(CNN) — The White House learned this summer that the National Security Agency had tapped the phones of world leaders and ordered a halt to some of the eavesdropping, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
Quoting unidentified U.S. officials, the newspaper’s website said the wiretapping of about 35 foreign leaders was disclosed to the White House as part of a review of surveillance programs ordered by President Barack Obama after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified details of the NSA’s phone monitoring systems.
The White House ordered a halt to the monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and unspecified other leaders, the newspaper reported. The Journal report did not specify who gave the shutdown order or the date it was issued.
Responding to the report for the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden did not directly address surveillance of foreign leaders. Instead, she described the ongoing review as “including when it comes to our closest foreign partners and allies.”
Merkel said last week that reports of American spying on her and other leaders had “severely shaken” relationships between the United States and European nations.
The German leader said she told Obama last week that eavesdropping among friends “is never acceptable.” The White House said at the time that Merkel’s communications were not being monitored — without saying whether she had been targeted in the past.
Read more: CNN.com