Americans frustrated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reluctance to meet demands for stronger sanctions against Russia have now begun to ask if there is a good reason the German leader has been targeted by US spies.

Questions are being raised about Merkel’s early life in totalitarian East Germany, the extent of her ties to its communist regime and her history as “an ardent Russophile” in Soviet-dominated East Germany.

Last year, in information leaked to the German news magazine Der Spiegel by former US National Security Authority contractor Edward Snowden, Merkel learned that the US intelligence service had been tapping her personal mobile phone since 2002.

The tap was part of a mass surveillance of European leaders by joint US and British intelligence.

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