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WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama visited Berlin in June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) made a point of showing him a balcony in her office overlooking train tracks that crossed the border of her once-divided country. It was a scene that symbolized her upbringing on the east side of the divide, where eavesdropping by secret police was rampant during the Cold War.
Merkel's personal history has influenced her outrage over revelations that the National Security Agency was monitoring her communications. The spying also threatens to deeply damage the close relationship between Obama and Merkel, which, until now, has been defined by candor and trust.
Reports based on leaks from former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden suggest the U.S. has monitored the telephone communications of 35 foreign leaders, including Merkel.