Germany, US to strike no-spy deal
The accord is set to be concluded early next year, it said, citing sources close to the German government.Contacted by AFP, a government spokeswoman declined to comment.
Separately, German weekly Der Spiegel also reported that a deal between the two sides was being discussed.
In a report to be published Sunday, the weekly said Germany and the United States have agreed to not carry out industrial espionage on each other.
Der Spiegel also said that Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, had acknowledged the tapping of Merkel's mobile phone in the past.
During a meeting with Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein, Alexander had been asked if Washington was listening in to Merkel's calls. In reply, he had said that was no longer the case, Der Spiegel said, citing unnamed participants at the meeting.
Spy claims have been ricocheting across the Atlantic in a row that has frazzled ties between US and European allies.
Top German envoys were in Washington on Wednesday to rebuild a "basis of trust" after alleged US tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone in sweeping surveillance operations that have outraged Europe.
Merkel's spokesman said the talks were aimed at clarifying the allegations and working out "a new basis of trust and new regulation for our cooperation in this area".
The chancellor's foreign policy advisor Christoph Heusgen and intelligence coordinator Guenter Heiss met top US officials including National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and counter-terrorism advisor Lisa Monaco.
According to the FAS report, the head of Germany's secret service is now to hold a top-level meeting with US intelligence chiefs on Monday in Washington.
The government spokeswoman did not confirm plans for the meeting.
US Secretary of State John Kerry conceded Thursday that some US data surveillance has gone "too far".
In remarks via teleconference to an "open government" summit in London, Kerry defended espionage as necessary in the fight against terrorism but conceded restraint was necessary.
Kerry indicated that the revelations of widespread snooping by the National Security Administration (NSA) through leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden caught everyone by surprise.
"The president and I and others in government have actually learned of some things that had been happening, in many ways, on an automatic pilot because the technology is there," Kerry said.
He said he will work with the president to prevent further inappropriate acts by the National Security Agency.
Kerry insisted that surveillance has produced information that has stopped airplanes "from going down, buildings from being blown up, and people from being assassinated".
He said that President Barack Obama was "determined" to do a thorough review of surveillance "in order that nobody will have the sense of abuse".
"In some cases, I acknowledge to you, as has the president, that some of these actions have reached too far, and we are going to make sure that does not happen in the future," Kerry said.
Kerry disputed news reports that 70 million people were listened to.
"No, they weren't. It didn't happen. There's an enormous amount of exaggeration in this reporting from some reporters out there," he said.
Kerry also emphasized that the United States and others were working together to collect data, an apparent reference to countries with which top US intelligence officials say Washington was exchanging data.
Voice of Russia, AFP, dpa, BBC