German BND spy agency plans reforms after NSA spy scandal
Iran Press TV
Mon Jun 15, 2015 9:42PM
Head of Germany's BND foreign intelligence service has announced plans to restructure the spy agency in a bid to avert yet another US National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal that engulfed it earlier this year though he has affirmed that BND remains dependent on the US spy agency to carry out its work.
BND Director Gerhard Schindler stated in a meeting of the agency's staff council leadership that he intends to bring its 6,500 agents in field offices under central control, noting that some of the officers have taken on "a life of their own," major Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Monday.
Pointing to the need to bring more oversight to the spying service, Schindler further said the "administrative and technical supervision" of the agency needs to be "significantly improved," adding that the controlling system at the intelligence organization should be enhanced by legal and statistical testing bodies.
He also revealed plans to hire external advisers to help with the institution's restructuring effort and to bring an end to the "frayed" performance.
However, despite the spying scandal and the looming restructuring of the BND, Schindler is determined to continue collaborating with the NSA, the largest US spying organization, based at a military base near Washington, DC.
He reiterated in May that the BND is "dependent" on the NSA, adding that "without this cooperation we wouldn't be able to carry out our work."
The development came shortly after German media outlets revealed that the BND went against the country's national interests while spying on European politicians and corporation on behalf of Washington.
Those involved in the surveillance operation were reportedly divided between the BND headquarters and its listening post in Bad Aibling.
Adding to the layers of issues, Schindler said, was the fact that no one felt responsible for the spy agency's staff in Bad Aibling.
According to the reports, the lack of responsibility and oversight at the intelligence service led BND to violate its own 2002 'Memorandum of Agreement' with the NSA, since the German institution was not supposed to spy on its NATO partners or European establishments on behalf of the US.
Meanwhile, the NSA spying scandal in Germany has led to a plunge in Chancellor Angela Merkel's approval rating across the country with a May poll showing that a third of Germans feel deceived by Merkel.
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