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Last updated: August 25. 2013 2:36PM - 801 Views
Associated Press



Chancellor candidate of the Social Democratic Party Peer Steinbrueck speaks during the summer interview of broadcaster ARD in Berlin, Germany, 25 August 2013. Photo by: Rainer Jensen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Chancellor candidate of the Social Democratic Party Peer Steinbrueck speaks during the summer interview of broadcaster ARD in Berlin, Germany, 25 August 2013. Photo by: Rainer Jensen/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
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(AP) German Chancellor Angela Merkel's election challenger says he would suspend negotiations with the U.S. over a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement until Washington clarifies details about National Security Agency surveillance programs.


Social Democratic leader Peer Steinbrueck, who is running for chancellor Sept. 22, said Sunday on ARD public TV that "I would interrupt the negotiations until the Americans say if German government offices and European institutions are bugged or wiretapped."


He criticized Merkel's government for talking to Washington about a deal that would eliminate regulatory trade barriers between the EU and U.S., while at the same time "we don't know if the Americans may be sitting under our desks with some technical devices."


Germany's independent privacy watchdogs say the surveillance programs breach an EU-U.S. pact meant to ensure cross-border data protection.


Associated Press
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