So did the NSA tap Merkel’s cellphone or not?

From today’s NYT

It was the second time in three days that allegations of American government surveillance threatened to cloud relations between Washington and close European allies. The consternation in Berlin followed a furor in France over reports in the newspaper Le Monde that American intelligence had collected data on 70 million communications by French citizens in a 30-day period late last year and into January.

The White House issued a statement confirming that Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel had spoken “regarding allegations that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the communications of the German Chancellor. The President assured the Chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of Chancellor Merkel.”

The statement did not address whether those communications had been intercepted in the past.

Note that last paragraph, and imagine the conversation that went on two days ago between the White House and the Director of the NSA.