World

Germany launches probe into Merkel phone tapping

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel  

German prosecutors opened an investigation into the alleged monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone by the U.S. National Security Agency, officials said on Wednesday.

Documents provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden indicated in October 2013 that the U.S. was monitoring Ms. Merkel’s cell phone conversations, as well as those of 35 other foreign leaders. Ms. Merkel expressed outrage and accused Washington of a grave breach of trust.

Following the news of the German probe, Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said the U.S. believes direct dialogue between the two countries rather than an investigation is the best way to address Germany’s concerns.

Chief Federal Prosecutor Harald Range determined “that sufficient factual evidence exists that unknown members of U.S. intelligence services spied on the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel,” his office said.

Mr. Range’s office said he was not opening a formal investigation of wider allegations of blanket surveillance of telecommunications data in Germany by U.S. and British intelligence, saying that there was not yet sufficient factual evidence of concrete crimes. His office said that will remain under consideration.

Ms. Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, declined to comment on Mr. Range’s decision or on whether the government fears it will weigh on relations with the U.S.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 1:29:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/germany-launches-probe-into-merkel-phone-tapping/article6082543.ece

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