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Following fast on the footsteps of the French, Germany on Thursday summoned the U.S. ambassador after allegations emerged — reportedly based on leaks from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden — that the U.S. spy agency had surveilled the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The U.S. government has thus far (as with most NSA revelations) offered unsatisfactory assurances to Germany. The White House promised that the chancellor’s calls are not currently being monitored and will not be again, but did not comment on whether she had been spied on by the U.S. in the past.
“We can’t simply return to business as usual,” Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told ARD television about U.S.-German relations following the spying revelations. Via the AP:
Merkel’s government says she complained to President Barack Obama on Wednesday after receiving information her cellphone may have been monitored…
The Foreign Ministry said U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson is expected to meet Thursday afternoon with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who will “spell out the position of the German government.”
… Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere told ARD television the alleged surveillance would be “really bad” if confirmed. “The Americans are and remain our best friends, but this is absolutely not right,” he said.
“I have reckoned for years with my cellphone being monitored, but I wasn’t reckoning with the Americans.”
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.