Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Tracking & Law Enforcement

Germany to Probe Secret Service Ties with NSA

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government Monday announced a probe into ties between its secret services and US agencies whose sweeping online surveillance was revealed by fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government Monday announced a probe into ties between its secret services and US agencies whose sweeping online surveillance was revealed by fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

It reacted to a report by news weekly Der Spiegel which said documents provided by Snowden showed that German services closely cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and used its Internet spy software XKeyscore.

Germany’s domestic intelligence service BfV said it was only testing the Internet tool, which Der Spiegel said can store several days’ worth of Internet traffic data and content as well as key words from online search engines and Google Maps.

The US documents reportedly also praised the “eagerness” of foreign intelligence service BND president Gerhard Schindler to cooperate more closely with the NSA and said the German government had modified its interpretation of privacy laws to allow more flexibility in data sharing.

With elections set for September 22, the claims made by Snowden, some of them first reported by Der Spiegel, have put pressure on Merkel, who has said she only learnt of the PRISM program through media reports.

Merkel’s spokesman Georg Streiter announced a “comprehensive review” into the claims, with results to be presented between Wednesday and Friday to the parliament’s secret services oversight committee, whose meetings are closed to the media and public.

Streiter defended the fact that secret services operate out of the public eye, adding that “international terrorism can only be fought through international cooperation, and this serves to protect our citizens in Germany”.

But he also said that “German law applies on German soil, and that goes for everyone, including our intelligence services. That’s why the government takes very seriously the questions that arise from the weekend media coverage”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“The chief of staff of the chancellery has initiated an extensive review. The outcome will shortly be reported to the Parliamentary Control Committee.”

Snowden’s claims about the NSA’s PRISM program to capture and store email, phone and other communication data have angered many in Germany, where the notion of state surveillance triggers dark memories of snooping by the Nazis’ Gestapo and communist East Germany’s Stasi.

Under repeated media questioning, Streiter defended German intelligence ties with the United States: “I find it rather amazing that the impression is being created that we are cooperating with evil. I mean, they are our friends.

“We have closely cooperated with our friends for decades. And if there are now different views, different interpretations of the law and different laws on personal data in America and Germany, then that doesn’t mean that they are suddenly evil.”

Written By

AFP 2023

Click to comment

Trending

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Join the session as we discuss the challenges and best practices for cybersecurity leaders managing cloud identities.

Register

The AI Risk Summit brings together security and risk management executives, AI researchers, policy makers, software developers and influential business and government stakeholders.

Register

People on the Move

Data security startup Reco adds Merritt Baer as CISO

Chris Pashley has been named CISO at Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).

Satellite cybersecurity company SpiderOak has named Kip Gering as its new Chief Revenue Officer.

More People On The Move

Expert Insights