Berlin: The phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, might have been monitored for more than 10 years, according to a report in Der Spiegel. It said that her mobile telephone number had been listed by the NSA’s Special Collection Service (SCS) since 2002 — marked as “GE Chancellor Merkel” — and was still on the list weeks before President Barack Obama visited Berlin in June.
In an SCS document cited by the magazine, the agency said it had a “not legally registered spying branch” in the US embassy in Berlin, the exposure of which would lead to “grave damage for the relations of the United States to another government”.
From there, NSA and CIA staff were tapping communication in the Berlin’s government district with high-tech surveillance.
Quoting a secret document from 2010, Der Spiegel said such branches existed in about 80 locations around the world, including Paris, Madrid, Rome, Prague, Geneva and Frankfurt.
Merkel’s spokesman and the White House declined comment on the report.
German secret service officials are to travel to the US next week to seek explanations from the White House and the National Security Agency following allegations that the American intelligence agency has been tapping the mobile phone of the chancellor, Angela Merkel.
The German government’s deputy spokesman, Georg Streiter, said: “We are talking to the Americans to clear things up as quickly as possible. A high-level delegation will travel for talks with the White House and National Security Agency to push forward the investigation into the recent allegations.”
The delegation will include senior officials from the German secret service, according to German media reports.
Germany and Brazil are spearheading efforts at the United Nations to protect the privacy of electronic communications. Diplomats from the two countries, which have both been targeted by the NSA, are leading efforts by a coalition of nations to draft a UN general assembly resolution calling for the right to privacy on the internet.
Although non-binding, the resolution would be one of the strongest condemnations of US snooping to date. “This resolution will probably have enormous support in the GA [general assembly] since no one likes the NSA spying on them,” a western diplomat told Reuters on condition of