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German FM Westerwelle: U.S. “cannot fight terrorism” by taping Merkel’s phone

October 31st, 2013
03:37 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The U.S. “cannot fight terrorism” by listening to German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s personal cell phone, the foreign minister of that country, Guido Westerwelle, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“I understand that it is necessary to fight against terrorism,” he said, “but you cannot fight terrorism by taping the Chancellor’s cell phone.”

When asked if Westerwelle believed that his own phone was being tapped, the foreign minister demurred.

“I cannot exclude it,” he said.

Representatives of the European Parliament have been in Washington this whole week, holding discussions with the State Department, Congress, and intelligence agencies.

The White House has said that it "is not monitoring and will not monitor” Chancellor Merkel’s communications, but has not commented on whether it has in the past.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported that Merkel’s phone had been monitored for more than 10 years.

“This is a breach of trust,” Westerwelle said. “We, as responsible political leaders, have now to consider and to negotiate with each other how can we rebuild, restore this confidence and distrust between our government[s].”

Amanpour asked Westerwelle what Merkel’s “personal” reaction was to her phone being tapped.

“I think it was, on the one hand relaxed,” he said. “On the other hand, everyone could see that she was disappointed.”

He said that the spying row would not affect negotiations over a proposed U.S.-EU free trade deal, echoing a similar sentiment from the American ambassador in London.

The deal “is in our mutual strategic interest; the Western world will benefit from this agreement,” he said.

To building trust, the foreign minister suggested that a reciprocal American delegation in Europe, to explain U.S. intelligence activities, would go a long way.

“For the long-term partnership, one thing is for sure: We are not only partners, we are really good and close friends,” Westerwelle said, adding that the U.S. and Germany “belong to the same community of values.”

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Alison Beach

    Her name is Angela Merkel

    October 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • Richars

      Did it ever occur to anyone that it is not her calls that were monitored, it is calls placed to Islamic leaders, embassy, consulates? Remember Islam is the enemy of every man, women and child in the world...even themselves! Look at Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Eygypt, Saudi Arabia, most of Africa, large portion of Asia, the Far East, North America, South America, Australia, Central Ameria, Europe.... the list goes on and on and on. Islam is a disease, a viral infection of Earth.

      November 1, 2013 at 5:36 am | Reply
      • Asadullah khan

        Nor by sabotaging taliban/pak government talks

        November 5, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • Asadullah khan

        you may criticize the muslims not islam

        November 5, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  2. PabloNH

    And we were "tapping", not "taping"...

    October 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
    • Thetruth

      I was surprised to see it spelt repeatedly as "taping". LOL

      October 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
    • Pete

      One typo, big deal....

      October 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Reply
    • sigmoidx

      Maybe NSA wrapped her phone with some duct

      October 31, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  3. Katie Vecchio

    Who edits/writes these articles?

    October 31, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  4. zoglet

    Europe needs to make a clear break from the US. It has seen the face of fascism too many times not to recognise it when it is peering at it down a lense.

    October 31, 2013 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • kcjazzy

      You hit the nail right on the head. sad but true. It is almost like history in reverse.

      October 31, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Reply
    • John Lee

      Well said. Uncle Sam is deceiving the whole world. He deceives the world that he is the defender and policeman of the world, when in truth, he is as evil as Adolfo Hitler the Facist, scheming to impose Americans as the Master Race on the rest of us. Yankees go home!

      October 31, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • Red Bildt

      "The US helped Germany foil a terrorist plot a few years ago" Fxck that thinking, this 9/11-born terrorism is a plot of the US to force the EU partners in NATO into an unwinable war of geopolitical chess with China and Russia, possibly with the whole BRICS nation who need oil to develop. It's funny that the West, who developped the scientific methods and physical laws from Isac Newton to Nicolaus Copernicus can't accept the scientific truth of 9/11 near freefall collapse of 3 building, 2 hit by drones, one (WTC7) missed. That miss probably will cost western civilisation its place in the final solution.

      November 5, 2013 at 5:32 am | Reply
    • f4xtrafn

      Yes. And it is seeing it in Europe again. Just look at the extremist right wing parties in Italy, Greece, Germany, France, Russia etc. What is their battle cry??? The same as it was in the early 1930's. Europe doesn't have to worry about the US, they need to look in the mirror.

      November 5, 2013 at 7:41 am | Reply
  5. Kyne

    Ever notice that only Germany speaks of the US-German relationship as friendship?

    October 31, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Reply
    • Mysterios

      Actually, Obama told germans as friends only a few month ago when he were in germany and spoke in the front of the Brandenburger Tor. When he took of hes jacket he said: "We can a little bit more informal among friends"

      October 31, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Reply
      • Kyne

        Well, that was said as a joke, this is srs bsns.

        October 31, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • zeus

      US thinks only one country in the world as her friend and that is Israel. Israel thinks that they do not have any friend in the world.

      October 31, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Reply
    • Carol

      Who do you think the friends of the US are?

      November 1, 2013 at 1:39 am | Reply
      • Richars

        Every nation that runs into trouble ALWAYS considers the USA as a friend. When they are not in need of help they claim to hate us. Next time we should just tell them to go pound sand.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Who

      You should not talk about something, you have no idea about.If you would read and not only American made news you would know that every where from Asia to Europe and even the President itself calls it a "Friendship".

      November 1, 2013 at 4:22 am | Reply
  6. Angelic Stephanie

    I like the German Foreign minister!! I wish I could personally apologize to him and to Angela on behalf of my country even though I would never ever have supported spying on a very close friend!! I really hope Germany can regain confidence and trust in us. I think Washington better do WHATEVER they can to make things right. Don't lie to Germany. Tell them it won't happen again and *REALLY* don't do it again. If the U.S. continues this kind of behaviour, then maybe I wanna just live in Germany instead! 🙂 After all, I'm partially German.
    PEACE to he Western World!!! 🙂

    October 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Reply
    • Angelic Stephanie

      THE* Western World

      October 31, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  7. haahaa

    I am glad they are doing it to their allies.. now snowden looks like the guy that tried to warn europe.

    October 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Reply
    • zeus

      ..and Europe rejected him.....

      October 31, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Reply
      • tyelko

        No, they didn't reject him. The US prevented him from going there, and their hands are tied as long as he isn't there.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  8. Sanseh

    Why they need to spy on you if they trust you? Is USA meddling in German Affairs and trying to influence politics there beside giving edge to their business interest. Perhaps, if USA did not spy on Germany then would they would be friends and share same values? Well, some question we may not know the answer. Is USA dominance based on its spying or values? Spying suggest it values are different then stated as only for domination.

    October 31, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Reply
    • scrut

      >>Is USA meddling in German Affairs and trying to influence politics there

      Yes, the US is asserting pressure, forceful lobbying and other diplomatic means to meddle in European politics. To make Europe (including Germany) do what is good for the US. Thus far, Europe has complied in all relevant aspacts.

      >>Is USA dominance based on its spying or values?

      It is based on its military and economic power, nothing else

      November 4, 2013 at 5:18 am | Reply
  9. Jonaz

    NSA must have completely lost control – and apparently Obama too.

    October 31, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Reply
    • zeus

      Don't blame Obama, he didn't start it. By the way, White house or the so called "peoples representatives" control USA.

      October 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Reply
      • zeus not control USA.

        October 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
      • Carlos

        but odum dum could have stopped it long ago

        October 31, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
  10. BB

    How naive can Westerwelle be? The NSA purpose isn't just to catch terrorists, but to obtain information about all groups, officials, leaders that could benefit decision making. Given Germany's important position in the world, they'd have to be pretty stupid not to expect tapping, and should do a much better job securing their official's communication systems.

    October 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Reply
    • Angelic Stephanie

      Then I guess I'm stupid too because I trust Germany completely. If I made all the decisions for the U.S., I would trust Germany as much as I trust my best friend Caitlin!

      October 31, 2013 at 7:03 pm | Reply
      • Angelic Stephanie

        OH LOL and Caitlin just said she took that as a compliment haha 🙂

        October 31, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  11. romeno82

    only an i**ot thinks the nsa does it for fighting terrorism...

    October 31, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  12. yehya toema

    shame on you USA same thing you are helping terroorists againes EGYPTIAN PEOPE

    October 31, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Reply
  13. n2it

    Es tud mir leid. We are the neu Gestapo.

    October 31, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  14. Warren

    The whole EU establishment, Germany in particular, seems to be a joke. They needed info from a fugitive to realize this, and even now they seem to lack the guts to deal with the matter in a determined way..where had been the german intelligence for more then 10 years?? they sacked stasi agents and they'd become impotents.. 🙂

    October 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Reply
    • Dennis

      But who's the bigger idiot here? The ones that believe in trusting their allies or a country that needs to spy on others, can't handle their intelligence nor it's employees and has a president who doesn't seem all that bothered about it?
      German intelligence is interested in other things than trying to prove that it can't trust their partners. Germany is not that paranoid and uses the terrorism scare every chance they get. Other issues are much more important in Germany. That's why they are where they are now.

      The trust between the US government and Germany is broken. All this political talk that Westerwelle makes here means nothing. The man is practically out of a job and is just waiting for the new government, of which his party isn't a part anymore, to start working. The Social Democrats in Germany are much more offended by this than Westerwelle's Free Party. Officials from the Green Party, who demanded to grand Snowden asylum in Germany, met with him in Russia and asked for help in a possible investigation by officials of all parties of the German Bundestag.

      Don't be mistaken. Germany is going to react. In their newspapers this NSA scandal is making headlines every single day. And because of their own past with the Stasi, Germany isn't going to take this likely. Germans are very touchy when it comes to their freedom rights and their privacy. And it has already been made clear by several German officials that the NSA broke German law. Germany didn't sign the Patriot Act. And if someone as normal as you and me would do what the NSA did they would go to prison for a very, very long time.

      October 31, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply
      • Siggi

        Thank you Dennis.
        If you allow, I would like to add the following:
        as the Americans have recognized 68 years ago that not everyone German was a Nazi we will realize that most U.S. citizens are lovely people – even an NSA employee after office hours 😉

        November 1, 2013 at 6:40 am |
      • German Boy

        Excuse me Dennis, but something of your imagination about the people of germany is not like the reality.

        The germans are blinded by the daily newspapers that are manipulated from the government .
        This nsa scandal is a joke cause the german intelligence BND take an essential part in this story.
        The most information about the privacy of the germans was spied by the german intelligence BND.
        After a request of the NSA to BND about private informations about the people in germany, our BND send the information to your NSA.
        Nobody in germany is really wondered about the u.s. spying. We were more wondered if the nsa does it not !
        Its common in the newspaper since a few month, but now, if angela merkels phone was spyied, germany gets in move and the whole world is interested.
        the 80 billion germans that are spied doesnt play a role, but mrs. merkel do it... its a shame and only one more reason to distract from the real problems with the € .
        we germans are not free and we dont have much privacy... we had the fewest democracy of all democratic states in the world, and we can nothing do about the lobbyism and the corruption of our government. Pls world help us... angela merkel ruins germany, the euro and the whole european countries. it will be only get obvious in a few years, but its to late in a few years... someone must stop her politics... the german people are to cowardly and suppressed from our laws and the economic pressure...

        excuse my bad english, i read foreign newspapers to improve my english skills 🙂

        November 1, 2013 at 7:27 am |
      • Dennis

        @German Boy: True words of a left-wing socialist!? You know that Merkel was just reelected; winning almost the majority of the votes. You might have a different political opinion but let's not forget what's pretty obvious here. This is about the US american and German partnership, which is deeply hurt.

        And today, after an official of the Green Party met with Edward Snowden in Russia, there is a letter that could really change this partnership between the United States and Germany forever.
        In the end I hope that the four parties of the German Bundestag stick together, grand Snowden asylum and get this investigation going.

        As far as the spying goes and Germans expecting to be spied on, that's just not true. Germany has been talking about changes in law that forbids the NSA spying on German citizen. And before a new government was formed it came out that the NSA even tapped Merkel's phone.

        Who thinks that Germany takes that likely is just not listened to the news these days and the developments in the contact with Snowden.

        November 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  15. Pete

    Obama didn't know about it...he didn't know about NSA's huge data collection center in Utah either and he for sure didn't know about the Obama Care website give Mr. Obama a break here!!

    October 31, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Reply
  16. Kent Phan

    Just wonder that what if the spying would not be carried out by the USA, indeed, a little country and furthermore, non pro-western. What would be the reactions by these victiming allied western countries?

    October 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  17. Dara

    NSA are tapping (and may be taping) Obama's phone as we speak (or type).
    Just who is in control in the US?
    It is genuinely concerning for us non-Americans, I think American citizens should be seriously concerned about this.
    I don't accept that those in control have the interests of the American people at heart.

    October 31, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Reply
  18. Robert Hussein

    Since Americans realized, and the world realized that there is an act called ;" Bush's Patriot act", they have become angry of course not like Ayrabs (Arabs), because of 250 million Arabs, there are 97M. illiterates . But my question is that I have been asking all along , and I posted in few sites , hoping to get an answer for "How on earth USA is fighting Saudi Wahabi Salafi as known as terrorists by listening to German Chancellor Angel Merkel’s fart?, but still I have got no answer.

    November 1, 2013 at 6:09 am | Reply
    • Dara

      They may want to control her farts in order to protect the Wahhabis from being blown away. I have a feeling it is all about protecting and safeguarding deviant currents that are Wahhabism and Zi0nism. Call me clinical if you wish.

      November 1, 2013 at 6:36 am | Reply
  19. Sal

    Spying to Germany by the NSA has nothing to do with terrorism and Mr. Westewelle is perfectly aware about it.
    He knows what's all about: Technology and Economy.

    November 1, 2013 at 7:33 am | Reply
  20. cristian

    so obama can tap my phone?

    November 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  21. cristian

    let's see
    1. europe awards obama the Nobel Peace Prize for only god knows what...
    2. europe denies snowden their air corridors.
    3. europe use snowden's information to get angry at the USA
    4. it seems europe does its own spying and phone tapping, only they don't do it as well...
    go figure.

    November 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  22. Johngeo

    I think all the fuzz Germany is making is a bit over the top.
    The US helped Germany foil a terrorist plot a few years ago. The Germans must have known that the information given to them was aquired by tapping.

    Sure, tapping is a sensitive issue given Germany's history but countries spy on each other all the time allies and enemy's a like.
    It has always been this way.
    What's new is that the public knows about it now.

    I wonder if this outrage is a bit of an act to reassure the public something will be done while in fact nothing is going to change.

    Check out the website:

    November 3, 2013 at 4:42 am | Reply
  23. Asadullah khan

    The word terrorism needs be redeined

    November 5, 2013 at 10:26 am | Reply
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