Did the NSA spy on Berlusconi? Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
NSA 'spied on Berlusconi and his close associates'
AFP · 23 Feb 2016, 15:55
Published: 23 Feb 2016 15:55 GMT+01:00
Italy's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it had summoned the US ambassador to Rome over reports of widespread US surveillance of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, among several other European leaders.
US ambassador John Phillips was called in "for clarification on the media reports that allege Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi and some of his close associates were subjected to wiretapping in 2011," it said in a brief statement.
According to Italy's La Repubblica and Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, classified documents released by WikiLeaks reveal the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on leaders from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the party-loving Italian billionaire.
Among the WikiLeaks documents were details of a 2011 meeting Merkel held with Berlusconi and then French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
In the meeting Merkel and Sarkozy pressured Berlusconi to reduce public debt and strengthen Italy's banking sector.
The meeting was tense and unfriendly, according to a Berlusconi advisor, who was painted by the newspapers as the probable target through whom the NSA obtained the information.
Another document showed the NSA listened in on talks between Berlusconi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Netanyahu asked Berlusconi to help him improve relations with Washington that were strained by plans for Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.
For more news from Italy, join us on
Volunteers join rescue services in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
UPDATED: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in central Italy was revised downwards to 241 on Thursday but officials cautioned it could rise again as rescuers continued a grim search for corpses, as powerful aftershocks rocked the devastated area.
Collapsed buildings in central Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Italian prosecutors have opened an investigation into building collapses in the Lazio towns of Accumoli and Amatrice following Wednesday’s earthquake.
Rescuers continue to hand for survivors. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
The earthquake on Wednesday, which claimed the lives of at least 247 people, has had a devastating impact on four Italian towns.
Rescue workers survey the ruins of Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
"An event like yesterday’s in Japan or California would never have caused the same amount of carnage."
The famous Amatriciana dish derives from Amatrice, where over 200 died in the earthquake. Photo: ZanPei/Flickr
Italian restaurants around the world have been asked to make €2 donations for every plate of Amatriciana pasta served towards Amatrice, one of the towns devastated by Wednesday’s earthquake.
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
The deadly earthquake that struck central Italy before dawn on Wednesday occurred in a notorious seismic hotspot, and dangerous
aftershocks are possible, scientists said.
Residents of Amatrice survey the damage to their homes. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
At least 247 people have died after a powerful earthquake struck a remote area of central Italy on Wednesday, said Prime
Minister Matteo Renzi, warning that the figure could still rise.
Rescuers carry a man in Amatrice. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
A powerful earthquake that rocked
central Italy on Wednesday left 120 people dead and the total is likely to rise, the country's civil protection unit said in the first official death toll.
Rescuers carry a man through the rubble of damaged homes. Photo: AFP
At least 247 are reported dead as rescuers work to save those trapped in the rubble.
Photo taken on May 17th 1976 of a nun showing a church destroyed by the Friuli-Venezia earthquake. Photo: AFP
At least 73 people were killed after a powerful earthquake struck central Italy early on Wednesday.