German intelligence service allegedly spied on US and European targets

A 2015 protest in Hamburg against the spying activities of the German intelligence agency. [Andreas Gerhold/Flickr]

The German intelligence service (BND) spied on other EU member states, as well as the US, according to media reports in the country. EURACTIV Germany reports.

Among the spying targets were French and US institutions, reported Spiegel Online on Wednesday evening (14 October).

The BND used thousands of search queries or ‘selectors’ to spy on its targets, before the programme was halted near the end of 2013.

>>Read: BND scandal: Bundestag committee issues ultimatum

The intelligence service did not just use NSA (National Security Agency) selectors, but used its own as well, reports the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, which cites members of the German parliament’s supervisory body and the government’s NSA investigation committee.

The German government informed the parliamentary supervisory body of the situation on Wednesday evening, Spiegel Online also reported. Members of the Bundestag now want to assign a working group to the BND’s ‘Pullach’ headquarters in Berlin, so as to examine the agency’s list of selectors and to interview staff. Central to this issue is who knew about possible illegal activity and if so, who had approved it.

>>Read: Juncker on Germany’s BND scandal: ‘It is very difficult to keep secret services under control’

The BND is alleged to have spied on European politicians and companies on behalf of the NSA. The relationship between the two agencies goes back to a 2002 agreement in which the BND agreed to monitor satellite communications in conflict zones, such as Somalia and Afghanistan, for the NSA.

It remains to be seen what fallout will arise from these fresh allegations, that the BND also spied on its supposed ally, the US. 

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