MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) — The US is accusing Germany of hypocrisy, blaming the German Foreign Intelligence Agency (BND) for eavesdropping on Hillary Clinton and John Kerry amid growing tensions between Berlin and Washington, Der Spiegel reports.
"These are not the same allegations that the Germans have against the NSA…The US and NSA's volume of recorded intelligence is much higher than that of any other nation in the world," argues Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence linguist who was cited by Iran’s Press TV.
The BND's sources insist that satellite telephone calls were made by the former and the current US Secretary of State in 2012 and 2013 respectively, and that they were intercepted accidentally, representing a kind of "unintentional by-catch".
"These are minor infractions that happened while Clinton and Kerry were flying in aircraft that used the same frequencies as other particular targets in conflict zones. They were inadvertently recorded and the recordings were deleted when they were discovered," explains Scott Rickard.
Although the recordings of John Kerry's conversations were immediately destroyed according to the BND sources, Hillary Clinton's phone call transcript remained undeleted.
Remarkably, the intelligence specialist who was ordered to destroy Clinton's transcript was Markus R., a double-agent who was really working for the Americans. Allegedly, he delivered the transcript, along with some other sensitive BND documents, to the United States.
The US has used the case as a trump card in heated US-German discussions, and sees it as an example of Berlin's hypocrisy over the recent NSA spying scandal. Der Spiegel stresses that "the revelation made Merkel's dictum, ‘Spying among friends? That's unacceptable,’ ring a bit hollow”.
However, Rickard stresses that "these are not the same allegations that the Germans have against the NSA". Indeed, the widespread global espionage that is being carried out by the NSA can't be compared to the two incidents described by Der Spiegel. In addition to the revelations made by Edward Snowden regarding the NSAs surveillance in Germany, Berlin exposed an American double-agent – a member of Germany's foreign intelligence service, who was spying for the United States – in July, 2014. According to Deutsche Welle, the suspect transferred about 218 confidential documents to the NSA. Mutual recriminations have aggravated tensions between Germany and the US, experts stress.