German MP urges official probe into UK spying
Iran Press TV
Thu Nov 7, 2013 5:32PM GMT
Germany's police and intelligence agencies have been asked to launch formal probe into reports that the UK government has long been spying on the seat of German power from its embassy in Berlin, media reports say.
Following a report published by London-based The Independent newspaper exposing the extent of British spying activities in Berlin, Thomas Oppermann, chairman of the German parliament's intelligence committee, called on the country's security services to investigate whether a "crime" has happened as far as the issue of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)'s secret listening post on the roof of the UK's embassy building in Berlin is concerned.
Earlier documents leaked by former CIA contractor, Edward Snowden, show that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has also been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone for at least 10 years.
Revelations of Britain's GCHQ spying on the Bundestag and Merkel added to the already high tension between Germany and its key allies, the UK and US.
The German government, meanwhile, has summoned Britain's ambassador to Berlin to voice the country's strong protest and anger over snooping reports.
A foreign ministry spokesman said later on that the British envoy was reminded of the fact that 'tapping communication from an embassy would be a violation of international law'.
The Independent reported last Tuesday that Britain has set up a "spy nest" in the German capital very much like the one which has been operating from the top floor of the US embassy.
According to the paper, the UK had employed a number of spies in its Berlin Embassy, whose true mission had been unknown to other staff.
Jan Albrecht, an MEP for Germany's Green Party, who is a leading campaigner on privacy and data protection, questioned the GCHQ's motives behind its spying activities.
"If GCHQ runs a listening post on the top of the UK's Berlin embassy, it is clearly targeting politicians and journalists. Do these people pose a threat?" he asked.
"The EU has asked David Cameron's government to explain the activities of GCHQ in Europe but it has declined to do so, saying it does not comment on activities in the interest of national security. This is hardly in the spirit of European co-operation. We are not enemies," added the Green Party MEP.
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