In Wake of Spying Scandal, Germany to Restrict Intelligence-Sharing With US

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In Wake of Spying Scandal, Germany to Restrict Intelligence-Sharing With US

After an investigation last month revealed German spy agency colluding with NSA, German officials are 'pulling the emergency brake,' MP says

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is under pressure to explain Germany's role in a joint spying operation with the U.S. National Security Agency. (Photo: Globovisión/flickr/cc)

Germany is scaling back its intelligence-sharing operations with the U.S., shortly after it was revealed that the German government had spied on European allies on behalf of the National Security Agency from 2002 to 2013.

Government officials reportedly met Wednesday night to address the growing pressure to explain Germany's role in the operation.

According to an official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the restrictions will prohibit the country's intelligence agency, BND, from handing over Internet surveillance data requested by the U.S. from a German eavesdropping facility in Bavaria.

The WSJ continued:

A second German official, however, stressed the decision only affected the BND’s Bavarian outpost, which he described as a small part of the agency’s overall intelligence sharing with the U.S.

... Government officials haven’t commented publicly on the decision to curtail sharing with the U.S. of intelligence from the Bavarian listening post, which was disclosed in a classified briefing to select members of parliament on Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear who ordered the move, though the Chancellery officially oversees Germany’s intelligence agencies.

The revelation last month that the country's intelligence agency, BND, had spied on "top officials at the French Foreign Ministry, the Elysee Palace, and European Commission... as well as European defense and aerospace firms" was particularly embarrassing for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who previously slammed the NSA for monitoring her cell phone.

The joint operation was disclosed through an investigation by German parliament. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, who served as Merkel's chief of staff at the time, came under fire for "allegedly lying about or covering up the German collaboration with the Americans."

"It’s clear the emergency brake has been pulled here," Konstantin von Notz, a member of the Green Party who was involved in the inquiry, said in a televised appearance on Thursday. "[Merkel] wants to show she is doing something, but the mistakes really lie in previous years."

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