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Report: New NSA leaks reveal shift in US spying tactics

The US National Security Agency (NSA) has increased its surveillance on German officials after being ordered by Barack Obama to stop monitoring Chancellor Angela Merkel, a major German newspaper has reported.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper cites a high-ranking NSA employee as the source of the latest leaks.

"We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor's communication directly," the source told the newspaper.

Related: The year the NSA hacked the world – a 2013 PRISM timeline (opens in new tab)

Among those reportedly being monitored by the US intelligence agency is the Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, a close confidante of Merkel.

According to Bild am Sonntag, the NSA picked up on Merkel asking de Maiziere in a private conversation: "What shall I think?"

The source claims it is not just government employees that are being targeted. Of the 320 individuals that are currently being monitored by the NSA in Germany, many of them were high-up in the field of business.

One such victim of eavesdropping is apparently the software provider SAP, a major competitor of the US-based firm Oracle.

The latest revelations in the NSA spying scandal are the first to not stem directly from documents leaked last year by former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden.

In October it was revealed that US secret services bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, together with the phone conversations of 34 other heads of state. At the time Merkel described such monitoring as "a serious breach of trust".

Related: NSA recorded phone conversations of 35 world leaders (opens in new tab)

Since then, US President Barack Obama has made assurances that the US would no longer spy on the German leader.

Caitlin Hayden, a security adviser to Obama, was quoted by Bild am Sonntag as saying: The United States has made clear it gathers intelligence in exactly the same way as any other states."