Angela Merkel row: NSA says Obama was not told about spying

The US intelligence has been under fire from various foreign allies of late in wake of the allegations of NSA spying.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Oct 28, 2013, 11:34 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Berlin: In what might further strain the worsening ties between the US and Germany, reports have emerged saying that President Barack Obama made no efforts to stop spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel despite being aware of it as he did not “trust her”.

The US intelligence has been under fire from various foreign allies of late in wake of the allegations of NSA spying.

But the issue of the US eavesdropping on Merkel’s phone since 2002 seems to be gaining heat with the revelations causing rift between the two. Germany will be sending its spy chiefs to the US to push for an investigation into the claims and earlier, the US ambassador had been summoned to Berlin.

Agitated over the claims, Merkel had called up Obama, asking for explanations over the matter.

Obama had reportedly apologized to Merkel and said that he was not in the know of the fact that her phone was being monitored, saying that he would have stopped it had he known, said a report in German magazine DerSpiegel.

But a report in another German tabloid Bild am Sonntag claims otherwise, reporting that Obama had been told about the monitoring operations by the NSA chief keith Alexander in 2010. However, Obama did not order to stop spying and instead “wanted to know about Merkel as he did not trust her”.

However the National Security Agency has categorically denied the claims saying that Obama was not informed of the spying by Keith Alexander.

“Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel," NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said.

The Der Spiegel report says that the monitoring was done by NSA’s special unit SCS (Special Collection Services) based in the US embassy in Pariser Platz in Berlin, which had Merkel’s name on its list since 2002.

The magazine has reportedly access to a secret SCS document from 2010, according to which the US had as many as 80 spy bases around the world, which were “not registered legally”.

According to the report, the secret document goes on to say that if these details about the secret spying stations of the NSA were revealed, it would cause “"severe damage for the US`s relations with a foreign government”.

Other than Germany, France is also enraged over the US spying claims with both of the European allies calling for a no-spy deal to be signed by the US.

Earlier, a report in Le Monde newspaper said that the US had tracked over 70 million of calls and text messages.