The German intelligence service BND, which is accused of helping the United States spy on EU leaders and companies, had actually “deleted 12,000 requests” targeting European officials, according to Saturday’s edition of the Der Spiegel weekly.
The BND has come under fire after German media reported that it spied on officials from the French presidency, French foreign ministry and the European Commission from its Bavarian post Bad Aibling.
But the Spiegel said that in fact, a BND agent had in August 2013 sifted through requests made by the NSA to the BND, as part of the two agencies’ anti-terror cooperation agreement, and found 12,000 which he referred to his managers.
The requests related to “a certain number of senior officials from the French foreign service”, as well as members of “EU institutions and several European countries,” said Spiegel.
On August 14, 2013, the agent raised the issue with his manager, asking what should be done with these requests.
“Delete them,” he was told, according to the news weekly.
The daily Bild had reported Monday that the German secret service had helped the NSA to spy since 2005 on EADS — which became Airbus — and Eurocopter, known today as Airbus Helicopters.
The German chancellor’s office has known since 2008 of US economic espionage targeting European companies such as Airbus but did not react, said Bild, citing intelligence agency documents.
The claims were compounded by further allegations on Wednesday that the eavesdropping also extended to the French presidency and the European Commission.
A spokesman for the federal prosecutor in the western city of Karlsruhe said Saturday they were considering whether to investigate the allegations.