NSA monitored phones of 35 world leaders: Guardian


German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande shake hands before they attend a European Council on October 24, in Brussels, Belgium. Both leaders have expressed displeasure at reports that the United States National Security Agency may have monitored calls in their countries.



Another day, another revelation about the NSA.

The Guardian published a report Thursday that said the United States' National Security Agency monitored the phone calls of up to 35 world leaders, citing documents provided by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The report claimed the numbers of the world leaders were provided by a US government official. The NSA reportedly encouraged officials from the White House, Pentagon and State Department to share phone numbers with it.

"The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately 'tasked' for monitoring by the NSA," the Guardian wrote.

The document acknowledged that the monitoring had resulted in "little reportable intelligence."

Coming on the heels of a report Wednesday that suggested the US spy agency was monitoring the calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the latest revelations are sure to ruffle some feathers at the European Union summit in Brussels.

"Spying between friends, that's just not done," Merkel said Thursday, responding to the earlier news that the NSA may have monitored her calls.

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When Merkel called Obama about the allegations, he reassured her that the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor" her communications, according to a White House statement.

"We need trust between partners and such trust needs to be re-established," Merkel said at the European summit Thursday.

French President Francois Hollande had his own bone to pick with the NSA, over a report in Le Monde that the agency monitored millions of phone calls of French citizens, while Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said, "We want the truth."

"Data protection must apply no matter if it concerns the emails of citizens or the mobile phone of Angela Merkel," EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said. "Now is the time for action and not only for declarations at the EU summit."

Before the latest Guardian report mentioning 35 world leaders was published, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, "This is not a surprise to people — countries spy on each other."

Without elaborating further on an incident where she claimed France eavesdropped on her, Albright said, "A lot of foreign policy is gossip and picking up what somebody has said about somebody else that is useful in the long term of trying to figure out how you deal with a particular country."

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