Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has become the latest world leader to learn that he had his their calls monitored by the US intelligence service, the National Security Agency (NSA).
The leader of Germany’s Social Democrat party was put under surveillance by the US as long as ten years ago, with his government’s opposition to the Iraq War thought to be a reason behind American snooping on his messages.
“I would never have imagined that I was being bugged by American services then,” the former Schoreder said after hearing his calls were tapped, “but now I am no longer surprised.”
Research by German news outlets Süddeutsche Zeitung and NDR suggests that the NSA wanted to spy on whoever was in the post of Chancellor, which was occupied by Schroder in 2002.
Current German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also been subjected to phone tapping, a practice which reportedly began in 2002 but only ended last year when she started using a Blackberry.
The National Security Agency denied that US President Barack Obama had any knowledge about the surveillance, and it’s believed the President personally apologised to Merkel about the actions of the Agency.
The latest NSA snooping revelations, come courtesy of documents released by former US government IT contractor and whistleblower, Edward Snowden.
They come after major web companies, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo, have revealed information about surveillance requests by the NSA as part of an effort to improve transparency.
During a six-month period, Google gave the US government metadata of up to 999 accounts and information about communications sent by over 9,000 customers, according to its disclosures. Google also said it wants to push government to allow them to reveal more information about requests by US authorities.
“We still believe more transparency is needed so everyone can better understand how surveillance laws work and decide whether or not they serve the public interest,” said Richard Salgado, Google’s legal director for law enforcement and information security
“Specifically, we want to disclose the precise numbers and types of requests we receive, as well as the number of users they affect in a timely way. That’s why we need Congress to go another step further and pass legislation that will enable us to say more.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft said that it received between 15,000 and 16,000 requests for information about user communications, while Yahoo was subject to between 30,000 and 40,000 requests over the same six month period, according to its disclosures.