NSA spied on German chancellor, ministers: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, as seen from the air. (AFP photo)

New WikiLeaks documents show that the United States not only spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel but also on several ministers of the country.

Relations between Germany and the United States were strained after US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed extensive US foreign spying.

Snowden also revealed that the United States had monitored Merkel's telephone conversations for more than 10 years.

The German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Wednesday that the National Security Agency (NSA) did not limit its surveillance activities to Merkel, and spied on the activities of the ministries of finance, economy and agriculture.

The newspaper said WikiLeaks had shown it a list of 69 phone numbers of ministers and senior officials that were targeted by the NSA.

According to the report, current Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel were among those snooped on by the US spy agency.

Snowden, a former NSA contractor, began leaking classified intelligence documents in June 2013, revealing the extent of the NSA's spying activity.

Edward Snowden is seen via live  video link from Russia on a computer screen during a parliamentary hearing on the subject of "Improving the protection of whistleblowers", on June 24, 2015, at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. (AFP photo)

The disclosures have revealed that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.

Snowden, who lives in Russia where he has been granted asylum, has said that US government surveillance methods far surpass those of an ‘Orwellian’ state, referring to George Orwell’s classic novel “1984,” which describes a society where personal privacy is continuously invaded by spy agencies.

The Snowden revelations prompted Brazil and Germany to draft a United Nations General Assembly resolution aimed at restraining the NSA’s surveillance programs against other nations.


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