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WikiLeaks claims NSA targeted German ministers beyond Merkel

BERLIN (AP) — WikiLeaks published a list of German phone numbers Wednesday that it claimed showed the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on senior German officials beyond Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Reports two years ago that Merkel’s phone had been targeted by the NSA prompted diplomatic friction between Berlin and Washington, but German prosecutors recently dropped their probe into the case citing lack of concrete evidence.

The secrecy-spilling site’s latest report is likely to rekindle concerns in Germany that the NSA was engaged in widespread surveillance of its close ally. Last week, WikiLeaks published documents that appeared to show the NSA had eavesdropped on the French government, prompting anger in Paris.

WikiLeaks said the new, partially-redacted list of 69 phone and fax numbers belonged to senior officials at Germany’s economy and finance ministries, among others.

The site also published two documents it claimed were summaries of conversations intercepted — one involving Merkel and a second involving a senior aide — concerning the Greek debt crisis. The second conversation was intercepted by British intelligence, which passed it to the NSA, according to WikiLeaks.

It wasn’t immediately possible to confirm the accuracy of the documents. But German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, which said it had been given access to the documents, reported on its website that the list appeared to be from a period between 2010 and 2012, and at least some of the numbers are still in use.

WikiLeaks didn’t provide a source for the documents. But the site has a history of publishing confidential U.S. government files and one of its contributors, Sarah Harrison, is a close associate of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked secret documents exposing numerous U.S. surveillance programs.

German government officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Wednesday.

The report came as members of Germany’s governing coalition indicated they want to appoint a former federal judge to review sensitive documents requested by lawmakers investigating the NSA’s activities in Germany.

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