Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

36 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq reportedly prompted the NSA to spy on his phone communications. (Photo: Tim Reckmann/cc/flickr)

NSA Spied on German Ex-Chancellor Over Iraq War Opposition

Gerhard Schroeder: "I would never have imagined that I was being bugged by American services then, but now I am no longer surprised."

Andrea Germanos

The National Security Agency tapped the mobile phone of Germany's ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder because of his opposition to the U.S.-led war on Iraq, German media reported Tuesday.

According to a joint report by Süddeutsche Zeitung daily and regional public broadcaster NDR, the surveillance of Angela Merkel's predecessor began in 2002, with his name being number 388 on a list of people whose communications should be surveilled.

"We had reason to presume that [Schroeder] was not contributing to the success of the alliance," Süddeutsche quotes an unnamed source as saying.

Schroeder, a Social Democrat, held office from 1998 until 2005, with his second term beginning in 2002.

He was s staunch opponent of the Iraq war, saying at the beginning of his second election campaign that his country would not be providing troops for what he called an "adventure."

"My arguments against military intervention remain, and it is clear that under my leadership, Germany will not participate in military action," Schroeder added during campaign appearances.

Then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered his thoughts on Schroeder's reelection, saying, "the way [the election] was conducted was notably unhelpful, and as the White House indicated, has had the effect of poisoning the [U.S.-German] relationship."

Responding to the revelations on Tuesday, Schroeder said, "I would never have imagined that I was being bugged by American services then, but now I am no longer surprised."

The news is likely to contribute to already strained relations between the two counties. In October of last year Der Spiegel revealed that the NSA may have been spying on the mobile phone of Chancellor Merkel, sparking outrage in Berlin.

__________________


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

'We Will Fight! We Will Win!': Nearly 200 Abortion Rights Defenders Arrested in DC

"If people don't see the rage," said one woman at the protest, "nothing changes."

Jon Queally ·


Federal Abortion Ban Desired by GOP Would Increase Maternal Deaths by 24%: Study

"Pregnancy shouldn't kill people—in fact, in other rich countries it very rarely does," said the lead author of the new analysis.

Jake Johnson ·


Naomi Klein: The US Is in the Midst of a 'Shock-and-Awe Judicial Coup'

"The rolling judicial coup coming from this court is by no means over," warned the author of "The Shock Doctrine."

Jake Johnson ·


Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·


Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo