Nightly News   |  October 25, 2013

Merkel to US: ‘Trust needs to be rebuilt’

Allegations that Angela Merkel’s cell phone was tapped have created the biggest rift yet for the US and its closest European allies. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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

>>> good evening. the u.s. tonight is dealing with the fallout from apparently listening in on much of the world. this week it was the german chancellor angela merkel on the phone with president obama angry at reports that her cell phone had been listen ed in to by the u.s. spy agency. she was just the latest foreign leader in recent days to learn of it. then came the report of the guardian newspaper that the u.s. has monitored communications of 35 world leaders in all. all of this comes from the files that edward snowden made off with after his job as a u.s. intelligence analyst. all of it is making for big problems around the world for this administration. so we begin tonight with our political director chief white house correspondent chuck todd . chuck, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. ever since snowden had been letting the world know that the u.s. has been spying on allies all over the world the obama administration has been in damage control mode. this revelation, the tapping of merkel's cell phone is causing the biggest riff yet with some of america's closest friends. the sight of slighted american allies, germany's angela merkel and france's francois hollande . trust needs to be rebuilt, merkel said. that implies trust has been severely shaken. the president called her to apologize.

>> the president said we are not going to do this going forward.

>> reporter: but it may have been done in the past?

>> we don't want to inventory everything we have done in the past.

>> reporter: the latest nsa revelation has become late night fodder.

>> my impression of how the phone call went. hey, how are you, angela? what do you mean? you know how i am. but.

>> reporter: but the europeans aren't laughing. we need to put an end to it, said the french president . there is a no spying agreement already. ben rhoads tells p me the u.s. might be open to similar agreements with other allies.

>> we are already in diplomatic and intelligence channels talking to the germans, french, countries around the world -- brazil and mexico as well. i think we'll have a series of bilateral discussions with these countries and look at multilateral discussions as well.

>> reporter: this type of survey surveillance is vital.

>> in terms of us understanding what german institutions are doing and thinking, that's a critical u.s. national security interest.

>> reporter: this incident with germany, just the latest in a series of embarrassing revelations that have come from the stolen files of edward snowden causing diplomatic problems around the world. is the president upset about the revelations or the tactics?

>> he's upset about the way in which the information was revealed. it put our security at risk, our intelligence collection at risk. on tactics it's a matter of wanting to get the right balance.

>> reporter: whether this is a coincidence or depending upon your point of view karma the nsa website is down tonight apparently hacked. all nsa folks will say is they are looking into it.

>> chuck todd from the white