BND German spy agency helped US spy on France, EU headquarters - reports say

It further alleges that the US National Security Agency also spied on some European firms to check if they were breaking trade embargos.

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play (BBC)
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Reports have emerged that Germany's national intelligence agency, the BND, spied on top French officials and the European Union's headquarters on behalf of United States intelligence.

BBC reports that the leaks from a secret BND report suggest that its monitoring station at Bad Aibling spied on France's presidential palace and foreign ministry, and the European Commission.

It further alleges that the US National Security Agency also spied on some European firms to check if they were breaking trade embargos.

According to the reports which emanated from German media, the BND did not target German or US officials in the surveillance, as they are protected by a BND-NSA agreement signed in 2002.

But it has emerged that the German government knew about NSA spying on European arms businesses as early as 2008, and the government found "shortcomings" in the BND's operations.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere however denies claims of a cover-up, denying all knowledge, and maintains that he hasn't deceived anyone.

He however says that because the information is all classified, he is unable to comment publicly, but says the internal BND report should be presented to a parliamentary committee, "the sooner the better".

The huge scale of NSA surveillance in Europe, including joint spying operations with the UK's GCHQ, was revealed in 2013 by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The revelation sparked outrage in Germany due to the scope of NSA spying which reportedly included snooping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone conversations. The revelations also strained German-US diplomatic ties.

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