I noted the other day the reason the non-denial confirmation that NSA wiretapped Angela Merkel raised the stakes for what President Obama told the Chancellor in June about the spying. Did he give assurances she hadn’t been tapped?
If he did, anonymous leakers from the NSA’s vicinity suggest, he knowingly lied.
In Germany, Der Spiegel reported that the NSA’s Special Collection Service (SCS) had listed Merkel’s phone number since 2002. The number was still on the list – marked as “GE Chancellor Merkel” – weeks before Obama visited Berlin in June, raising the possibility that the German leader had been under surveillance for more than a decade. In an SCS document cited by the magazine, the agency said it had a “not legally registered spying branch” in the US embassy in Berlin, the exposure of which would lead to “grave damage for the relations of the United States to another government”.
The White House refused to comment on that report – or others that emerged in Germany overnight, raising questions about how much Obama personally knew about the spy operation.