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The U.S. spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and that’s a pretty big deal because she’s a head of state, but this wasn’t purely a one-sided affair. According to a Friday report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, German intelligence also listened in on a call involving erstwhile U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The U.S. government will have known about this already, because the information comes from documents given to the CIA by “Markus R.”, a mole within the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) – you may recall that his uncovering was part of the impetus for Germany asking the CIA’s Berlin station chief to leave the country.
SZ’s sources in the German government apparently insisted that there was no systematic espionage against the U.S., and that the recording of the call – while Clinton was in office, and traveling in a U.S. government plane – was purely accidental. A member of the government reportedly said the decision not to destroy the recording was “idiocy.”
According to the article, although the BND has recorded many calls made by U.S. politicians in the past, Merkel ordered in the summer of last year that any such intercepted conversations must be destroyed. That would be around the time of the Snowden leaks, and shortly before it became public that her own phone had been bugged.