NSA 'spied on German NSA enquiry'
Germany's parliamentary inquiry into NSA surveillance activities in the country was itself spied upon by a German double agent in the German foreign intelligence agency (BND), according to German press reports on Friday. A 31-year-old member of the BND was arrested on Wednesday on the "strong suspicion" of spying activities, according to Germany's Federal Prosecutor. Suddeutsche.De reports that the man is believed to have been passing classified documents to the US for the past two years. According to Bild newspaper the man stole a total of 218 BND secret documents between 2012 and 2014 and stored them on a USB stick.
Coming on the back of revelations by Snowden of Chancellor Merkle's phone being bugged by the US, the latest revelations have caused outrage in the country.
The SPD-coordinator in the NSA Committee, Christian Flisek, told Bayerischer Rundfunk, that if the allegations are confirmed, it would be a "scandal" and "an attack on parliamentary democracy," which would have consequences, both in the field of intelligence cooperation as well as in the field of politics. The domestic policy spokesman of the CDU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Stephan Mayer (CSU), told the Bild newspaper, that if what was suspected proved true, it would be "a huge breach of trust in the transatlantic relationship."
Thomas Drake, a former staffer at the NSA, told the BBC that almost all data that transited Germany was accessed by the NSA and Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND. However he also suggested that the German intelligence agency's claims that they had been unaware of NSA surveillance activity in Germany were, "beyond credibility" given the close cooperation that existed.
On Friday the German government summoned the US ambassador to Berlin to explain US actions.