The US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on German chancellor Angela Merkel and her staff in Berlin, WikiLeaks said in a press statement disclosing three NSA intercepts.
The German NSA target lists released by WikiLeaks so far shows the NSA targeted for long-term surveillance 125 phone numbers of top German officials and did so for political and economic reasons, according to its own designations, WikiLeaks unveils.
US officials were allegedly interested in Merkel’s planned response to the international financial crisis and the Eurozone bank bailout. Her private views about Obama’s engagement with Iran were also intercepted as she spoke to the United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Shaykh Muhammad bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan.
“The intensive nature of US targeting around the Chancellor explains why the White House could easily commit to not targeting Angela Merkel personally in the future, but continues to refuse to make such a commitment for other members of the German government – the Chancellor cannot run the government by talking to herself,” according to the press statement.
The target list includes almost two dozen telephone numbers at the federal agency that serves the executive office of the Chancellor, surrounding the Chancellor in a web of surveillance.
“There is now proof enough of NSA surveillance on German soil,” WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said. “It is time to reopen the investigation and for the NSA to stop engaging in its illegal activities against Germany.”
The names associated with some of the targets indicate that spying on the Chancellery predates Angela Merkel as it includes staff of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (in office 1998–2002), and his predecessor, Helmut Kohl.
The German government did not comment.
In October 2013, Angela Merkel accused the NSA of spying on her mobile phone, after Edward Snowden revealed the agency was monitoring telephone conversations of some 35 world leaders. At that time, Obama urged the German people to give the United States the benefit of the doubt:
Last month, WikiLeaks revealed the NSA also spied on French Presidents Francois Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac, from at least 2006 until May 2012.