This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was outraged to learn that the U.S. was spying on her cell phone. But, she's not the only one who should be alarmed. The NSA has been snooping into the private phone conversations of at least 35 world leaders. A new classified document released by whistleblower Edward Snowden shows that the security agency pushed senior officials in the White House, State Department, and Pentagon to hand over their “rolodexes” containing contact information for foreign leaders. The document shows that one unnamed official handed over 200 phone numbers, which included dozens of world leaders, so that the National Security Agency could spy on them.
After the information became public, White House officials avoided discussing details of the program. Caitlin Hayden, the National Security Council spokeswoman, said, “The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel. Beyond that, I'm not in a position to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity.” Ms. Hayden did not confirm or deny that the U.S. had been monitoring the Chancellor, or any other world leaders.
Of course, these revelations will have serious impacts on diplomatic relations with Germany and other countries. Already, details of the US spying has angered several nations, including Brazil and Mexico. And, that list is going to grow quickly in the wake of this new information. At a press conference in Brussels, Chancellor Merkel said, “Spying among friends is not at all acceptable against anyone, and that goes for every citizen in Germany.” That goes for every citizen, and every leader, in other nations as well.