- (Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called President Barack Obama to demand immediate clarification on whether the U.S. government has been monitoring her phone, saying that if proven true, such an offense would be a "grave breach of trust."
"She made clear that she views such practices, if proven true, as completely unacceptable and condemns them unequivocally," a statement by Merkel's spokesman read, Reuters reported.
"Between close friends and partners, as Germany and the U.S. have been for decades, there should not be such monitoring of the communications of a government leader. This would be a grave breach of trust. Such practices should be immediately stopped."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Obama has tried to assure the German Chancellor that her fears are unfounded and that the U.S. is not monitoring her mobile phone.
"The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor," Carney said later on Wednesday. "The United States greatly values our close cooperation with Germany on a broad range of shared security challenges." CBS News noted, however, that Carney's comment does not specifically state that the government has never monitored the German leader's communications.
It has also not yet been revealed how the German government gained intelligence of the alleged U.S. spying.
The U.S. government has faced growing accusations over the past year of spying on its European allies, with the revelations of ex-U.S. intelligence operative Edward Snowden. French President Francois Hollande and other heads of state have pushed for further inquiries to determine how far-reaching U.S. spying has gone.
Obama and the White House have tried to explain that the U.S. government is not spying on ordinary citizens, and that its tactics are focused on anti-terrorism efforts.
On Tuesday, U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper also went on record to deny reports that the government had collected more than 70 million recorded phone calls in France in a 30-day period, BBC News reported, after French president Le Monde released such information.
"Why are these practices, as they're reported - which remains to be clarified - unacceptable? First because they are taking place between partners, between allies, and then because they clearly are an affront to private life," insisted Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, a French government spokeswoman.
And earlier in October, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a planned visit to the U.S., claiming that America's National Security Agency is spying on her country. In a later speech at the U.N., Rousseff rejected U.S. claims that the interception of information is solely aimed at anti-crime and anti-terrorism efforts.