NSA surveillance: German intelligence officials in US talks over spy claims
German intelligence officials are in Washington for talks at the White House on Wednesday following claims that the US monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.
Angela Merkel’s foreign policy adviser and Germany’s intelligence co-ordinator will hold talks at the White House.
The head of US intelligence has defended the monitoring of foreign leaders as a key goal of operations.
The US is facing growing anger over reports it spied on its allies abroad.
It has also been reported that the NSA monitored French diplomats in Washington and at the UN, and that it conducted surveillance on millions of French and Spanish telephone calls, among other operations against US allies.
However, NSA director General Keith Alexander said “the assertions… that NSA collected tens of millions of phone calls are completely false”.
The revelations stem from documents leaked by fugitive ex-US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who now lives in Russia and is wanted in the US in connection with the unauthorised disclosures.
German media have reported that the US bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone for more than a decade – and that the surveillance only ended a few months ago.
Germany’s delegation includes Christoph Heusgen, Angela Merkel’s foreign policy adviser, and Guenter Heiss, the secret service co-ordinator, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the US National Security Council.
US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, are also expected to take part.
Caitlin Hayden said the meeting was part of the agreement reached between President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel last week to deepen US-German cooperation on intelligence matters.
The meeting comes just hours after James Clapper and Gen. Keith Alexander testified before the intelligence panel of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Gen. Keith Alexander said much of the data cited by non-US news outlets was actually collected by European intelligence services and later shared with the NSA.
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