NSA wiretapping of European allies exposed

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been allegedly wiretapping diplomatic entities and personnel, according to new documents leaked by The Guardian, a U.K.-based news source. The British newspaper's series of classified materials, provided by ex-contractor and global fugitive Edward Snowden, threaten to unravel the U.S.-European Union (EU) trade pact negotiations and increase the second-term struggles for the Obama administration.

The efforts to monitor European offices at the United Nations and embassies throughout the nation appear to be multi-faceted, as a set of PowerPoint slides indicate that NSA agents apparently bugged encrypted fax machines and listened in on sensitive phone calls using advanced technology. While a specific timeline has not been established by The Guardian, date signatures on some of the documents show that the snooping could have begun during the Bush administration.

Since the disclosure, members of both the EU and European national governments have voiced outrage over what German Chancellor Angela Merkel dubbed "Cold War tactics." Merkel promised a full investigation and hinted that the revelations could harm relations. On the other hand, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters on July 1 that such actions were not unusual for a national spy agency.

"Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs of national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security and all kinds of information contributes to that," Kerry said, according to the BBC. "All I know is that [it] is not unusual for lots of nations. But beyond that I'm not going to comment any further until I have all the facts and find out precisely what the situation is."

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