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Officials admit NSA snooped on world leaders -- WSJ

The spying program was reportedly curtailed this past summer when the White House finally became aware of it, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Declan McCullagh/CNET

The National Security Agency did spy on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders, according to unnamed US officials cited by The Wall Street Journal.

In a story published Monday, the Journal said the program was curtailed this summer after a review by the Obama administration found that the phones of 35 world leaders were being tapped. The review was reportedly the first time the White House was made aware of this specific spying program.

One senior U.S. official told the Journal that these types of surveillance decisions are made at the NSA and do not require the president's approval. However, that protocol is now under review.

An NSA memo leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by the Guardian last Thursday found that one US official had provided the agency with 200 phone numbers for 35 world leaders. Another story published last week by German publication Der Spiegel said that the US had targeted the private cell phone records of Chancellor Merkel.

US officials told the Journal that the eavesdropping on Merkel and other world leaders has stopped but has yet to be cut off completely for some.