President Barack Obama was not aware that the National Security Agency was monitoring world leaders and ended some of those programs once an internal review revealed the snooping, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
U.S. officials told the Journal that this summer an internal review by the administration turned up NSA monitoring of 35 world leaders, confirming a report in the Guardian citing a memo leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that revealed the phone conversations of 35 foreign leaders were tracked by the agency.
The White House cut off some of those monitoring programs once it learned of them, including one tracking German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to one senior U.S. official. According to the Journal, the officials’ account suggested that Obama was unaware of the bugging for almost five years.
German magazine Der Speigel reported Saturday that U.S. bugging of Merkel’s mobile phone may have dated as far back as 2002. Last week, Merkel expressed concern that the U.S. may have been monitoring her phone calls. Obama assured her that the U.S. “is not monitoring and will not monitor” her communications.