By Rebecca Shabad - 07/08/14 07:36 AM EDT
Hillary Clinton said in a new interview that spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “absolutely wrong.”
In an interview published Tuesday by Der Spiegel, the likely 2016 presidential candidate said the United States must reinforce its alliance with Germany.
“Clearly, we have to do a much better job in working together between Germany and the United States to sort out what the appropriate lines of cooperation are on intelligence and security,” she said. “I think the cooperation is necessary for our security, but we don't want to undermine it by raising doubts again and again. Clearly, the surveillance on Chancellor Merkel's phone was absolutely wrong.”
Asked about new reports regarding the U.S. acquiring a German intelligence source, Clinton suggested acquiring foreign assets shouldn’t be one-sided.
“If we were to say no, under no circumstances, that you shouldn't do that to us, we shouldn't do that to you, what if a circumstance arises where it is conceivable that it would be in your interest and ours?” she said. “The United States could never enter into a No-Spy agreement with any country — not you, not Britain, not Canada.”
Clinton was asked if Merkel deserves an apology from the U.S., but she said it’s her understanding President Obama has spoken with Merkel many times.
Clinton’s comments were published a day after Merkel warned the U.S. about the consequences of using a German official to spy on her country.
"If the allegations are true, it would be for me a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners," Merkel said at a news conference in Beijing with the Chinese premier. "If the reports are correct, it would be a serious case.”
Two German publications reported last week that a 31-year-old man who had worked for Germany’s intelligence services was arrested because of spying allegations.
German prosecutors said the man, whose name hasn’t been disclosed, is suspected of handing over more than 200 documents to the U.S. between 2012 and 2014.
Tension between the U.S. and Germany has persisted since Merkel learned last fall that the U.S. had tapped into her communications. The White House said that it wasn’t spying on her at the time nor would in the future, but it didn’t address any previous instances.