Magazine Claims NSA Spied on Merkel's Mobile Phone Since 2002
MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti) – The US National Security Agency (NSA) has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone for over 10 years, a report in a German magazine claimed.
Der Spiegel wrote Saturday that it had secret documents from the NSA showing Merkel's cell phone number was on a special list of an NSA unit, the Special Collection Service (SCS), since 2002.
According to the secret files, a listening station based in the US embassy in Berlin's government quarter was responsible for monitoring communications. However, it was not clear from the documents whether phone conversations were recorded or just Merkel's contacts assessed.
Der Spiegel said Merkel called US President Barack Obama to seek clarification as soon as she learned about the spying claims, which was on Wednesday. According to the magazine, the US leader apologized to Merkel saying he did not know about the spying.
A spokesman for the German chancellor and the White House declined comment, Reuters reported Saturday.
The Guardian reported Thursday citing a confidential memo leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the NSA monitored the phone calls of 35 world leaders.
Over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 global leaders, who are not named, were provided by an unnamed US government official. According to the memo, the NSA encouraged senior officials in the White House, Department of State, the Pentagon and its other 'customer' departments to share their 'Rolodexes' to make it possible for the agency to add leading foreign politicians' phone numbers to their surveillance systems.
Snowden, a computer specialist and former contractor for the NSA, was the focus of international attention over the summer after he leaked classified evidence of US government surveillance programs to the media.
He fled to Hong Kong and then to Moscow, where he was granted temporary asylum in Russia in late July despite repeated extradition demands from Washington. He is now living at an undisclosed location in Russia.
A recent report in Le Monde said the NSA had a system in place that alerted it to certain French communications and allowed it to scoop up 70.3 million French phone records in a 30-day period.
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