Iraq govt reacts sharply to US spying allegations

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Allegations that the U.S. spied on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are drawing a sharp reaction from the Iraqi government.

The allegations appear in Bob Woodward's new book, "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008." Its publication comes as the two countries engage in delicate negotiations over the future of American troops in Iraq.

A government spokesman says Baghdad will raise the allegations with the U.S. and ask for an explanation. He says if they prove true, it shows a lack of trust and "casts a shadow" on future relations.

Still, a top aide to the prime minister is more measured in his response. He says the Iraqis look at the U.S. as "partners" and says "there's nothing of real value" that the U.S. would gain from spying.

The White House is refusing to comment directly. But spokeswoman Dana Perino says the administration has "a good idea of what Prime Minister Maliki is thinking because he tells us, very frankly and very candidly."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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