Nightly News   |  October 23, 2013

NSA leaks strain US-German relationship

On Wednesday, the US insisted it is not monitoring the communications of the chancellor of Germany – but that’s not the only country that feels they’ve been violated in the digital realm. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it sounds like a joke, but it's not. if it's wednesday it must be germany . every day brings fresh outrage from another overseas country . another ally of the united states over new revelations that they have been spied upon by the u.s. it's all coming from the former american intelligence contractor edward snowden . it's making international relations and interpersonal relations very difficult for the obama administration. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel has more.

>> reporter: so germany is now mad, too. angela merkel dialing president obama to ask if the nsa was tapping her cell phone and, if so, germany said that would be a breach of trust and unacceptable. edward snowden strikes again. the chancellor's suspicions came from the german magazine der spiegel which has published leaks from snowden . last seen in public accepting a free speech award in moscow.

>> people all over the world are realizing these programs don't make us more safe.

>> reporter: germany is especially sensitive to reports of americans snooping. the country has very tight privacy laws . so much so that when google tried to street view homes germans insisted on the right to blur or in german -- [ speaking in a foreign language ] -- at the white house today, an explanation.

>> i can tell you that the president assured the cannes lhancellor that the u.s. is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor.

>> reporter: germany isn't washington's only friend feeling digitally violated. on monday president obama called french president hollande after reports the nsa vacuumed up 70 million e-mails and phone calls in france in one month last year.

>> i am delighted to welcome my friend --

>> reporter: in mexico, many are angry over reports the nsa hacked into the former president's e-mail. brazil's president, well, she took a harder stance. after outrage at home last month she postponed a u.s. visit over reports the nsa collected her communications, too. everybody spies. but it used to be in secret. friends don't like friends reading their mail, especially if everybody finds out about it. there is a growing impression around the world that washington spies on its friends, its enemies and on its own citizens. over time , brian, this has a corrosive effect on the united states which claims to respect free speech .

>> getting tougher to do business out there. richard engel with us tonight. richard, thanks as always.