Germany summons US envoy over spying report

Germany has summoned the United States ambassador over the claims.

Written by New York Times | Berlin | Published:October 25, 2013 1:44 am

Alison Smale

Leaders and citizens in Germany,one of America’s closest allies,simmered with barely contained fury on Thursday over reports that American intelligence had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone,the latest diplomatic fallout from the documents harvested by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In an unusual move between staunch allies,Germany has summoned the United States ambassador over the claims,DPA,the German news agency,reported.

Merkel herself angrily demanded assurances from President Obama that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap as soon as suspicions surfaced on Wednesday. Washington hastily pledged that her calls were not being monitored and would not be in future but conspicuously said nothing about the past.

While the chancellor kept quiet before heading to Brussels for a European summit Thursday,one of her closest allies,Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière,gave full voice to the shock expressed by politicians and citizens.

“If that is true,then that would be really bad,” de Maizière told ARD,Germany’s leading state television channel. America is Germany’s best friend,he noted,adding: “It really can’t work like this.”

He suggested that there would be consequences. “We can’t simply go back to business as usual,” he said.

Katrin Göring-Eckardt,leader of the Greens,shared the indignation,noting that America is a close ally but that normal business could not be conducted “if we go about suspecting one another”.

If confirmed,that is “completely unacceptable”,said her spokesman,Steffen Seibert.

Seibert quoted the chancellor as telling Obama that “between close friends and partners,there should be no such surveillance of the communications of a head of government”. “That would be a grave breach of trust,” Seibert quoted her as saying.

Britain,U.S. also spied on Italy: Magazine

Rome: Britain and the US spied on Italy too,including on the government but with the consent of secret services,the Italian weekly L’Espresso reported in its edition due out Friday. The weekly said the espionage concentrated on three underwater fibre optic cables with terminals in Italy. “In this mass collection,our secret services had a role,” the weekly said,citing Glenn Greenwald. PTI

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