German government on defensive over spying reports
Frank Jordans (Associated Press) - October 16, 2015 - 5:00pm

BERLIN — German lawmakers called on the government Friday to respond to reports that the country's intelligence agency spied on the United States and other allies.

If true, the allegations reported by German media this week would undermine Berlin's professed indignation at claims that the U.S. eavesdropped on targets in Germany, including Chancellor Angela Merkel herself.

Lawmakers from the opposition Greens and Left Party said they would be seeking the release of so-called selectors used by Germany's BND spy agency for its intelligence gathering. These are lists of phone numbers, email addresses and other information that help intelligence agencies hunt for important information among the vast stream of phone and data traffic circling the globe.

German weekly Der Spiegel, public broadcaster rbb-Inforadio and the Sueddeutsche daily reported Thursday that until the fall of 2013 the BND's selectors included targets belonging to the United States and other European countries.

The selectors were reportedly wiped from the agency's list of targets around the same time Merkel declared that "spying among friends, that's just wrong" in response to claims her cellphone had been tapped by the U.S. National Security Agency.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Friday that "the chancellor's pronouncement is valid, and naturally it was also valid when she said it for the first time." He declined to say whether the assertion was true before October 2013.

"If the reports are accurate then this is a scandal of a whole new magnitude, because what the government has said, and what the chancellor has made her motto — that it's wrong to spy on friends — would be untrue," said Hans-Christian Stroebele, a Green party lawmaker who sits on the parliamentary intelligence oversight committee.

The U.S. embassy in Berlin and the State Department in Washington declined to comment.

BERLIN AND THE STATE DEPARTMENT CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL DER SPIEGEL GREENS AND LEFT PARTY HANS-CHRISTIAN STROEBELE INFORADIO AND THE SUEDDEUTSCHE MERKEL NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY QUOT STEFFEN SEIBERT UNITED STATES
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with