Did Berlin turn a blind eye, or even assist with spying within Europe?
German foreign intelligence service BND allegedly allowed the US National Security Agency to use its monitoring station in southern Bavaria.
Prosecutors are investigating claims BND acted against national interests by spying on so-called French authorities and European defence companies on behalf of the NSA.
What is meant by ‘French authorities’ is unclear.
National tabloid Bild claims it has seen documents proving BND informed German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the operation as early as 2008.
The matter has been discussed in the European Parliament.
“On the top moment of Snowden’s revelations, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said ‘spying on friends, that’s a no-go.’” said Jan Philipp Albrecht, MEP for the Greens. “So we could either say EU member states do not seem to be friends for Germany, or we could say that she does not mean her words. She does not take her words seriously and I think that this exactly is the point for all the heads of states.”
If proven, the allegations could be embarrassing for the government, which has previously portrayed itself as a victim of espionage, particularly at the hands of the US.
Merkel has vowed to cooperate with the investigation.