NSA Surrounded Merkel in 'Web of Surveillance': WikiLeaks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with aides in 2012. (Photo: European People's Party/flickr/cc)

NSA Surrounded Merkel in 'Web of Surveillance': WikiLeaks

Spy target list includes not only confidential numbers for Merkel, but also for her top officials, her aides, her chief of staff, and even her fax machine

New documents published Wednesday by WikiLeaks show that the U.S. National Security Agency "explicitly targeted for long-term surveillance 125 phone numbers for top German officials and did so for political and economic reasons."

The publication comes on the heels of similar leaks regarding NSA targets within the governments of France and Brazil. Previous revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about wide-ranging U.S. espionage in Germany--specifically, eavesdropping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone--caused outrage when they surfaced.

According to WikiLeaks, the target list includes almost two dozen telephone numbers at the federal agency that serves the executive office of the Chancellor, in effect "surrounding the Chancellor in a web of surveillance." It includes not only confidential numbers for Merkel, but also for her top officials, her aides, her chief of staff, her political office, and even her fax machine.

Two cell numbers for Geza Andreas von Geyr, former department head of Foreign and Security Policy at the Chancellery (responsible for bilateral U.S. relations), were targeted, as was the T-Mobile number for Bernard Kotch, current deputy head of the Federal Chancellery Office.

"The intensive nature of US targeting around the Chancellor explains why the White House could easily commit to not targeting Angela Merkel personally in the future, but continues to refuse to make such a commitment for other members of the German government," the WikiLeaks statement continues. After all, it notes, "the Chancellor cannot run the government by talking to herself."

Wednesday's leak includes three NSA reports based on interceptions of Merkel's conversations, which cover topics such as international financial policy and the Chancellor's private views about President Barack Obama's engagement with Iran.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said Wednesday's developments provided sufficient evidence to reopen a national inquiry into surveillance claims.

"There is now proof enough of NSA surveillance on German soil," Assange declared. "It is time to reopen the investigation and for the NSA to stop engaging in its illegal activities against Germany."

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