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Merkel Softens Criticism of U.S. Spy Programs Before Obama Visit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel dialed back her government’s criticism of U.S. surveillance activities, saying information-gathering is necessary to fight terrorism.

Merkel said she’ll discuss concerns about the scale of the U.S. National Security Agency’s spying operations with President Barack Obama when he visits Berlin this week. While calling for “clarity” on the issue and seeking greater cooperation and data exchange, Merkel lauded cooperation with U.S. espionage agencies in counter terrorism.