Merkel Compared NSA To Stasi in Complaint To Obama

Merkel has been a fierce critic of the NSA spying tactics abroad.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently told President Barack Obama that the United States’ vast surveillance operations resemble the practices of the reviled Stasi secret police that fostered terror in East Germany, the New York Times reports.

Citing an unnamed person who spoke to Merkel about an “angry” phone conversation with Obama in October, the Times reports that Merkel told Obama, “This is like the Stasi.” Unnamed U.S. officials told the Times that Merkel’s comments weren’t quite so pointed.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in October that the U.S. tracked Merkel’s cellphone, sparking outrage in Germany, where a history of oppressive surveillance has spawned a particular distaste for privacy invasions.

Since the revelations, Merkel, who grew up as the daughter of a Protestant minister in East Germany, has become a fierce critic of the NSA tactics, winning U.S. assurances that it would not track her cell phone.