Clinton: NSA ‘absolutely wrong’ to snoop on German leader

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thinks it was “absolutely wrong” of the National Security Agency to snoop on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

In an interview with the German news outlet Der Spiegel published on Tuesday, Clinton said the two nations need to do a better job of coordinating their spies’ work to avoid giving each other headaches.

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“But 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,” Clinton added.

The remarks come as the U.S. and Germany are locked in new tensions over a spy accused of working as a double agent for the U.S.

That accusation added further friction to the U.S.-German relationship, after news last year that agents at the NSA spied on communications of top German government officials, including Merkel.

Germany has pushed for an agreement to cease all spying between the two nations, but the Obama administration has rejected that option.  

In her Der Spiegel interview, Clinton supported the administration's stance.

“The United States could never enter into a 'no-spy' agreement with any country — not you, not Britain, not Canada,” she said. “But that doesn't mean that within the intelligence and security institutions within our two countries, we shouldn't have a much clearer idea of what is appropriate and what should not be done.”

Clinton’s perspective on the NSA has been one of the largest question marks surrounding her potential bid for president in 2016.

She has previously said she was “puzzled” by NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s actions, and last week said that the former contactor deserved a legal defense if he were to return to the United States from Russia, where he has sought asylum.