President Obama was unaware that the National Security Agency was tapping the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel until the program’s existence was revealed by an internal investigation this summer, The Wall Street Journal reports.
U.S. officials told the publication that the programs — which included the monitoring of 35 foreign leaders — were ended this summer after the Obama administration’s investigation discovered its existence. They did not, however, specify who gave the order or when it was issued.
Their claims come after an enraged Merkel called out Obama last week after German news outlets reported that the NSA had been monitoring her phone. Merkel has reportedly been a secret supporter of the agency’s covert counterterrorism programs.
The White House denied that the agency was monitoring Merkel’s phone calls, but did not deny whether the agency had ever spied on her.
On Saturday, a previously secret document provided to the German publication Der Spiegel revealed that the NSA has been monitoring Merkel’s phone for over 10 years.
Revelations about the agency’s surveillance activities in Europe and South America have fueled outrage around the world against the U.S.
Twenty-one countries, including Germany and Brazil, are now looking to the U.N. for a solution to rein in the U.S. spy agency.