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German intelligence services used NSA spy program: report

Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, and the domestic intelligence agency used a spying program of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), according to Der Spiegel magazine citing leaked secret documents from the U.S. intelligence service.

Der Spiegel said over the weekend the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the German domestic intelligence agency, was equipped with a program called XKeyScore intended to "expand their ability to support NSA as we jointly prosecute counterterrorism targets." It added the BND was tasked with instructing the domestic intelligence agency on how to use the program.

The report said the XKeyScore was a "productive espionage tool" that retroactively reveals any terms the target person has typed into a search engine.

It said the BND was the NSA's "most prolific partner" in Afghanistan when it came to information gathering.

Facing increasing political pressure, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters during a press conference last Friday that questions on the prism spying program had been submitted to the United States and that Berlin was waiting for answers. She reiterated that "German laws must be abided by on German territory" and that Germany was not a surveillance state.

German opposition parties have been criticizing Chancellor Merkel's coalition government over its handling of the United States' massive surveillance program in Germany, as public outrage shows no signs of abating with the looming general elections in September.

However, the spying scandal has not seemed to affect Merkel's popular status in Germany on the eve of general elections. A recent opinion poll by public broadcaster ZDF showed that 62 percent of respondents still support Merkel as chancellor.

[Source: Xinhua, Berlin, 22Jul13]

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Privacy and counterintelligence
small logoThis document has been published on 23Jul13 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.