US National Security Agency

NSA spied on former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 9:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 3:00am

US intelligence spied on former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder from 2002, German public broadcaster NDR has reported, adding fuel to the flames of a row over spying on incumbent Angela Merkel.

Schroeder, the Social Democrat chancellor who served from 1998 to 2005, appears on a list of names of people and institutions put under surveillance by the National Security Agency from 2002, at the start of his second mandate as German head of state. At the time, Germany was opposing intervention in Iraq.

US-German ties soured amid revelations leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that US intelligence agencies had eavesdropped on Merkel and collected online data and phone records of average citizens.

Schroeder said he was unsurprised by the latest spying report.

"At the time, the idea would never have occurred to me, but now it doesn't surprise me," he told NDR and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily on Tuesday.

US President Barack Obama in a recent interview said that Merkel was no longer under surveillance. Secretary of State John Kerry said last Friday that relations with Germany had gone through a "rough period" because of the spying. He added that shared interests would help put ties back on track.