The United States' National Security Agency (NSA) used the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) station in Bad Aibling in Bavaria, to monitor Austrian authorities, said the publication Bild am Sonntag, with reference to an internal email to the BND.
A German intelligence officer checked the lists of selectors which were sent to the US intelligence agencies. Using the search terms ‘government’ (gov), ‘diplomat’ (diplo) and ‘federal agency’ (Bundesamt), the employee found 12,000 files. According to the publication, more than ten thousand referred to the Government of Austria.
Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister and a Merkel confidant, is in the firing line for allegedly lying about or hiding the German alliance with the Americans. The minister has denied the allegations and promised to answer before the parliamentary inquiry. He served as Merkel’s chief of staff from 2005-9, the post in Berlin that exercises authority over the BND.
The Bad Aibling complex was an NSA facility for years. Under an agreement in 2002, it was handed over to the Germans in 2004, since when much of the information gathered was routinely passed to the Americans.
According to the Süddeutsche, the Americans supplied search terms on a weekly basis to the Germans – totaling 690,000 phone numbers and 7.8m IP addresses up until 2013.