Another day, another foreign country realizing that the NSA is spying on its leadership. This time around, it's Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel, alerted to the possibility by reporters working on Snowden documents for Spiegel, called President Obama to confront him
about evidence that the NSA was monitoring her mobile phone calls.
During her conversation with Obama, Merkel expressed her expectation that "US authorities would provide an explanation about the possible extent of such surveillance practices, and thus answer questions that the German government already posed months ago," Seibert said.
"As a close ally of the United States of America, the German government expects a clear contractual agreement on the activities of the agencies and their cooperation," he added.
Of course, as with similar revelations recently concerning Brazil, France and Mexico, none of this should really be all that surprising. Spying agencies spy on top elected officials and bureaucrats in other countries all the time. It's what they do. A lot of the reaction to getting caught is just political theater. It's embarrassing, but not nearly as big a deal as governments spying on citizens. That said, the amusing bit is this:
"The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel."
Oh, and this:
The spokeswoman did not wish to specify whether this statement applied to the past.
[the] NSA, asked [about the White House's] statement wording, officially says it has nothing to add [about] whether Merkel was targeted in the past
Yup. Genius move by the White House spin doctors there. Say we're not monitoring and won't in the future, calling that much more attention to the question of "in the past" and then refuse to make any statements about that.