German spy agency spied on FBI, UN bodies, and German citizens: Report

BND, Germany’s intelligence service, spied on the FBI, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, UNICEF — the UN Children’s Fund, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the World Health Organization, among many other targets.

FirstPost reports that the revelations are especially uncomfortable for Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose office oversees BND. In the wake of the 2013 Snowden revelations, which showed that the NSA bugged her private cell phone, she pointedly told President Barack Obama that “spying among friends isn’t on.”

RBB Inforadio revealed the BND’s surveillance program on Wednesday without naming the source of the information.

What may upset many Germans is the fact that the list of BND surveillance targets also included Hansjoerg Haber, a German diplomat who headed the EU’s observer mission in Georgia from 2008 to 2011, and then served as senior diplomat in Brussels. He now heads the EU’s mission in Turkey.

In light of its past – not only the Nazi era, but also the forty years of extensive surveillance by the Stasi secret service in East Germany – Germany has strict privacy laws and German citizens are not allowed to be spied on without a thorough review by the courts.

The list of targets, according to the RBB report, also included “many European and American companies, including weapons makers such as Lockheed of the United States.”

The BND refused to comment on the report, and Christiane Wirtz, a government spokeswoman would only say that the chancellor’s office, which oversees the BND, worked “without discussing everything in public.” Wirtz said a full investigation will be conducted. “The duties of the BND do not include political reconnaissance work against partner countries,” she told reporters.

She added that BND chief Gerhard Schindler still had the “full confidence of the German government.” Foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said German diplomats as a rule took precautions against snooping, but did “not expect to be spied on by the BND.”

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