Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor.
Secret files newly published by the German magazine Der Spiegel and The Intercept provide a glimpse into the scope and nature of US and UK intelligence agencies’ targeting of world leaders. Such spying appears more pervasive and intrusive than previously reported.
The documents, provided to journalists by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden and published on Saturday, highlight how German Chancellor Angela Merkel and more than 100 other foreign leaders have been placed in a top-secret surveillance database hosted by the NSA. As such, the leaders have been subjected to heightened scrutiny. The Intercept also revealed that the Obama administration obtained a top-secret court order permitting the agency to monitor German communications.
The documents contained in the NSA database, code-named Nymrod, indicate that 122 world leaders have been subjected to active surveillance by the spy agency. They reveal that Merkel and other world leaders—including the leaders of more obvious targets, like the presidents of Syria and Colombia—have been tracked in the Nymrod system’s so-called “Target Knowledge Database,” which contains 300 automatically generated “cites” for the German Chancellor alone, according to Der Spiegel.
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