Chancellor Angela Merkel is acknowledging Germans have been unsettled by allegations of widespread U.S. surveillance though she insists patience is needed as officials seek answers from Washington.

Merkel faced a barrage of questions about the National Security Agency's activities at a news conference Friday following a week in which her opponents have asserted she's doing too little to confront the U.S. and protect Germans' data. Germany holds elections Sept. 22 in which Merkel seeks a third term.

Merkel said her government is still awaiting answers from the U.S. to detailed questions and hopes to receive them "as soon as possible" — but didn't set any specific deadline.

Polls so far suggest Germans believe the government knew what the U.S. was doing but that appears not to have affected voting intentions.