German spooks monitored EU, NATO government members, report says

New details have emerged on the scale of spying by Germany's foreign intelligence in previous years on members of EU governments and NATO countries in a parliamentary committee report seen by dpa.

A "low two-digit number of people" belonging to foreign governments were spied on until October 2013, including heads of states and governments, ministers and members of their offices, as well as members of military institutions, it said.

The focus of espionage by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was on diplomatic representations of EU and NATO member states around the world, making up more than two thirds of all 3,300 targets.

The BND also spied on a double-digit number of offices at non-government organizations or economic institutions.

Among the examples mentioned are targets in the aviation and space industries, as well as arms trade, transport, media and consultancy. It was not immediately clear how the report defines "media."

One case in particular has been singled out as unjustified by the authors of the report as the political risks outweighed any potential gain in information.

"The most serious problem is that the BND has knowingly and willingly steered at least one German citizen," the report says referring to the bugging of one individual.

German citizens are legally protected against espionage by German intelligence services both inside and outside the country.

The new revelations are likely to cause further embarrassment to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who complained to President Barack Obama in 2013 that spying on friends was "not done" after it emerged that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was monitoring her phone.

Last update: Mon, 11/07/2016 - 12:27

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