Sunday

22nd Oct 2017

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.

Macron puts trade policy on summit table

France's president wants a "political discussion" on EU trade policies at Thursday's summit, amid domestic concerns over Canada and South America deals. But his colleagues are likely to avoid a lengthy debate.

EU gives thumbs up to US data pact

Commission gives 'thumbs-up' to controversial Privacy Shield deal with US on data sharing after a year's operation - but notes room for improvement.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks