US refuses to enter 'no spy' pact with Germany, says German newspaper

Despite Obama's words, US won't rule out bugging nation's leaders, says paper

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 1:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 1:57am


America is refusing to enter a bilateral "no spy" agreement with Germany and has declined to rule out bugging the calls of German political leaders in the immediate future, according to reports in the German media.

Last October, revelations that the National Security Agency had been bugging Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone were met with outrage in Berlin and apologetic sound bites from Washington.

President Barack Obama had reportedly assured the German leader that the US "is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel". Barely three months on, the mood seems to have changed.

[The US] … will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel

Hopes in Germany that the US would enter into some kind of non-spying pact similar to the one between America and Britain have been dashed, according to information obtained by the newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

"We are not getting anything," the newspaper quotes a source from within the German foreign intelligence agency.

"The Americans have lied to us," said another source.

As well as refusing to inform German authorities of when the NSA had been bugging the chancellor's mobile phone, the US was not commenting on plans for current or future surveillance activities in relation to German political leaders.

A request for access to what is assumed to be a surveillance centre in the top floor of the US embassy next to Berlin's Brandenburg Gate has also been rejected.

The German government has told the Obama administration it would consider such a "nest of spies" a breach of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.

Talks about a surveillance agreement between Germany and the US started months before it emerged that Merkel's mobile phone had been targeted.

In August 2013, the German government answered an official query on the subject, saying there had already been a verbal agreement and that a pact had been suggested by the US.