• Germany's news in English
 

Germany launches probe into US spying ties

Published: 22 Jul 2013 17:15 GMT+02:00

It reacted to a report by news weekly Der Spiegel which said documents provided by Snowden showed that German services closely cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and used its Internet spy software XKeyscore.

Germany's domestic intelligence service BfV said it was only testing the Internet tool, which Der Spiegel said can store several days' worth of Internet traffic data and content as well as key words from online search engines and Google Maps.

The US documents reportedly also praised the "eagerness" of foreign intelligence service BND president Gerhard Schindler to cooperate more closely with the NSA and said the German government had modified its interpretation of privacy laws to allow more flexibility in data sharing.

With elections set for September 22, the claims made by Snowden, some of them first reported by Der Spiegel, have put pressure on Merkel, who has said she only learnt of the PRISM programme through media reports.

Merkel's spokesman Georg Streiter announced a "comprehensive review" into the claims, with results to be presented between Wednesday and Friday to the parliament's secret services oversight committee, whose meetings are closed to

the media and public.

Streiter defended the fact that secret services operate out of the public eye, adding that "international terrorism can only be fought through international cooperation, and this serves to protect our citizens in Germany."

But he also said that "German law applies on German soil, and that goes for everyone, including our intelligence services. That's why the government takes very seriously the questions that arise from the weekend media coverage."

"The chief of staff of the chancellery has initiated an extensive review. The .outcome will shortly be reported to the Parliamentary Control Committee," he added.

Snowden's claims about the NSA's PRISM programme to capture and store email, phone and other communication data have angered many in Germany, where the notion of state surveillance triggers dark memories of snooping by the Nazis' Gestapo and communist East Germany's Stasi.

Under repeated media questioning, Streiter defended German intelligence ties with the United States: "I find it rather amazing that the impression is being created that we are cooperating with evil. I mean, they are our friends."

"We have closely cooperated with our friends for decades. And if there are now different views, different interpretations of the law and different laws on personal data in America and Germany, then that doesn't mean that they are suddenly evil," he said.

AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year
They may be collecting for charity, but this is not really OK. Photo: DPA

'Blackfacing' is Anglicism of the Year

"Blackfacing", used by Germans to describe white people painting their skin dark to mimic black people, has been named Anglicism of the Year by a jury of linguists. READ  

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps
File photo: DPA

Cocaine-cop trial shakes Bavarian Alps

For 20 years no-one noticed that the head of the drug squad in Kempten, Bavaria, was on a personal rampage of narcotics- and domestic abuse - until his wife shopped him for the €250,000 brick of cocaine he had stashed. But the local population isn't buying the story. READ  

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'
Photo: DPA

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday and wished him "much strength and success" after his anti-austerity party's election victory. READ  

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014
Swastika graffiti at a refugee home in Bavaria with text reading "No asylum seekers". Photo: DPA

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014

Refugee NGOs' first annual report on violence against asylum seekers found that there were over 200 attacks on people and accommodation in 2014. READ  

'No German identity without Auschwitz'
President Gauck addressing the Bundestag on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

'No German identity without Auschwitz'

President Joachim Gauck on Tuesday warned Germans against drawing a line under the Holocaust as the Bundestag (parliament) opened a day of commemorations on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. READ  

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double
Manuel Neuer at the inauguration of his double in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double

Madame Tussauds' hottest new effigy was unveiled to the public in Berlin on Tuesday, costing a euro for each of the 150,000 hairs on keeper Manuel Neuer's head. Pity about the handball goal frame though… READ  

Railway union threatens strike over €2
EVG members outside a station during a 2013 strike. Photo: DPA

Railway union threatens strike over €2

As railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) continues negotiations with train drivers' union GDL, its other major union EVG has threatened a strike over pay differences between employees. READ  

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000
Photo: DPA

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

As Pegida supporters and opponents clashed in Hanover, musicians threw a free concert in central Dresden on Monday evening to show another side to the city famous for spawning the anti-Islam movement. READ  

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz
"Work will set you free," the gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells inmates. Photo: DPA

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz

Chancellor Angela Merkel joined survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Berlin on Monday to open a series of events dedicated to the end of the Holocaust camp regime 70 years ago. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Work I love and a rewarding family life'
Working mum photo: Shutterstock

'Work I love and a rewarding family life'

Melanie Fieseler is a British business/career consultant and coach, and founder of Berlin-based WorkSmart. She is on a mission to help ambitious mums like herself successfully combine motherhood with building a fulfilling and rewarding career or business. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,797
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd