Obama asks Germans for ‘benefit of the doubt’ on spying

'There's no doubt that the Snowden revelations damaged impressions of Germans with respect to the U.S. government,' Obama said

'There's no doubt that the Snowden revelations damaged impressions of Germans with respect to the U.S. government,' Obama said

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Monday acknowledged that revelations about the U.S.’s intelligence gathering efforts have hindered relations with Germany.

“There's no doubt that the Snowden revelations damaged impressions of Germans with respect to the U.S. government and our intelligence cooperation,” Obama said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A row was ignited between the two countries when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden disclosed previously classified details about the U.S.’s international mass data collection programs, and said U.S. intelligence agencies had eavesdropped on the German chancellor’s personal communications.

“Occasionally, I would like the German people to give us the benefit of the doubt, given our history, as opposed to assuming the worst, assuming we have been consistently your strong partners and that we share a common set of values,” Obama said.

Many Germans, including Merkel, are particularly concerned by allegations of privacy violations following a long history of state spying by the East Germany’s Stasi intelligence service during the Cold War.

Despite her concerns, Merkel said that U.S. institutions “have provided us and still continue to provide us with a lot of very significant, very important information that is also integral to our security, and we don't want to do without this.”

“If we look at the sheer dimension of the terrorist threat, we are more than aware of the fact that we need to work together very closely,” the chancellor added.

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