Intelligence gathering by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) included the creation of a special databank which targeted 122 world leaders, according to new leaks reported on Saturday by German newspaper Der Spiegel and The Intercept, part of the tranche of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.
The undated document includes the name of Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, whom the NSA targeted in more than 300 separate reports.
Other leaders listed in the databank include the leaders of Peru, Somalia, Syria, Guatemala, Colombia and Belarus.
The new documents also show that the NSA obtained a top-secret court order in March 2013 to monitor German communications and that the U.S. intelligence counterpart in Britain, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), targeted three Germany companies for surveillance.
The inclusion of Merkel on the list comes after previous revelations that the NSA had tapped the German leader’s phone, something the intelligence body stopped short of denying and which set off a firestorm in Germany and saw tensions rise between Washington and Berlin.
Earlier this month, German lawmakers agreed to launch an inquiry into surveillance conducted by the NSA and other foreign intelligence services, including the tapping of Merkel's cellphone. German federal prosecutors are also mulling whether to open their own investigation into NSA activities.
In an official response to the new revelations, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told The Intercept that the Obama administration was currently “not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel.”
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press