The United States might have spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone line. (File photo: AFP)
A report released by The Guardian newspaper claims the US government was spying on 35 world leaders.
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The Hill reported:
The NSA spied on 35 world leaders and encouraged the State and Defense departments to turn over their “rolodexes” of contacts to help its monitoring efforts, The Guardian reported on Thursday.
The report, based on material leaked by Edward Snowden, is the latest in a series of revelations that have damaged U.S. relations with key allies.
Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador on Thursday following reports that the U.S. spy agency tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff canceled a state visit to Washington last month after learning she was also spied on.
The White House maintains that it is doing nothing that other countries don’t do.
“We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told The Hill in an email, “and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”
The latest report is based on a classified document provided by Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia after fleeing the United States. It says one official turned more than 200 phone numbers, including those of 35 world leaders, none of whom was identified in the memo.