Germany

NSA Spying Features Large in German Election

Germans are a tad sensitive about snoopiness

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BERLIN — It's election season in Germany and there's one campaign issue that won't go away: the NSA surveillance scandal.

A month before the Sept. 22 federal elections here, which determine whether Chancellor Angela Merkel and her party will be reelected for a third term, the NSA scandal appears in headline after headline in German newspapers.

And in what's otherwise considered to be a fairly quiet campaign season, the new information about U.S. surveillance has given parties across the political spectrum ammunition to use against Merkel — and caused her party, the center-right Christian Democratic Union, to hit back.

The issue is unlikely to cost the very popular, two-term chancellor another four years in office: Most observers expect her to win next month. But Germany, whose citizens are suspicious of any hint of government spying, has witnessed perhaps the strongest backlash of any country against news of the NSA surveillance program since details were leaked in June.