Merkel held several meetings with UK intelligence agencies, including Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which according to the German Bundestag's NSA Investigation Committee, carried out extensive illegal wiretapping in Germany.
The final meeting took place in October 2015 at the Prime Minister's Chequers residence, near London. The German Chancellor took a briefing from GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan, the head of domestic security agency MI5 Andrew Parker and head of the UK's foreign intelligence agency MI6, Alex Younger.
The German magazine Focus reports that as a thank you for the briefing, Merkel handed the UK intelligence agencies a German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) dossier with information about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Crimea.
"In later talks with their German colleagues, the British were surprised that the German intelligences services had not been informed about Merkel's secret service meeting in England," Focus reported.
Merkel is facing harsh criticism in German intelligence circles for appearing to place more trust in the UK security services than those of her own country.
"Not once in the past 12 years has Merkel come to the weekly briefings that the President gets from the German security authorities," a senior government official told the magazine.
"Why does she travel to England – does she not trust her own people anymore?"
"I think this is about the Dresden period of Vladimir Putin's life. It is well-known that the East German Ministry of State Security – the 'Stasi' was one of the best spy agencies in the world, and it developed dossiers not only on its opponents but also on allies, as is the practice of intelligence agencies. But I think that like in any dossier, there isn't any really secret information. As a rule, the value of a dossier is in its assessment of a person's professional and psychological characteristics."
"You are unlikely to find some kind of compromising material there which you can use to the advantage of Germany or Britain, otherwise it would have been done a long time ago," Krutakov said.
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