U.S. Officials: Obama Has NSA Halt Spying of Merkel, Other Leaders

Obama administration review reveals 'some 35 world leaders' being monitored by NSA, Wall Street Journal reports; Spanish media reveals extent of NSA spying there.

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The National Security Agency has terminated several programs used to spy on world leaders – among them German Chancellor Angela Merkel – after the Obama administration became aware of the eavesdropping, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal Monday.

An internal review conducted by the Obama administration revealed that the NSA was monitoring "some 35 world leaders," which has drawn international outrage in recent days following the news that the NSA was tapping Merkel's phone and calls in France.

An apologetic Obama told Merkel on Sunday that he was unaware American intelligence services had tapped her phone, German newspapers The Algemeiner and Der Spiegel reported over the weekend. He also reportedly German leader that had he known about the surveillance, he would have ordered an immediate end to it.

According to the WSJ, the White House stopped several programs after finding out about them – such as the case with Merkel - but suggests that Obama went nearly five years without knowing, since the NSA has so many surveillance programs that he couldn’t possibly have been informed on all of them.

It is not yet clear how many of the eavesdropping programs have been terminated or which leaders are still under surveillance.

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo published a document Sunday showing the U.S. National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone, adding flames to the growing allegations.

El Mundo said that a document provided by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows that the NSA monitored the phone calls from Dec. 10, 2012, until Jan. 8, 2013, but not their content.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reportedly summoned the U.S. ambassador for clarifications into the affair, The Guardian reported.

The first allegations emerged in Le Monde last week.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with U.S. President Barack Obama, June 19, 2013.Credit: AFP
Experts working at the Threat Operations Center inside the National Security Agency in suburban Fort Mead, Maryland, January 25, 2006.Credit: AFP

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