September 3, 2020

Angela Merkel's call to Obama: are you bugging my mobile phone?

Angela Merkel’s call to Obama: are you bugging my mobile phone? Reviewed by on . Rating: 3.5

Berlin has reacted strongly to suspicions that US intelligence spied on Chancellor Merkel’s mobile phone.

Read this article from Der Spiegel: how would you react if you found out that your best ally was spying on you?


Jay Carney (the White House Press Secretary) is used to dicey situations. By now, it has become routine for US President Barack Obama’s press secretary to somehow put a positive spin on bad news. But, on Wednesday, Carney found himself in particularly treacherous territory when he was asked during a press briefing whether US intelligence services had monitored the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of one of America’s staunchest allies.

To be on the safe side, Carney read from a prepared statement. He said that Obama had spoken on the telephone with Merkel to discuss the accusations, and that the president has assured the chancellor that the United States ”is not monitoring and will not monitor” her communications. “The United States greatly values our close cooperation with Germany on a broad range of shared security challenges,” he added.

The reaction was a defensive one, and Carney had to carefully choose each word. Indeed, many suspect that the scandal could strain not only official, bilateral relations between the countries, but also personal ties between Merkel and Obama. Carney’s comments came after SPIEGEL reported that American intelligence may have been monitoring the chancellor’s mobile phone communications for several years. Berlin’s suspicions were strong enough to prompt Merkel to telephone Obama and air her complaints directly to him — a strong signal of the usually cool-headed chancellor’s anger over the scandal.


Article by Sebastian FischerClick here to read the full article. Video and headline from The Guardian. Photo: AP.


What does it mean? Click and find out!

to bug (v) To equip (a room or telephone circuit) with a concealed electronic listening device
dicey (adj) difficult or dangerous; risky; tricky
spin (n) a distinctive point of view, emphasis, or interpretation
treacherous (adj) unstable, unreliable, or dangerous
staunch (adj) strong, characterized by firmness, steadfastness, or loyalty
to assure (v) to inform positively, as to remove doubt
to strain (v)  to make a relationship uncomfortable and not friendly
cool-headed (adj) always staying calm in difficult situations


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