Obama ‘gave the go-ahead for Merkel phone tapping’ as he wanted to ‘know everything’ about world’s most powerful woman, German newspaper claims

  • Bild  newspaper in Germany called US denials of eavesdropping ‘diplomatic lies’ as new  documents emerge
  • They quote  a secret source which claims Obama not only sanctioned the operation against Mrs  Merkel but extended it

By  Allan Hall In Berlin

PUBLISHED: 20:11 EST, 27  October 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:11 EST, 27 October 2013

President Barack Obama personally authorised  the phone tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile because he wanted to  ‘know everything’ about the world’s most powerful woman, it was claimed on  Sunday.

Bild newspaper in Germany – which also  reported surveilance on the phone of her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder who  opposed the war in Iraq – called US denials of eavesdropping ‘diplomatic lies’  as new documents from the Nation security Agency in Washington suggest the  bugging against the politicians began at least ten years ago, during the Bush  administration.

Bild quoted a secret intelligence source  saying the president was informed in 2010 about the operation against Merkel by  NSA boss Keith Alexander and he sanctioned it.

Not amused: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had both her work and supposedly bug-proof personal mobile cracked by intelligence agents 

Not amused: German Chancellor Angela Merkel had both her  work and supposedly bug-proof personal mobile cracked by intelligence  agents

‘Obama did not stop the action at that time  but allowed it to continue,’ said an intelligence official familiar with the NSA  operation against Merkel image on Sunday.

‘Obama did not stop the action but rather  furthered it,’ said the Bild informant.

‘The reason for the action?’ said Bild.  ‘Obama wanted to know exactly who this woman was.’

German handling of the eurozone crisis and  its refusal to get involved militarily in Libya increased White House suspicions  of who it was dealing with in Europe, it added.

It was also claimed that as well as listening  into the Nokia supplied to her by her CDU conservative party the electronic  wizards of the NSA also cracked her secure personal mobile only last summer –  receiving both text messages and overhearing calls from that device too – even  though it was supposed to have been made bug-proof by German intelligence  boffins.

German media said there was little doubt that  ‘Handygate’ – the name given to the scandal from the German word Handy for  mobile phone – was launched from the American embassy at Pariser Platz in the  heart of the capital Berlin.

According to German newspapers, 18 NSA  specialists are currently stationed in Berlin, working from a soundproofed,  bombproof room on the fourth floor of the ultra-modern, ultra secure embassy  that is less than two miles from the chancellor’s office.

According to media reports it was Tony  Blair’s mentor in the war against Iraq, President George W. Bush, who instigated  the surveillance against the socialist premier Gerhard Schroeder.

‘Where do the Germans stand, can we trust  Schroeder?’ was allegedly the question, according to Bild, posted in the White  House when Bush sanctioned the hacking of his phone.

Sanctioned: Bild quotes a secret intelligence source which claims the President not only sanctioned but extended the operation against Mrs Merkel 

Sanctioned: Bild quotes a secret intelligence source  which claims the President not only sanctioned but extended the operation  against Mrs Merkel

He apparently was particularly disturbed  about the closeness of the relationship that Schroeder had with Vladimir Putin  of Russia – a friendship which led to Schroeder gaining a five million pound a  year job with Russian energy giant Gazprom when he left office.

‘Schroeder knew that he had greatly angered  America with his opposition to the Iraq war,’ said Bild.

‘In his inner circle he made no secret of his  conviction that he was being bugged by the American secret services.’

German politicians together with spy chiefs  are scheduled to fly to the USA this week for talks with their counterparts  about the snooping programme.

‘High-ranking government representatives will  go rapidly to the United States in order to push forward discussions with the  White House and the NSA on the allegations raised recently,” said Georg  Streiter, the chancellor’s deputy spokesman.

The row has prompted European leaders to  demand a new deal with Washington on intelligence gathering that would maintain  an essential alliance while keeping the fight against terrorism on track.

The 28 leaders also warn that while the bloc  and the United States share a ‘close relationship’, it must ‘be based on respect  and trust.’

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