'Fight against terrorism' greatly hindered by U.S. Spying, leaders say
U.S. Routinely spied on 35 world leaders, leaks reveal
The world is mad at the United States. Why? Because when you have good relations, there has to be a certain leeway between nations. Recent leaks, however, showing that the National Security Agency, or NSA routinely monitored 35 world leaders certainly doesn't further the cause in the fight against terrorism. European Union leaders say that this distrust on the part of the U.S. Has greatly hindered the war on terror.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets French President Francois Hollande at the European Union summit in Brussels.
"(European leaders) stressed that intelligence gathering is a vital element in the fight against terrorism," Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council said. "This applies to relations between European countries as well as to relations with the USA.
"A lack of trust could prejudice the necessary cooperation in the field of intelligence gathering," he said.
In discussions that went past midnight, Van Rompuy announced that France and Germany were seeking bilateral talks with the U.S. by the end of this year to resolve the dispute over electronic spying.
"What is at stake is preserving our relations with the United States," French President Francois Hollande told reporters. "They should not be changed because of what has happened. But trust has to be restored and reinforced."
In addition, German officials will travel to the U.S. to discuss spying allegations and whether Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone was monitored by the NSA.
"It's become clear that for the future, something must change - and significantly," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. "We will put all efforts into forging a joint understanding by the end of the year for the cooperation of the (intelligence) agencies between Germany and the U.S. and France - and the U.S. to create a framework for the cooperation."
Joining the chorus reflecting Merkel's displeasure, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called it "completely unacceptable" for a country to eavesdrop on an allied leader, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte calling the spy allegations "exceptionally serious."
Security documents obtained by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden are at the heart of the current controversy. The White House believes Snowden has also obtained sensitive material about secret cooperation with allied and non-allied nations, prompting the U.S. to alert foreign intelligence services.
Some of the documents revealed thus far detail collection programs against countries such as Iran, Russia and China, the U.S. government said.
A confidential memo suggesting the NSA was able to monitor 35 world leaders' communications in 2006 has been reportedly obtained by United Kingdom newspaper The Guardian.
The memo reportedly says that the NSA encouraged senior officials at the White House, the Pentagon and other agencies to share their contacts so the spy agency could add foreign leaders' phone numbers to its surveillance systems. The Guardian did not identify the targets of the alleged eavesdropping.
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