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Rediff.com  » News » US lied about monitoring Merkel's phone, slams Germany

US lied about monitoring Merkel's phone, slams Germany

October 25, 2013 14:50 IST

Germany has accused the United States of lying about its surveillance operations in the European country and claimed there are "new indications" that Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone was monitored by the Americans.

The US National Security Agency was not telling the truth when it assured the German government earlier this year that its operations have not violated the country's laws, minister for chancellery affairs Ronald Pofalla said.

Snooping into the chancellor's mobile phone represented a new dimension of the allegations of massive surveillance operations by the NSA in Germany and it will "throw new light" on its statements in the past weeks and months, he said.

Pofalla, who is responsible for coordinating the activities of German intelligence services, said after an emergency meeting of the parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag on Thursday that he had ordered a fresh assessment of all written and verbal assurances given by the NSA related to its operations in this country.

Pofalla came under fire for his earlier claim that the allegations of surveillance of millions of internet and phone data by the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communication Headquarters have not been substantiated.      

"The NSA affair is over," he had said after a meeting of the parliamentary control committee on August 12.

He claimed at that time that there was no "million-times violation of basic rights" in Germany.

Pofalla said he had received written assurances from the NSA and the CGHQ that they fully adhered to the German laws and carried out no massive surveillance.

Christian Stroeble, Green party member of the committee, said the allegations of NSA spying on the chancellor showed that the agency was bluffing when it gave its assurances.

This also makes untrustworthy its claims that its surveillance activities are intended to combat terrorism and illegal arms trade, Stroeble said.

He demanded Merkel to make a statement in parliament on the espionage issue.

Thomas Oppermann, chairman of the control committee, said if the allegations of phone tapping were proved true, it will be a severe breach of trust among the two nations.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden carrying the number of a mobile phone used by the chancellor between 2009 and 2012 triggered an investigation by Germany's security agencies, media reports said.

Image: German Chancellor Angela Merkel seen using her mobile phone before a cabinet meeting in Berlin in January, 2011.

Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

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