Germany vows tougher control of spy agency after new revelations
Germany’s justice minister has called for tighter control of the national foreign intelligence agency, after media reported its spies had targeted the embassies of allied countries without the government’s express permission.
Heiko Maas told the Rheinische Post newspaper in an interview to be published on Friday [Oct. 16] that a fundamental reform of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) was needed.
“Parliament must get all the necessary means for an effective control of the intelligence services,” he added.
The media reports were the latest in a controversy over German intelligence that has erupted since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 a widespread U.S. surveillance program that included tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone [see, based on John Schindler’s The XX Committee blog: “The US and Germany: Why Spy?“].
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency is already under scrutiny after revelations earlier this year that its officials indirectly helped the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) spy on European firms such as defense manufacturer Airbus…
The latest reports are seen as an embarrassment for Merkel, who repeatedly commented on Snowden’s revelations of widespread U.S. espionage in Germany with the sentence: “Spying on friends isn’t on at all.”
The German magazine Der Spiegel’s online edition and public broadcaster ARD reported that BND officials spied on embassies and other government buildings of allies such as France and the United States through so-called “selectors” such as names and internet addresses [Spiegel story in German here]…