News / Europe

    The Guardian: US Spied on 35 World Leaders

    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and France's President Francois Hollande attend a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Oct. 24, 2013.
    Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and France's President Francois Hollande attend a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Oct. 24, 2013.
    Kent Klein
    The Guardian newspaper reports that White House, Pentagon and State Department officials confirm the United States spied on the phone conversations of 35 world leaders.

    The latest report comes as European leaders have united behind a furious Germany to denounce the United States for allegations it spied on its allies.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she has made it clear to U.S. President Barack Obama that spying on allies is unacceptable.

    Speaking Thursday as she arrived at a summit of the European Union's 28 leaders in Brussels, Merkel said she told Obama during a telephone call Wednesday that "spying on friends is not acceptable at all."

    "We need to have trust in our allies and partners and this trust must now be established once again," she said.      

    The two leaders spoke Wednesday after allegations emerged that the U.S. National Security Agency had monitored Merkel's cell phone calls. During Wednesday's telephone call, Obama told Merkel the United States is not monitoring, and will not monitor her communications.

    US ambassador summoned

    Merkel summoned U.S. Ambassador John Emerson to meet Thursday in Berlin with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, who was expected to "spell out the position of the German government."

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama called Merkel on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

    "All I can tell you is what the President told the chancellor. The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor," said Carney.

    German officials say that explanation is not good enough, because the U.S. is not saying that it has not tapped the chancellor's phone in the past.

    The U.S. also was criticized in Brussels by the leaders of Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Austria.  Mexico and Brazil are investigating whether the NSA spied on their top officials.

    Hollande underscores issue

    French President Francois Hollande wanted the U.S. spying matter put on the EU agenda. His foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, pressed Secretary of State John Kerry on the issue this week.

    "We, of course, agree to have cooperation in the fight against terrorism. This is essential. But this does not justify the act of listening to the personal data of millions of our compatriots," said Fabius.

    Fabius said France agrees to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, but that does not justify listening to the personal data of millions of people.

    James Andrew Lewis is the director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies. He said European reaction to the alleged U.S. spying is politically motivated, but it could damage the alliances nonetheless.

    "A lot of it is for public consumption, but it's for their public. Their publics are angry, and the big problem we're looking at is there's been a change in European public opinion about the United States for the worse because of these spying scandals," he said.

    Full disclosure and partnering

    Lewis believes Washington should do a better job of addressing allies' anger about NSA activities.

    "We need a different policy than not commenting on this publicly, and I know it's going to be difficult to come up with an explanation, but the U.S. needs to address the concerns of its European allies, and if we don't do that, we'll only see further harm to the Transatlantic relationship," said Lewis.

    NSA Director Keith Alexander, who has announced plans to retire, recently said U.S. allies appreciate the data gathering because it also protects their countries from terror attacks.

    "Many people have asked me, how has this impacted your relationship with allies? Here is what I get: 'Keep working with us. The intelligence you get us to defend our country is what we really need,'" said Alexander.

    Many of the reports of NSA spying on allies came from leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    Germany's defense minister said that if the alleged surveillance is confirmed, the U.S. and Germany could not simply return to business as usual.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: don muntean from: Saskatchewan
    October 24, 2013 10:17 AM
    Of course I have been fighting the worst such abuse known - for over 11 years - I'm not unconvinced that there isn't some NSA connections to this matter - of course no one cares about the little guy - even though our society is made up of the little guy. So advice for everyone: say goodbye to privacy!


    by: BarleySinger
    October 24, 2013 6:46 AM
    The idea that this sort of intelligence gathering is normal, is not true. Where I live in Australia we have a PRIVACY COMMISSION who would go ballistic over this sort of thing. I can walk down the street without my face being tracked everywhere I go, and my whereabouts kept in a secret computer for "just in case", and my phone calls are not all being recorded (except by those grabbed by the USA). I traded the USA in for a nation with no Bill of Rights, and I am still more free than anyone in the USA has been in a long time - with my rights only respected by the government because it is the right thing to do ... because of it being the social norm here to have them. Having a Constitution and a Bill of Rights which is totally ignored is far worse than a government who gives you those rights and sees no need to write them all down. I would like them written down and followed by I want them FOLLOWED more than I want the WRITTEN


    by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
    October 24, 2013 6:18 AM
    -----------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.--------
    Also, Mr. Obama says we are not monitoring nor will monitor in the future. Are we to interpret, we were doing it, but got caught and so we won't do it again. This s goobldygook.
    Does this include monitoring the leaders the Nations? How would we react if we come to know some Country is monitoring our President's calls?
    Every time Clapper opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it.
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora