Compliance Management, Privacy

German intelligence spied on allies, U.N., the Vatican

Germany's federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), spied on the embassies and interior departments of ally countries, and international non-governmental organizations, according to Der Spiegel.

The German news magazine reported a widespread surveillance operation monitoring the phone calls and e-mails of the U.S. Department of the Interior and its equivalent agencies in Poland, Austria, Denmark and Croatia. In addition, diplomatic offices of the U.S., France, Great Britain, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the United Nations, and the Vatican were monitored.

The U.S. State Department's hotline for travel warnings and NGOs such as Care International, Oxfam, and the International Committee of the Red Cross were also targeted.

The information follows reports in May that BND was aware of and cooperated with the NSA's surveillance program based out of Germany.

In October 2013, after reports surfaced that the U.S. spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, she responded, “Spying among friends? That's just not done.”

The relationship between the U.S. and Germany's intelligence agencies further deteriorated in April 2014 after Snowden documents revealed that NSA spying on Germany was more aggressive than at first believed.

Surveillance is a sensitive issue in Germany, because of Germany's history of domestic surveillance under Nazi and East German Communist rule.

The latest reports surfaced when the Chancellor's administration informed German Parliament in October that the BND “had been surveilling the institutions of numerous European countries and other partners for many years.”

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