US ambassador to Germany summoned to explain NSA bugging chancellor Angela Merkel

John B Emerson, the US ambassador to Germany, has been summoned to a meeting with Guido Westerwelle, the country's foreign minister, over revelations that the NSA bugged chancellor Angela Merkel's phone. Germans are pissed about this. The country's defense minister told a television interview that the allegations were "really, really bad" and that there could be no more "business as usual" in US-German relations. Merkel herself is described as "livid."

Merkel's political opponents, such as the Pirate Party, had criticized her for failing to do enough to bring the US to account over leaks regarding bulk US surveillance of Germany; now they're making great political capital out of the fact that Merkel herself appears to have been directly targeted by US spooks.

Though, as a Guardian commenter observes: "If Merkel has done nothing wrong she has nothing to fear. If she objects to having her phone tapped doesn't that suggest she might be a terrorist?"

Merkel was said by informed sources in Germany to be "livid" over the reports the NSA had bugged her phone and convinced, on the basis of a German intelligence investigation, that the reports were utterly substantiated.

The German news weekly, Der Spiegel, reported an investigation by German intelligence, prompted by research from the magazine, that produced plausible information that Merkel's mobile was targeted by the US eavesdropping agency. The German chancellor found the evidence substantial enough to call the White House and demand clarification...

...Merkel told Obama that "she unmistakably disapproves of and views as completely unacceptable such practices, if the indications are authenticated," Seifert said. "This would be a serious breach of confidence. Such practices have to be halted immediately."

The sharpness of the German complaint direct to an American president strongly suggested that Berlin had no doubt about the grounds for protest. Seibert voiced irritation that the Germans had waited for months for proper answers from Washington to Berlin on the NSA operations

Germany summons US ambassador over claim NSA bugged Merkel's phone [Philip Oltermann/The Guardian]