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Obama Tells German Leader US Is Not Monitoring Her Cellphone

  • VOA News

FILE - President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

FILE - President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

U.S. President Barack Obama has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor her communications.

Obama spoke Wednesday with Merkel by telephone regarding allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted her cellphone calls.

A White House statement said both leaders agreed to intensify their intelligence cooperation to protect the security of both countries and their allies, and the privacy of their citizens.

A statement from Merkel's spokesman said she made clear to Obama that "she views such practices... as completely unacceptable and condemns them unequivocally."

The Obama administration has been denying news reports about U.S. intelligence activities, as it faces a firestorm of criticism over new revelations that it has spied on its allies. Those reports stem from secret documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is living in Russia.

Obama has ordered a review of the way U.S. intelligence is gathered, in an effort the White House says is intended to ensure a proper balance of security concerns and privacy concerns.

Merkel had raised concerns about the electronic eavesdropping issue when Obama visited Germany in June, and has demanded answers from the U.S. government and backed calls for greater European data protection.

French President Francois Hollande is pressing for the U.S. spying issue to be put on the agenda of a European leaders summit starting Thursday.

U.S. intelligence director James Clapper issued a statement Tuesday saying the intelligence gathered by the United States is the type "gathered by all nations" as part of their efforts to combat terrorism and other threats.

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