McCain: Obama owes Merkel an apology

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainCheney: Russian election interference could be ‘act of war’ Grassley wants details on firm tied to controversial Trump dossier Republicans giving Univision the cold shoulder: report MORE (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that it was a “mistake” for the U.S. to spy on Angela Merkel, and said President Obama should’ve apologized to the German chancellor.

“Knowing how angry Angela Merkel was, he should have apologized,” McCain said in an interview with Der Spiegel. “You know, I've had to do that on numerous occasions in my life. The pain doesn't last very long.”

The White House has said Obama was unaware that the National Security Agency was targeting world leaders, including Merkel, and ordered the agency to stop the monitoring after learning about it.

The president has called Merkel to assure her that the monitoring would not continue. Some Republicans have said the spying should be within the rights of the U.S., but McCain argued the tracking of Merkel’s phone crossed the line.

“Friends spy on friends,” McCain said. “We all know that, but there have been certain boundaries. Those boundaries were probably, to some degree, there because we didn't have the capabilities we have now. But when you go to the point where you invade someone's privacy, the leader of certainly Europe, if not one of the most foremost leaders in the world, Angela Merkel, then it was a mistake.”

“You don't have to invade someone's privacy in that fashion in order to obtain that information,” he added.

However, McCain said NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander should resign because of the poor vetting that led to contractor Edward Snowden and Army Pvt. Bradley Manning revealing top-secret information.

“He should resign, or be fired,” McCain said. “We no longer hold anybody accountable in Washington. The commandant of the Marine Corps fired a couple of generals because of failure of security at a base in Afghanistan. Tell me who has been fired for anything that's gone bad in this town.”

McCain said there hasn’t “been sufficient congressional oversight” of the NSA.