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Spying - Germany Limits Cooperation With U.S. Over Data Gathering

Germany has curbed its cooperation with United States intelligence, pushing back against a key ally amid new revelations of spying on Germans and other Europeans that have set off a domestic firestorm.

The decision to limit Germany’s collection of information as part of joint intelligence efforts signals a breach in a long and close relationship — one that until now had been protected by Chancellor Angela Merkel, even when documents revealed in 2013 that American surveillance in Europe was so extensive it had swept up her cellphone number.

For the United States, it is another blow to its intelligence apparatus, which in the past few weeks has seen a reassessment of its drone program after the inadvertent killing of Americans; an appeals court ruling on Thursday that bulk collection of surveillance data is illegal; and Congress taking up renewal of the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

In Germany, it leaves Ms. Merkel still struggling to explain to her critics whether her government had done enough to monitor surveillance by Germans and Americans, and had acted swiftly enough to curtail overreach. She has also maintained that Germany needs the Americans to help keep its 80 million citizens safe.

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