NSA Stops Tapping Merkel’s Phone, Spies on Hundreds of German Leaders Instead

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BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 19:  U.S. President Barack Obama meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel for bilateral talks at the Chancellery on June 19, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. Obama is visiting Berlin for the first time during his presidency and his speech at the Brandenburg Gate is to be the highlight. Obama will be speaking close to the 50th anniversary of the historic speech by then U.S. President John F. Kennedy in Berlin in 1963, during which he proclaimed the famous sentence: Ich bin ein Berliner.  (Photo by Jochen Zick - Pool /Getty Images)
Photo: Pool/2013 Getty Images

After Edward Snowden's leaks revealed that the NSA was targeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, the Obama administration vowed, "the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel." According to a report in the German paper Bild am Sonntag, the NSA has made good on that promise ... while stepping up surveillance on 320 political and business leaders in Germany, including Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. her close confidant. According to Reuters, an unnamed NSA employee told the paper, "We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor's communication directly." In another report released Sunday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Spiegel magazine that the U.S. has definitely learned its lesson about spying on its allies. "I am sure that surveillance of the political leadership of friendly states is finished," he said.