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Former judge to see NSA target list

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Former judge to see NSA target list
Photo: DPA
09:04 CEST+02:00
The Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has chosen a former judge to examine lists of targets given to German spies by the Americans.

Kurt Graulich, a former judge on the bench of the Bundesverwaltungsgericht (Germany's highest administrative court) will be the independent person given sight of the controversial list, Spiegel Online reported on Wednesday.

Debate has heated up in recent weeks over lists of so-called 'selectors', identifying information such as phone numbers and email addresses used to conduct targeted surveillance.

The NSA forwarded millions of selectors to Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence service to conduct surveillance on their behalf over a period of years. German officials rarely checked whether the requests breached their own rules.

In April it emerged that among the targets the BND spied on on the Americans' behalf were German and European companies and high-ranking officials of allied governments, including members of the French president's office – and that the BND and officials at the Chancellery knew for years and did nothing.

The scandal has ground on as the government has refused to release the selector list to the MPs on the committee so they can examine it for themselves.

Finally the government and MPs reached a compromise that a specially-appointed commissioner would be able to look over the list and report his findings.

The commissioner's main job will be to find out which of the 40,000 selectors refer to European politicians.

Graulich's name has been in the running for around two weeks after being suggested by Social Democratic Party (SPD) members of the NSA inquiry.

His 16 years on the bench of one of Germany's highest courts make him trustworthy to both SPD and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) MPs on the committee.

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