German intelligence 'spied on foreign journalists'
The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service, spied on journalists from the BBC, New York times and Reuters, according to a report in Spiegel.
Documents seen by Spiegel suggest that the BND eavesdropped on at least 50 telephone numbers, fax numbers or email addresses belonging to journalists or editors across the world.
The BBC bureau in Afghanistan is on the list seen by Spiegel, as is their headquarters in London.
The New York Times office in Afghanistan is also named, as are mobile and satellite phone numbers for Reuters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
Reporters without Borders told Spiegel that the surveillance was “an outrageous attack on press freedom” and presented “a new dimension of unconstitutional behaviour.”
Spiegel is set to publish the documents in greater detail in its print edition which appears on the weekend. They appear to be connected to a current parliamentary investigation into the operations of the NSA in Germany.
The panel has for three years looked into revelations since 2013 by fugitive US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden that the NSA was conducting massive Internet and phone data sweeps, including in Germany.
Of particular interest was the revelation that the NSA had long tapped Angela Merkel's mobile phone, which strained Washington-Berlin ties at the time, leading Merkel to declare that spying between allies "just isn't on".
But the scandal widened in March 2015 with reports that the BND had helped the NSA eavesdrop on EU targets including the French presidency and foreign ministry as well as the European Commission.
Last year Germany approved new measures to rein in the activities of its foreign intelligence agency after the scandal over improper collusion with the US National Security Agency.