Quoting an unnamed NSA official, the newspaper reports that Obama knew that the NSA had been spying on Merkel's mobile phone since at least 2010, when NSA chief Keith Alexander personally informed him of the operation.
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In addition to Merkel's mobile phone, the NSA also listened in on a supposedly secure phone that Merkel received during the summer, according to Bild am Sonntag.
Only a special, secure landline phone in her office was reportedly not accessible to electronic tapping.
The NSA's findings, including the contents of SMS messages and phone calls, were reported directly to the White House and evidence indicates the operation continued until the "immediate past", Bild am Sonntag said.
The German paper reports that the bugging had been going on weeks before Obama's June visit in Berlin. The NSA apparently also eavesdropped on Merkel's predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, after then-President George W. Bush launched a spying program in 2002, it was noted.
The newspaper suggested a key reason for the operation was Schröder's refusal to support the Iraq War, and it was simply extended after Merkel took office in 2005.
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