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

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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.