11 July 2015

NSA Spying on Angela Merkel’s Aides Raises New Questions

Alison Smale
July 9, 2015

German Aides’ Phone Numbers Appear on U.S. Intelligence Documents

BERLIN — Telephone numbers for top aides to Chancellor Angela Merkel ofGermany, as well as for senior figures in the administrations of her predecessors, emerged on an American intelligence document, raising anew questions about the United States’ spying on one of its closest allies.

The lists, part of a trove of United States government documents periodically doled out by the website WikiLeaks, reportedly dated back to the 1990s and included the phone numbers for at least three senior aides to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, as well as for aides to his predecessor, Helmut Kohl.

The new documents add to a growing pile of allegations that United States intelligence agencies conducted extensive surveillance of the German government. The saga has now run for over two years, emanating from documents revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agencycontractor.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung daily and the public broadcasters NDR and WDR said the list of 56 numbers included some two dozen that are still used by top aides, such as Ms. Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, and intelligence coordinator, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche.

Only last week, Mr. Altmaier invited the United States’ ambassador to Germany, John B. Emerson, to explain new documents publicized by WikiLeaks that showed what appeared to be summaries of recorded conversations involving the chancellor or senior officials.

There was no immediate reaction from the German government on Wednesday. Ms. Merkel and her spokesman were traveling in the Balkans, and politicians, officials and the news media were absorbed in the Greek crisis.

Patrick Sensburg, a Merkel deputy and chairman of a parliamentary inquiry on N.S.A. activity, told German television that the main question now was how to tighten security.

The German news reports said it was not clear whether the United States continued to spy on the government.

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