German lawmakers are calling for a parliamentary investigation into the hacking of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone. Stories broke in recent days suggesting that U.S. President Barack Obama knew about the spying program. The news was reported by Businessweek earlier today. German intelligence officials are heading to Washington today in order to discuss the spying program.
The news that the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on the calls of leaders around the world has cause a rift between leaders in Europe and the United States. The two countries that appear to have been most strongly affected by the program are Spain and Germany, and the fallout in those countries has been particularly pronounced.
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German spying probe
In Germany, the U.S. spying program has become a central part of the country’s talks to form a coalition government. Andrea Nahles, the General Secretary of the country’s biggest party, the Social Democrats, said that a parliamentary investigation was unavoidable in an interview with the newspaper Bild. The Social Democrats are the party that Angela Merkel needs to convince to join her Christian Democrats in coalition to form a new government.
A report in Bild that appeared over the weekend asserted that Barack Obama has known about the spying since 2010. The NSA denied that the President had any idea about the intelligence program, though it did not go as far as confirming that the program actually exists. Obama apologized to Merkel in a phone conversation last week and told the Chancellor that he did not know about the program.
U.S. / EU relations
The United States has also suffered a loss in trust in Spain where a report asserted that the National Security Agency has monitored calls made by millions of Spaniards over the last decade. Problems related to the NSA data-monitoring program are deepening and it is changing the relationship between Europe and the United States.
Some in the United States, particularly the country’s more hawkish lawmakers, have said that the United States has nothing to apologize for in relation to the spying program. The country’s relationship with the rest of the world was supposed to improve under President Barack Obama. With spying troubles breaking out in some of the continents’ biggest countries, that seems far from the truth.