NSA spies amassed 300 reports on Angela Merkel, magazine reveals
The US National Security Agency's vast eavesdropping programmes amassed more than 300 reports on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Der Spiegel reported yesterday, citing information leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
Merkel was on a list of some 122 heads of state and government about whom the NSA gathered intelligence in May 2009, the German weekly reported on its website.
Der Spiegel said it had seen documents showing the more than 300 reports on Merkel along with the presidents of Peru, Somalia and Belarus.
The purported NSA files could "be an important element of proof" for the German judiciary, which is to "decide in the coming days whether to open an inquiry into suspected espionage", it said.
Documents made public by Snowden in October revealed that the NSA had listened to Merkel's mobile phone conversations for several years - a revelation which strained relations between the two strong allies.
This came as one of NSA's staunch defenders in Washington, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers, said he would not seek re-election in November.
The news has triggered a contest to take his position on the powerful panel.
Republican congressmen Peter King and Devin Nunes said they would contend for the chairmanship, which is decided by the Speaker of the House.
"I would certainly appreciate being considered," King said. Nunes confirmed in a text message that he planned to apply for the post.
Rogers, 50, a Republican who has served in Congress since 2001 and as head of the panel since 2011, announced his decision on Detroit radio station WJR-AM.
He will host a nationally syndicated radio show on Cumulus Media starting next January.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg