German intelligence agents secretly recorded at least one telephone conversation involving U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and parties to West Asia negotiations in 2013, as well as a 2012 conversation between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan, according to a media report.
According to German magazine Der Spiegel , in addition to surveillance of U.S. targets, Germany did and continues to snoop on Turkey was.
The latest twist comes after ties between Berlin and Washington were engulfed in tension over allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency tapped the personal phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, prompting an angry response from Ms. Merkel’s office and an assurance from the Obama administration that such spying would not recur.
The dispute grabbed headlines again two months ago after German authorities arrested “Markus R.” (31), said to be an employee of Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, on suspicion of spying for the Americans.
While the spying allegations regarding the NSA were substantiated in documents revealed by Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower, it was unclear whether the allegations surrounding the German BND were linked to Mr. Snowden.
Media reports however quoted a BND spokesperson saying that the agency was not tapping the phones of allied countries and that the U.S. was not a target. “Any accidental recordings are deleted immediately,” she added.
The U.S. State Department declined to comment on the allegations.