Germany’s intelligence agency spied on high-profile US targets, including the White House, the State Department and the military for almost a decade, Spiegel has reported. Even US-based international organizations such as the IMF and HRW were on the watchlist.
The Spiegel report comes four years after Chancellor Angela Merkel famously said “spying on friends” was unacceptable, when commenting on the National Security Agency spy row that had put a strain on ties at the time.
In 2013, it was revealed the chancellor’s mobile had been “monitored” by the NSA as part of systematic wiretapping operations worldwide.
This time, Spiegel reports that the German government is likely to find itself in hot water as its BND intelligence service wiretapped numerous targets in the US between 1998 and 2006, according to the documents accessed by the magazine.
The US Treasury Department, the Department of State, and even the White House were on the BND spy list. In total, around 4,000 search words – known as ‘selectors’ – were used by German intelligence with regard to the US.
The BND also intercepted phone, fax and email communications of critical American corporations such as Lockheed Martin, believed to be the world’s largest defense contractor in terms of revenue, as well as NASA. The US military was not spared either, with the US Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency also apparently on the radar of the BND.
It also received “follow-up data” from well over 100 foreign embassies in Washington and international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Washington office of the Arab League, the German magazine said.