Murphy travels to Europe to smooth relations after NSA spying revelations

Washington — Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said he took a quick trip to Europe this week to try to improve strained relations in the wake of revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on Europeans, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He said he was met in Brussels and Berlin by “anxiety, frustration and even anger.”

“This was first and foremost, a mission of goodwill,” Murphy said.

One purpose of the trip, inspired by a recent visit of European Union officials to Washington, was to save a pending trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Murphy said.

After the revelations of NSA spying, some European leaders wanted to scuttle the trade pact.

While he tried to smooth U.S.-European relations, Murphy said he also reminded officials that Europeans were complicit in some of the NSA spying.

“But I believe personally that the United States crossed the line by listening in on the cellphone of Merkel,” Murphy said.

He was accompanied on the trip by Reps. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

Murphy is subcommittee chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee panel on Europe, but the rest of the delegation does not have high-ranking positions on any committee involved in foreign policy.

The three-person delegation was also small, especially considering its stated purpose. “The reason the delegation was so small is that it is Thanksgiving week,” Murphy said.