• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germany believes US tapped Merkel's phone

The Local · 24 Oct 2013, 08:00

Published: 24 Oct 2013 08:00 GMT+02:00

News site Spiegel reported on Wednesday evening that Merkel's mobile may have been spied on by the US and the German Chancellor is taking the allegations seriously.

She demanded an explanation in a hastily arranged telephone conversation with Obama.

Her spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement Merkel made it clear that she found such practices "completely unacceptable".

"The chancellor telephoned President (Barack) Obama" and "made clear that she unequivocally disapproves of such practices, should they be confirmed, and regards them as completely unacceptable," he said.

Merkel had demanded "an immediate and comprehensive explanation" from Washington, Seibert added.

The statement said: "Among close friends and partners, as the Federal Republic of Germany and the US have been for decades, there should be no such monitoring of the communications of a head of government."

"This would be a serious breach of trust. Such practices must be stopped immediately," the chancellor told Obama.

The evidence for Merkel's mobile phone being targeted came from Spiegel which has broken a series of stories about a mass surveillance programme by the NSA.

The evidence has also been viewed by the German security services and was regarded as plausible enough to warrant an call to Obama.

In the conversation Obama told Merkel that the United States was not monitoring her communications, but the White House did not deny reports US spies eavesdropped on her phone in the past.

"The President assured the Chancellor the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the Chancellor," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday.

Carney was then asked whether US spies could have inadvertently picked up Merkel's communications during a wider sweep of global telephone calls linked to a vast anti-terror program.

He repeated the linguistic formulation of his earlier answer, in a way that did not deny the possibility that the NSA had indeed accessed Merkel's conversations in the past.

Carney stressed that Obama was reviewing the way Washington gathers intelligence "so that we properly balance the security concerns of our citizens and allies with the privacy concerns that all people share."

The latest allegations came as the French newspaper Le Monde stood by claims that Washington had monitored millions of phone calls inside France.

Story continues below…

Washington has said many of Le Monde's claims were false, but Obama had another embarrassing call with a foreign leader when he spoke to French President Francois Hollande on Monday.

READ MORE: Helicopter circles US Consulate in Frankfurt spy probe

AFP/The Local/tsb

Follow us on Twitter @thelocalgermany

Like The Local Germany on Facebook

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Pegida take to Dresden streets - to march against Pegida
Pegida demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Followers of the xenophobic Pegida movement marched in two factions on Monday evening in the capital of Saxony, brandishing fierce accusations of treason against one another.

Analysis
Is it fair to call the AfD far right?
AfD leaders, from left, Georg Pazderski, Frauke Petry and Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA.

The AfD has been dubbed "far-right" over the past year as it has taken on a tougher stance against immigration and made gains in state elections. But at what point does one call a group far-right?

Dresden police guard Islamic buildings after mosque attack
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

All Islamic buildings in the capital of Saxony have been put under police protection on Tuesday after explosive devices were detonated at a mosque and a congress centre in the city.

Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
Photo: DPA

German data protection authorities on Tuesday said they had blocked Facebook from collecting subscriber data from its subsidiary WhatsApp, citing privacy concerns.

Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd