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Germany Comments On U.S. Espionage

World Affairs

Open Eyes Opinion {source: DEgov}

Germany

German laws must be respected

The German government is taking recent reports of espionage most seriously. “Since last year the German government has been strengthening its counter-intelligence, and these latest reports would appear to confirm that this was the right course of action,” said federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in Berlin.

The information published in the media is currently being reviewed and analysed by the agencies responsible. The German government will then inform the pertinent parliamentary bodies, said the federal government spokesperson at the government press conference.

The latest revelations posted on WikiLeaks indicate that US intelligence services spied on several members of the German government and their staff. Targets appear to have been the Ministries of Economic Affairs, Finance and Agriculture.

Meeting with US Ambassador

This was why “Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, called the US Ambassador to a meeting last Thursday,” reported Steffen Seibert. He put the views of the German government plainly to the Ambassador.

The federal government spokesperson reported that the Head of the Federal Chancellery had made it quite clear that Germany’s laws must be respected. Any violations will be investigated.

Intelligence cooperation

To ensure the security of citizens it is indispensable for German and US intelligence services to work together. Repeated incidents of this kind do however place a huge strain on cooperation.

On 4 June in an interview with the news agency dpa Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “I am convinced that we need close cooperation between our own intelligence services and those of the USA and our other partners. Even if our views diverge on some matters, which we will have to sort out, partnership with the USA is very much in Germany’s own interests.”

Counter-intelligence

Counter-intelligence or counter-espionage services address all illegal intelligence activities. In 2014 the German government set the scene for a reorganisation of counter-intelligence with its 360° approach: more resources and highly developed methods ensure a comprehensive approach to the illegal intelligence activities of other states. In 2015 work will continue on implementing this new approach.

“We have become less trusting, that much is true. Over a period of several decades western intelligence services were not the target of counter-espionage activities,” said Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière on 2 July. The German government changed its approach in the wake of the revelations of Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks.

Since the beginning of this legislative period western intelligence services too have been reviewed to determine whether or not they are involved in espionage in Germany. “That is what we mean when we speak of 360° surveillance; we are looking to the east, the south-east and also to the west,” explained the minister.

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