, saying, “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted -- not just in the United States, but in countries around the world, including Germany.”

On June 17, around 400 demonstrators rallied in Berlin in protest against the NSA, days after released classified documents exposed electronic surveillance programs.

In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on June 11, German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that Washington could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were “deeply disconcerting” and potentially dangerous.

On June 6, The Guardian revealed a top secret US court order that allows the NSA to collect data on millions of Americans who are customers of the major US phone company, Verizon.

Edward Snowden, a former technical worker for the CIA, has been revealed as the source of the leaks about US phone and internet surveillance.

According to the order, Verizon should “on a daily basis” give the NSA data, including phone numbers, location, and duration of all phone calls in its systems, both in the US and between the US and other countries.


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