Magazine report: Germany spied on Israel

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Germany’s federal intelligence agency, the BND, has spied on friendly governments including Israel and the United States, the weekly magazine der Spiegel reported.

Targets of “monitoring” based on picked up keywords included the office of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the U.S.  State Department, as well as offices of Austria’s Interior Ministry and the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense, the magazine reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the head of Germany’s intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, said in 2013 that spying on friendly nations and NATO partners was off limits. However, such intelligence gathering did not stop entirely. Since last fall, a parliamentary oversight committee has been investigating the activities of the BND and has now determined that the agency had set its intelligence gathering sights on targets outside its legal and contractual jurisdiction, Spiegel reported.

The magazine reported that the BND continued to spy on the European aerospace firm Eurocopter, now known as Airbus Helicopters, and on the multinational EU air defense corporation called European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, since 2014 known as Airbus Group SE, even after it was learned that the U.S. National Security Agency had used Germany to illegally gather information about these agencies.

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The new parliamentary report also reveals the BND of its own accord spied on the UN’s international narcotics control program, OPEC, the International Monetary Fund, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force.

There were no details provided on when the Prime Minister’s Office was under surveillance and what kind of information was picked up.

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