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Guardian: Merkel Is Only One of 35 World Leaders NSA Has Surveilled

You’ve heard that Germany’s Angela Merkel rang up Obama to complain after German intelligence determined that the NSA “may have” listened in on her cell phone. Subsequently the administration has denied that it does now or ever will surveil her private phone, but has ducked questions about whether it has done so in the past.

Well, the Guardian’s James Ball has just posted another revelation from a Snowden document. A classified memo says that the NSA collected phone numbers of foreign politicians from the Rolodexes of officials at State, the White House, and the Pentagon. (One official supplied 200 numbers.) Of those it obtained, 35 were of world leaders and the NSA immediately started monitoring them.

Presumably three of these are Merkel, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, and Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, as we’ve heard before that they were targets. (Maybe FDL should sponsor a lottery where the person with the best guesses as to the other 32 wins a prize when we eventually find out who they are.)

Ball predicts that “the revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies.” But of course not all of the 35 will necessarily be allies, so the problem may be even broader than that.

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E. F. Beall

E. F. Beall