German media outlets say that the US National Security Agency (NSA) spied on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder over his opposition to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.
In 2002, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s predecessor was placed on the NSA’s list of the people who were under surveillance, Munich’s daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcaster NDR reported on Tuesday, based on the leaks by Edward Snowden, the NSA former contractor.
In 2002, Schroeder’s Social Democratic party stated at the beginning of its election campaign that Germany would not provide troops or money for an invasion of Iraq.
Schroeder was not surprised by the report, Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote on its website.
Global outrage over US government’s surveillance spiked after a confidential memo obtained from Snowden revealed that the NSA had illegally eavesdropped on the phone conversations of dozens of world leaders, including Merkel.
The German weekly Der Spiegel said in a report published on October 26 last year that the magazine had seen secret documents from the NSA, which show that Merkel’s mobile phone had been listed by the agency’s Special Collection Service since 2002.
The report added that Merkel’s mobile number was still on a surveillance list in June 2013.
On October 24, 2013, The Guardian said in a report that the NSA had monitored the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders.
“A US official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders… Despite the fact that the majority is probably available via open source, the PCs [intelligence production centers] have noted 43 previously unknown phone numbers. These numbers plus several others have been tasked,” according to a classified document provided by Snowden.
“These numbers have provided lead information to other numbers that have subsequently been tasked,” it added.
In October 2013, Snowden leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.
Documents leaked by Snowden showed Britain has also been operating a covert listening post within a stone’s throw of Germany’s parliament, and Merkel’s offices in the Chancellery, using hi-tech equipment housed on the embassy roof.
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