Report: U.S. Spied on Merkel Since 2002

German chancellor's phone was on NSA list weeks before Obama's June visit

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Tobias Schwarz / Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses her phone at an event in Berlin, October 25, 2011.

The United States may have been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel since as far back as 2002, according to a report Saturday by German news magazine Der Speigel.

Citing a secret document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the news magazine claims the U.S. surveillance arm’s Special Collection Service had Merkel on a list before she became chancellor in 2005, Reuters reports.

The report also detailed an illegal spying branch at the U.S. embassy in Berlin, where NSA and CIA officials spied on the German government. The SCS document allegedly referred to 80 similar branches worldwide including Paris, Rome, Geneva, Madrid, Frankfurt, and Prague.

It was unclear what the nature of Merkel’s surveillance was for, and whether conversations were recorded or connected data was merely collected. Both the White House and Merkel’s office declined to comment.

Germany plans to send intelligence officers to the White House next week to discuss the allegations of bugging Merkel’s phone.