Mr President, are you spying on me? Merkel asks Obama

OBJECT OF KEEN INTEREST: German Chancellor Angela Merkel displaying a BlackBerry Z10 smartphone featuring high-security SecuSuite software from Secusmart, used for governmental communication, during a tour of the CeBit computer fair in Hanover on March 5 this year.


    Oct 25, 2013

    Mr President, are you spying on me? Merkel asks Obama

    GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel called President Barack Obama to complain on Wednesday, after learning that United States intelligence may have targeted her mobile phone, saying that would be "a serious breach of trust" if confirmed.

    For its part, the White House denied that the US is now listening in on Dr Merkel's phone calls, but did not deny the possibility that her communications may have been intercepted in the past.

    "The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the Chancellor," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

    Mr Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Dr Merkel, who has registered strong disapproval of US National Security Agency activities in the past, said in a statement that Dr Merkel "made clear that she unequivocally disapproves of such practices, should they be confirmed, and regards them as completely unacceptable".

    "This would be a serious breach of trust... Such practices must be stopped immediately," the German Chancellor told Mr Obama, the statement said.

    As Germany summoned the US ambassador to Berlin over suspicions that Washington spied on Dr Merkel's mobile phone - a highly unusual step between the allies - a French diplomatic source said she and French President Francois Hollande will discuss "how to coordinate their responses" on the issue.

    The French newspaper Le Monde reported this week that Washington had monitored millions of phone calls inside France.

    The Merkel revelations were the latest extreme embarrassment for Mr Obama over the extent of US snooping.

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff last month cancelled a state visit to Washington over the scandal.