Us spying scandal Hangs over German media reports that the US spied on 122 leaders
"NSA accessed more than 300 Merkel messages!" After spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone for years, the NSA has been revealed to have stored information about 122 heads of state, including Merkel, Der Spiegel reported.
U.S. intelligence agencies created a database specifically for heads of state, according to an NSA document marked "top secret" and provided to the magazine by former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden. Ms. Merkel's name appears prominently on the list of people monitored by the database. In May 2009, the NSA sought information about 122 heads of state on the list. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and Somali President Yusuf are listed in alphabetical order. Merkel was ninth on the list, followed by former Malian President Amadou Toure and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. At 122nd was Yulia Tymoshenko, then Ukraine's prime minister.
The database is said to exist to "find out information about targets that would otherwise be difficult to access". Snowden provided articles proving that Merkel had indeed been the target of official U.S. spying and that the National Security Agency had gathered intelligence on her. The German newspaper Bild says Snowden's Revelations have gradually pieced together a full picture of the US intelligence agency's surveillance programs. Der Spiegel also said the documents would become important material evidence for federal prosecutors, who will decide in the coming days whether to launch an investigation into the alleged spying.
The Berliner Zeitung commented that Obama's visit to Europe a week ago came as the US and Europe emerged from the spying scandal as "best friends" again. A new scandal over spying on world leaders has cast another cloud over transatlantic relations. German press TV commented that the United States is still refusing to sign a non-spying agreement with Germany. Without a legal compromise by the United States, German officials and citizens could no longer avoid being spied on.