German intel spied on over 2,000+ EU & NATO diplomatic missions up to 2013 – report

The former monitoring base of the National Security Agency (NSA), which belongs to the German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND), is seen in Bad Aibling, south of Munich. © Michaela Rehle
German intelligence spied on dozens of EU and NATO government figures and hundreds of diplomatic missions until October 2013, a parliamentary paper seen by the DPA agency reportedly says. Targets included heads of states and governments.

The German DPA news agency cited a document from the Bundestag’s Parliamentary Control Panel (PKGr), which provides parliamentary oversight for Germany’s foreign intelligence.

A “low two-figure number of people” belonging to foreign governments were snooped on until October 2013, the report said. It is not yet clear when exactly the snooping started.

The paper claims that BND surveilled government figures from EU and NATO states. Among them were heads of state, heads of government and ministers, the DPA added. The intelligence also looked at EU and NATO military facilities.

According to the DPA, “dozens” of such cases were mentioned in the report.

Diplomatic missions of EU and NATO member states across the globe were reportedly the focus, making up more than two-thirds of all BND’s 3,300 targets. BND also snooped on a double-digit number of non-governmental and economic organizations.

Examples of BND spying activities include snooping on aerospace, the arms trade, transportation and media sectors, according to the paper. The DPA says it’s unclear how exactly the intelligence agency spied on the media sector.

The report is not the first to disclose that German intelligence spied on other countries, including its allies. In April, Der Spiegel revealed Germany had spied on the US State Department, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, the UK’s Ministry of Defence, NASA and the US Air Force.

READ MORE: German BND agent sentenced to 8yrs, says he spied ‘for the thrill’

German espionage programs reportedly targeted some departments of Austria and Belgium’s Interior Ministries, as well as at least two subdivisions of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) and helicopter maker Eurocopter Group.

OPEC, the International Monetary Fund and the UN International Drug Control Program were also among the BND’s targets.

Earlier in 2015, Der Spiegel reported that German espionage programs targeted interior ministries in Poland, Denmark and Croatia, US diplomatic missions at the EU and UN, the US Treasury Department and Department of the Interior in Washington.

BND has already been accused of eavesdropping on officials at the French Foreign Ministry and presidency, as well as the European Commission. Spiegel Online earlier claimed Germany’s snooping was mostly done on behalf of its US counterpart – the National Security Agency (NSA).

In 2013, when mass surveillance was first disclosed to the global community by former NSA employee Edward Snowden, Germany expressed outrage.

READ MORE: Germany ‘systematically spied’ on own allies on grand scale – Spiegel

“Spying on friends is not acceptable,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose mobile phone had also been tapped by the NSA, said when the scandal broke.

However, later it was revealed that several embassies and administrations of “European states and allies” had been targeted by Germany. Also German media disclosed that the NSA had provided German intelligence services with spying software in exchange for data sharing, which meant that BND and BfV (German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution) had been assisting the NSA in conducting its global surveillance programs.