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German, European Officials to Confront US Over Spy Allegations

Senior German officials and European lawmakers say they are going to Washington soon to confront officials about allegations the U.S. has been spying on its allies.

Germany said Friday that the heads of its foreign and domestic intelligence agencies would travel to the U.S. shortly. No date was set for their meeting with officials at the White House and the National Security Agency, the U.S. government's clandestine spy agency that monitors millions of telephone and Internet exchanges in an effort to thwart terrorism.

The European Union lawmakers said they are meeting with U.S. officials next week in the wake of allegations the U.S. has engaged in widespread electronic spying on EU citizens and leaders, including the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A German newspaper (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) said Friday that the alleged spying on Ms. Merkel's phone may have been conducted out of the U.S. embassy in Berlin, which is located less than a kilometer from the German chancellery. The newspaper said the U.S. embassy has a listening post run by the Special Collection Service, a joint operation by the NSA and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The U.S. spy operations have drawn widespread condemnation in Europe, whose leaders are some of the staunchest American allies. Ms. Merkel said the U.S.-European alliance "can only be built on trust. That's why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be.''

French President Francois Hollande demanded a U.S. explanation, saying the American spying must stop.

"There are some behaviors and practices that cannot be accepted. Considering the level and extent of surveillance that has been led by American services, as it happens, and given this can apply to all citizens, including a number of European leaders, we need to put an end to it and there is a clarification required."

Meanwhile, a prominent U.S. newspaper, The Washington Post, says U.S. officials are warning some foreign intelligence services that documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden detail their secret cooperation with Washington.

The newspaper reported the tens of thousands of documents that Snowden collected contain sensitive material about spy programs against such countries as Iran, Russia and China. The newspaper said the documents also referred to operations involving countries not publicly allied with the U.S.

The Post described the process of notifying world capital officials about the risk of disclosure as "delicate" because, in some cases, one part of a cooperating government might not know about the collaboration.

The notification coincides with a global uproar over reports the United States spied on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders, the latest report being about Ms. Merkel.

White House spokesman Jay Carney refused Thursday to deny the NSA had spied on past communications from Chancellor Merkel.

Ms. Merkel says she made it clear in a phone call Wednesday to U.S. President Barack Obama that "spying on friends is not acceptable at all."

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