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Germany, France want U.S. to agree to curb spying

BRUSSELS — Indignant at reports of U.S. electronic espionage overseas, the leaders of Germany and France said Friday they will insist the Obama administration agree by year's end to limits that could put an end to alleged American eavesdropping on foreign leaders, businesses and innocent citizens.

German spy chiefs will travel to Washington shortly to talk with U.S. officials about the spying allegations that have so angered European leaders, including whether Chancellor Angela Merkel's own cellphone was monitored by the National Security Agency.

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, at the final day of a European Union summit in Brussels, did not offer many specifics on what they want President Barack Obama and his intelligence chiefs to agree to.

A former French counterintelligence agent, however, told the Associated Press that the European allies will likely demand the Americans sign off on a "code of good conduct" for intelligence-gathering, and could use the espionage dispute as leverage against the United States in forthcoming trade talks.

"I think France and Germany would want guidelines," said Claude Moniquet, who now directs the European Strategic and Intelligence Center. But he was dubious there would be much change in intelligence agencies' real-world behavior.

"Everyone swears on the Bible," Moniquet said. "And after that it's business as usual."

Disclosures contained in documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claim broad snooping by the United States on its allies.

Germany, France want U.S. to agree to curb spying 10/25/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 26, 2013 12:14am]
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