WikiLeaks’ latest raft of leaked documents makes for uncomfortable reading for the German powers-that-be as it contains claims that the German Chancellery was actively involved in the NSA’s surveillance of its people.
It’s been a difficult few weeks for Angela Merkel’s government. It was reported recently that tens of thousands of “selectors” were targetted by BND (the German intelligence agency), on behalf of NSA, stretching beyond German borders.
In a statement to the Bundestag on April 14, Germany’s interior minister said: “We have no knowledge of alleged economic espionage by the NSA or other US agencies in other countries.”
Only yesterday Merkel was forced to defend her present and past chiefs-of-staff against criticism that they lied to the public about the prospects of a “no-spy agreement” with the US.
Basically, up until now the government had distanced itself from the scandal by playing the ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ card. Today, though, that may have to change. WikiLeaks has revealed documents that allege that a letter was sent from the German Chancellery directly to Kai-Uwe Ricke, the CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG from 2002 to 2006.
In it it asked for continued assistance in widespread surveillance. “I have never seen such a letter,” said Ricke when questioned.
“In this important Bundestag inquiry, the German and international public is the injured party,” said Julian Assange, publisher of WikiLeaks.
“The purpose of this inquiry, properly stated, is to discover who is responsible for the injury of a great many people’s rights and how these violations were committed.
“As the injured party, the public has a right to understand this inquiry’s work. It is only through effective public oversight that this inquiry’s stated objectives of transparency and justice will be met.”
A slice of satire has been sprinkled over the whole affair as, when previously asked to reveal the thousands of “selectors” so that the German public could know what its spying agency was spying on, German authorities suggested they may have to consult with the US first.
Essentially, seeking permission from a foreign government to provide its own people with information on what it is doing.
Today’s leaks cover months of the German investigation into NSA activities in Germany.
Reichstag image, via Shutterstock