18:13 GMT +316 December 2017
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    Germany Justifies Investigation Into Journalists Who Disclosed Spy Targets

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    Earlier in the year, the blog published a number of articles disclosing tapping of online communications by the German intelligence.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — It was absolutely necessary to launch an investigation into the German investigative blog Netzpolitik.org in order to continue efficiently combating domestic extremism and terrorism, the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution said Sunday.

    "In order to ensure the functional capability of my service in its fight against extremism and terrorism, it was necessary to legally respond to the publication of documents of the Federal Service of Protection of the Constitution, defined as classified," Hans-Georg Maassen told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

    On Thursday, local media reported that the website was under investigation for treason. The following day, the blog confirmed authorities were investigating Netzpolitik’s journalists, Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister, along with an unknown intelligence source allegedly responsible for the leaks of classified data.

    On Friday, the probe was suspended following opposition by journalists and human rights advocates, who deemed the accusations politically motivated and aiming to undermine the public debate about government surveillance.

    Following revelations of the US NSA's mass surveillance practices in 2013 by its former contractor Edward Snowden, German media reported that Maassen had visited the NSA headquarters and agreed to transfer all data collected by his security agency to the US agency.

    In April, German media revealed that the country's foreign intelligence agency BND has been spying on businesses and individuals in Europe at NSA's request.

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    journalist, blogger, surveillance, Bundestag, Germany
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