There are calls for Germany’s national foreign intelligence agency to be brought under tighter control.
It comes after media reports that spies had targeted the embassies and government buildings of allied countries without the government’s express permission.
“The organisation does not operate in a legal vacuum. If they are operating anywhere without a legal basis then it is illegal activity and there has to be consequences,” said the SPD’s Heiko Maas who is Federal Justice Minister.
“Either the government did not know about this or they did know and covered it up. Both options are equally as bad,” added Christian Stroebele from The Greens.
This is the latest stage in a controversy over German intelligence that erupted in 2013.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed a widespread U.S. surveillance program that included tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.
These latest reports are seen as an embarrassment for Merkel, who repeatedly commented on Edward Snowden’s revelations by saying: “Spying on friends isn’t on at all.”