2014-01-16T144031Z_1_CBREA0F14RM00_RTROPTP_2_GERMANY-USA-SPYING

Spying plunges U.S.-German ties lower than Iraq war: Merkel ally

File photo of US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Obama standing in front of a window in BerlinBy Noah Barkin BERLIN (Reuters) – Relations between Germany and the United States are worse now than during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a decade ago, a leading ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, in a sign of mounting anger in Berlin over American spying tactics. Philipp Missfelder, foreign policy spokesman for Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in parliament, said Berlin should bar U.S. access to a database of international financial transactions unless Washington promises to stop spying in Germany. “2003 is generally seen as a lowpoint in German-American relations,” Missfelder said, referring to the clash over former U.S. President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Indeed it’s probably bigger because this issue is preoccupying people longer and more intensively than the invasion of Iraq.” The comments, among the strongest from a senior German figure since leaks of a massive U.S. spying program first emerged last year, come a day before U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to unveil reforms of the NSA.

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