Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

US Warned That Spying on Allies Could Harm Fight against Terror

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

US Warned That Spying on Allies Could Harm Fight against Terror

Article excerpt

Byline: Joseph Watts Political Correspondent

EUROPEAN leaders today said the row over the US spying on its allies could damage the fight against terrorism.

In a strongly worded statement the leaders said they had "deep concerns" after it emerged the mobile phone of German chancellor Angela Merkel may have been tapped.

It came as Germany and France demanded talks with President Obama to set out new rules for intelligence gathering by the end of the year.

But the row over US snooping was set to worsen after a leaked document emerged today suggesting American spies monitored the communications of some 35 world leaders.

The revelations overshadowed an EU summit in Brussels and even threatened to knock negotiations for a EU/US trade deal off track.

The statement from the EU leaders said they valued a "close relationship" with the US but trust had been damaged, and that "intelligence gathering is a vital element in the fight against terrorism".

Mrs Merkel said: "We need trust among allies and partners. Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about.

"The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies. But such an alliance can only be built on trust. That's why I repeat again -- spying among friends, that cannot be."

Documents leaked by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden suggest the US National Security Agency also swept up more than 70 million phone records in France.

The Guardian reported today that another memo showed the NSA encouraged White House and Pentagon officials to share foreign leaders' phone numbers so the spy agency could monitor them.

The paper did not identify who was allegedly bugged but said the memo reported the surveillance provided "little reportable intelligence".

Earlier in the week President Obama called Mrs Merkel to assure that her phone was not now being bugged. …

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