Germany's Angela Merkel cries foul on US intercepting her cell phone calls


German Chancellor Angela Merkel


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Germany is paraphrasing Ricky Ricardo today:  America's "got some 'splainin' to do."
The German Foreign Ministry summoned the American ambassador in Berlin Thursday and told him Germany wants an honest and full explanation of US surveillance operations in Europe.

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And Chancellor Angela Merkel repeated her concerns that her own mobile phone is being monitored. She told a European summit that "spying among friends" is simply not done, and accused the United States of an unacceptable breach of trust.

The US rejects the criticism, but a White House spokesman refused to comment on the specific allegation about Merkel's phone.

"They're very aggrieved," says journalist Ryan Gallagher. Gallagher has been reporting for Slate on the arguments in Europe over the legality of the surveillance; he's also a fellow at the New America Foundation. "I think it's the scale of some of the surveillance that's been disclosed that some of the governments over in Europe just claim they had no idea was going on."

Gallagher says some Europeans see it as a violation of several international treaties, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which, he says, guarantees the right to privacy. "But I can't really see this going through any criminal court or anything — that would be too politically contentious."