23:46 GMT03 March 2021
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    Germany's foreign intelligence agency BND not only collected information on European politicians and companies for US intelligence but also used data obtained via spying and mass surveillance for its own purposes, according to the Bild newspaper.

    Earlier this week, reports emerged that the BND assisted the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on high-ranking Austrian and French authorities, members of the European Commission and Airbus. The revelations are based on a leaked internal BND email dating from August 2013.

    According to Bild, the BND carried out surveillance on European corporations, agencies and ministries. It filtered out information on German nationals. Then the agency analyzed the data and used it in internal reports.

    The BND did not stop at collecting phone call metadata. The agency made full transcripts of phone calls, letters and audio files, the newspaper said. The BND monitored calls on conflict zones, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. The agency also wiretapped the phones of European missions and companies in the Middle East.

    Bild claimed that the BND carried out surveillance and online spying on the EU governments with the knowledge of or at least without any opposition from the office of the German chancellor prior to 2013, when Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee, broke the news of US mass surveillance.

    Among other things, Snowden accused US intelligence of spying on Europeans, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, in power since 2005. The revelations caused outrage in Germany.

    The extent to which German intelligence used this information in its own work remains unclear, a source in the German Parliamentary Committee investigating the NSA spying scandal told the publication. The committee was established in March 2014 as Germany boiled over US surveillance on Europeans. So far, the German government has failed to address the critical issue, despite repeated promises to respond.

    Meanwhile, following the latest revelations, Berlin has found itself under mounting pressure to disclose what it knew regarding Germany's cooperation with the US intelligence agency.


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    spying, information, surveillance, National Security Agency (NSA), BND, Angela Merkel, Germany
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