Long-serving foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is among a number of top German government officials who had their phone calls tapped by the US National Security Agency (NSA), according to WikiLeaks.
The website, headed by Julian Assange, has published what it says is a confidential report detailing the contents of a conversation Steinmeier held in 2005, after his first official trip to Washington since taking office.
In it, the 59 year old is reported as saying he was relieved that talks with his then counterpart, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, did not touch on the thorny issue of the CIA extraordinary rendition programme, which allegedly saw terror suspects flown to third-world countries for torture and interrogations.
The text reads:
Frank-Walter Steinmeier seemed pleased on 29 November with the results of his first visit to Washington as the new German Foreign Minister. Steinmeier described the mood during his talks with US officials as very good, but feared that the most difficult part was still ahead. He seemed relieved that he had not received any definitive response from the US Secretary of State regarding press reports of CIA flights through Germany to secret prisons in eastern Europe allegedly used for interrogating terrorism suspects.
The document is part of a recently released batch of information the group says is further evidence of the US spying on allied governments, causing strain in diplomatic relations across the Atlantic.
The secret-spilling website earlier published a list of phone numbers it said belonged to close aides of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who were scooped on by the NSA, as well as allegations the agency also had the communications of France's last three presidents under surveillance.
Commenting the last release, Assange said in a statement: "Steinmeier was thrilled that his tactic of asking Condoleezza Rice no hard questions about CIA renditions had worked. The US said nothing that would require him to do anything. And how do we know about it? Because the NSA was gloating to the US senior executive about intercepting this cowardly display. Nobody comes out of this looking good."