Germany probes national spy agency accused of colluding with NSA
BND foreign intelligence service suspected of spying on German, EU officials for US
Germany’s most senior prosecutor has launched an investigation into the country’s BND foreign intelligence service, over accusations that the agency helped the US National Security Agency in its surveillance of European companies and officials over a period of 10 years, Reuters reported, citing German media reports.
According to Der Spiegel magazine, in 2013 the BND issued instructions to staff to delete 12,000 Internet "selectors", including IP addresses, email addresses and phone numbers of German government officials the agency had been monitoring on behalf of the NSA.
The BND has also been accused of monitoring EU governments and agencies, including stanch ally France, as part of the co-operation with the NSA.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is facing increasing pressure to share information with opposition parties about the operation, in a country where data privacy is particularly treasured, following a history of tight surveillance of citizens under the Nazis and East German Stasi.
The developments will come as a particular source of embarrassment to Merkel who, in 2013, was vocal in her disapproval of NSA surveillance after it emerged the US agency had tapped her phone.
"Spying among friends is not at all acceptable," she said at the time.