EU reps give U.S. officials an earful on surveillance

(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- Spain has joined the chorus of protest over surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, joining France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico.

Elmar Brok
Elmar Brok
CBS News

Last week, the German head of government, Angela Merkel, called President Obama to tell him to stop listening to her cell phone. Late Monday, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein, said she is "totally opposed" to spying on allies.

No eavesdropping was required for U.S. officials to get an earful from European representatives in Washington Monday.

Members of the European Parliament arrived for a closed-door session with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers Monday morning. But the explanation they got did not satisfy Germany's Elmar Brok, who said the wiretapping of Chancellor Merkel's phone was a criminal act.

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Surveillance is a sensitive subject for Germans, particularly for those who grew up in the East German police state, as Merkel did.

"If you get the feeling that your closest ally's spying on you, then that's difficult to talk to such an ally in an open way anymore," Brok told CBS News. "And I think we have to make a clear distinction between fight together terrorism but not spying on friends."

Watch: NSA snooping on foreign allies: What did Obama know?

Brok said Germany wants a "no-spying" pledge, similar to the agreement the U.S. has with the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Those nations share intelligence but agreed not to spy on one another.

"If all the citizens in Europe and the world believe that America is spying on every individual citizens, then I think people do not love America anymore," Brok said. "I think that is a very damaging thing."

Germany wants a U.N. resolution to protect the privacy of electronic communications, and they're partnering with Brazil, another country enraged by NSA spying, in order to craft one. It would be the strongest condemnation of U.S. surveillance to date.

  • Margaret Brennan

    Principally assigned to the State Department, Margaret Brennan also serves as a CBS News general assignment correspondent based in Washington, D.C.

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