Germany wants answers to claims that the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.
In response to the allegations, the European nation is sending senior intelligence officials to Washington, D.C. Among those traveling to the US will be the heads of Germany's foreign and domestic intelligence services and the coordinator of the federal intelligence services.
CNN reports that the trip by German officials comes amid a series of reports suggesting the NSA spied or is spying on Germany's elected officials and citizens.
The latest story was published by Der Spiegel, which claimed that Merkel's phone was monitored more than 10 years, based on a secret US intelligence file. The same database indicated that the US was spying on others in Berlin's political district, at least up until US President Barack Obama visited the city earlier this year.
The Guardian notes that the allegations about the NSA spying on Germany's elected officials presents the United States with a full-scale diplomatic crisis. The NSA's Special Collection Service (SCS) allegedly listed Merkel's phone number since 2002. in the document cited by Der Spiegel, the agency added that it had a "not legally registered spying branch" inside the US embassy in Berlin.
The exposure of such a spying branch would lead to "grave damage for the relations of the United States to another government." The White House refused to comment on the report, or any others that emerged in Germany overnight. Caitlin Hayden, the White House's national security council spokeswoman, stated, "We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity."
However, the White House will likely have to answer to Germany's senior officials when they arrive in Washington, D.C., to discuss the matter. The German representatives will be in the US capital "very soon," according to a foreign ministry spokesman, who added that the intelligence officials will likely meet with their respective counterparts.
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