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Over 100 World Leaders Targeted by NSA Spying

Der Spiegel report reveals Germany especially targeted by US and UK surveillance

Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Over 100 leaders of foreign states are secretly surveilled by the NSA, and Germany has been more heavily targeted by U.S. and U.K. spying than was previously known.

This is according to secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and exposed Saturday by Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark writing for Der Spiegel.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, along with 121 other foreign state leaders, is included in what Der Spiegel describes as a key NSA database "of government leaders who have been tasked as targets." Code-named Nymrod, the database is revealed in a classified 2009 presentation document from the NSA's Center for Content Extraction. Arranged in alphabetical order, only 11 names of world leaders targeted by NSA surveillance are shown on the released document, including Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko, and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe. According to Der Spiegel, the NSA kept over 300 reports on Merkel alone in this database.


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The Der Spiegel report also reveals that in March 2013 the NSA obtained a court order to spy on Germany.

The latest news follows revelations last fall that the NSA had spied on Merkel's mobile phone for up to a decade, causing a significant diplomatic row. While the revelations created a public diplomatic row, German intelligence agencies also closely cooperate with the NSA.

Furthermore, British intelligence agency GCHQ hacked into the servers of German cyber companies and spied on staff communications, Der Spiegel's report reveals. "Is it time for the country to open a formal espionage investigation?" ask the authors.


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