Washington, Sep 6 : Iraqi leaders and officials have expressed disappointment over a report that US had spied on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other top leaders.
"If it is true, it reflects that there is no trust and it reflects also that the institutions in the United States are used to spying on their friends and their enemies in the same way," said Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesman of the Iraqi Government.
"We will ask for an explanation," the Washington Post quoted Dabbagh, as saying.
Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward wrote about the reported espionage in his fourth book about the Bush Administration, "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," which is scheduled to be released Monday.
The Post published an article Friday about some of Woodward's findings.
Some Iraqi officials said the revelation is likely to hinder already contentious negotiations toward an agreement that would govern the role of US troops in Iraq after the expiration in December of the UN mandate that allows them to operate in Iraq.
"It is going to affect the level of trust between us as two parties," said Abbas al-Bayati, an Iraqi lawmaker who acts as a spokesman for the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite political coalition that includes Maliki's party.
"Spying is usually done when one party is hiding something, and we know the Iraqi government has nothing to hide from the Americans," he added.
Bayati said he was dumbfounded by the report. "I see no reason for them to spy on Iraqi leaders, because they are in constant touch with the US Embassy and the military hierarchy, and we're always meeting continuously with them at the highest and lowest levels," the lawmaker said.
Bassam Sharif, a spokesman for the Shiite Fadhila Party, said the revelation didn't come as a total surprise.
"We all know that all communications are under the supervision of Americans," he added.