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Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:9PM
German Major General Joerg Vollmer welcomed Chancellor Angela Merkel in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan on May 10, 2013.

German Major General Joerg Vollmer welcomed Chancellor Angela Merkel in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan on May 10, 2013.

A German newspaper has revealed that the German military has for years been aware of US spying program PRISM despite Berlin’s claim that it did not know of the surveillance operations. The German daily Bild revealed on Wednesday a 2011 document written by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan to regional commands including the northern Mazar-i-Sharif, led by the German army Bundeswehr. In the letter, ISAF gave detailed instructions on working together with the foreign data surveillance program. It also specifically referred to the US PRISM program at least three times. Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition can "no longer claim it didn't know anything about PRISM," parliamentarian Omid Nouripour said in response to the report. Earlier in the week, the newspaper reported that Germany’s foreign intelligence service (BND) had in the past requested PRISM communication data in searches for German kidnap victims abroad. Previous details leaked by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden showed that on an average day, the NSA monitored in Germany about 10 million internet datasets and 20 million phone connections, rising up to 60 million calls on busy days. The latest reports add pressure on Merkel ahead of September 22 elections since she claims that she only learnt about the US surveillance programs through the media. The spying scandal has outraged Germans, who are sensitive about data protection, in part because of memories of repression by East Germany's Stasi and the Gestapo under the Nazis. CAH/KA