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German intelligence service spied on Interpol, Europol, report says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The photo taken on October 6, 2016 shows the sign of the German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) in their headquarters in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by AFP)

Germany’s Spiegel has revealed information showing that the country’s main intelligence agency spied on international and European agencies.

Der Spiegel said in its report published on Saturday that the Bundesnachrichdienst (BND) had spied on Interpol’s country liaison offices in dozens of countries such as the United States, Austria and Greece.

The report said the BND had also monitored Europol police agency, which is based in The Hague. It added that the intelligence agency had added the private information, including email addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers of police investigators to its sector surveillance list.

The BND and the two victim organizations have yet to comment on the report and its alleged discoveries.

Der Spiegel had published a similar report in February, claiming that the BND spied on the phones, faxes and emails of several news organizations, including the New York Times and Reuters. The report sparked outrage in Germany, where the public had become sensitive about espionage by US National Security Agency on senior German officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A German parliamentary committee has been investigating the case while members of the body have become more and more concerned about the BND’s own surveillance outside Germany.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center bottom, waits on February 16, 2017 in Berlin to face a closed-door hearing by a parliamentary enquiry looking into revelations of the sweeping surveillance activities of the US intelligence service NSA and into the extent of its cooperation with Germany's BND foreign intelligence service. (Photo by AFP)

“We now know that parliaments, various companies and even journalists and publishers have been targeted, as well as allied countries," Konstantin von Notz, a member of the committee said of the recent revelations about the BND.

The lawmaker from the Greens party even claimed that the new report by Der Spiegel, which is based on documents the magazine has seen, showed how futile and ineffective was the parliamentary control mechanisms that began after a legislation which allowed reforms in the BND.

“It represents a danger to our rule of law,” said Von Notz, calling the BND’s monitoring activities “scandalous and unfathomable”.

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