Europe

German papers lay into Obama over US spying claims

President Barack Obama speaks in New York
Image caption One commentator says Barack Obama's "aura is gone"

German papers are increasingly turning their fire on US President Barack Obama over claims that the National Security Agency has monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone.

"Obama's aura is gone," reads the headline of a front-page commentary in the daily Die Welt.

Obama "did everything to present America's good side to the world" but "hardly any of that remains", the paper's Jacques Schuster argues. "The damage caused by his secret services is great. It must be repaired," he warns.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung takes a similar line. "Does Obama not realise how much trust he has lost in this country?" a front-page commentary by Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger asks.

"There is no other way to put it, US President Barack Obama looks like a hypocrite in the political landscape," Markus Decker says in the Berliner Zeitung.

"When he took office, he promised more peace and more freedom, but the secret services under his authority have nipped this freedom in the bud," he suggests.

"Fuss"

These comments were published before the Bild daily alleged that Mr Obama had known about the operation against Mrs Merkel for the last three years.

"Obama wanted to know everything about Merkel," Bild's online headline reads. The US president's reported denial that he had not been aware of the spying "is at best a diplomatic white lie", the paper says.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes that, if the Bild report is confirmed, "Obama would come under political pressure not just in foreign relations but also at home".

However, Harald Martenstein in Der Tagesspiegel says he does not know "what all the fuss is about". "Of course even friendly countries spy on each other," the columnist says.

"We Germans simply have to protect ourselves better. We have been naive and careless and should, if anything, be annoyed with ourselves," he concludes.

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