Obama Tells Merkel That US Is Not Tapping Her Phone

U.S. President Barack Obama wipes a tear as he speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, during a press briefing at the White House in Washington December 14, 2012. A tearful President Obama expressed "overwhelming grief" for the victims of a shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school and called on Americans to set aside politics and "take meaningful action" to prevent more tragedies of this kind. A heavily armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, killing 26 people including 18 children in the latest in a series of shooting rampages that have tormented the United States this year, U.S. media reported.     REUTERS/Yuri Gripas  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS CRIME LAW)

BERLIN — The German government said Wednesday that it had received information that the cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany was under surveillance by United States intelligence services and that she had called President Obama to make clear that such practices – if confirmed – were “completely unacceptable.”

Steffen Seibert, the chancellor’s spokesman, quoted her as telling Mr. Obama: “Between close friends and partners, which the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States of America have been for decades, there should be no such surveillance of the communications of a head of government.”

He further quoted her as telling him: “That would be a grave breach of trust. Such practices must cease immediately.”

It was the second time in three days that allegations of American government surveillance threatened to cloud relations between Washington and close European allies. The consternation in Berlin followed a furor in France over reports in the newspaper Le Monde that American intelligence had collected data on 70 million communications by French citizens in a 30-day period late last year and into January.

The White House issued a statement confirming that Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel had spoken “regarding allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the communications of the German Chancellor. The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel.”

The statement did not address whether..

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/world/europe/united-states-intelligence-official-disputes-spying-report-in-french-newspaper.html?_r=0