Tuesday

22nd May 2018

Report: NSA spying on German ministers instead of Merkel

  • Merkel has been invited to the US capital to mend ties with Obama (Photo: Bundesregierung)

The US intelligence service, the NSA, has allegedly expanded its surveillance of German government officials since being ordered by President Barack Obama to stop spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday (23 February), quoting a senior NSA employee in Germany.

"We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the Chancellor's communication directly," the source told the mass-circulation newspaper.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Among the officials said to be targeted is interior minister Thomas de Maiziere, Merkel's former chief of staff and close ally.

Merkel often calls de Maiziere ahead of key decisions and once asked him "what should I think" - to the surprise of the people listening in on her conversation, Bild reported.

De Maiziere, who served as defence minister until the new government was formed last year, was reportedly floated as potential successor to Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

This was allegedly also a reason for tapping his phone. "We wanted to know if he is a reliable partner," the NSA source said.

The German government refused to comment on the news report.

In total, some 320 high-ranking officials and businessmen are said to be on the NSA watchlist. The German software company SAP, a competitor to US firm Oracle, is reportedly also being spied upon by the NSA.

Bild am Sonntag quoted Obama's security adviser Caitlin Hayden denying that Washington is spying on German companies in order to help American firms.

"The United States has made clear it gathers intelligence in exactly the same way as any other states," Hayden said.

The news that the NSA was tapping Merkel's phone and that of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder before her has upset German-US relations.

Obama in January promised to halt eavesdropping on allied leaders, but has so far rejected Merkel's push for a "no-spy agreement" between the two countries.

Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is due to travel to Washington on Thursday, but he told Der Spiegel he has "doubts that a no-spy agreement will get us much further."

"I hope Washington understood that the way it deals with partners can also have a political price," Steinmeier added.

Merkel herself has been invited to the US capital to mend ties with Obama, but she has not yet confirmed a date.

Merkel and Obama bury hatchet on US spying

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama on Friday are poised to mend ties after the exposure of her phone being tapped and millions of Germans spied upon by the NSA.

Sofia summit: EU leaders search for a Trump strategy

"With friends like that, who needs enemies?" European Council Donald Tusk asked on Wednesday, as EU leaders were trying to come up with a reply to the US president's questioning of the transatlantic relationship.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. German prosecutor orders Puigdemont to Spain
  2. EU to split trade and investment agreements
  3. EU to start trade talks with Australia and New Zealand
  4. Unknown professor proposed as Italy's new prime minister
  5. 154 German economists warn against eurozone reform
  6. Growing €176bn EU trade deficit with China
  7. All 4.8m Swedish homes get 'war preparation' leaflet
  8. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  2. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  3. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  4. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  5. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  6. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  7. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  8. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border