Thursday, August 8, 2013

New revelations: Germany sends ‘massive amounts’ of phone, email data to NSA

Aug 8, 2013

Germany’s BND intelligence service sends “massive amounts” of intercepts to the NSA daily, according to a report based on Edward Snowden’s leaks. It suggests a tight relationship has been developed between the two agencies – which the BND claims is legal.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Snowden and obtained by Der Spiegel revealed that the 500 million pieces of phone and email communications metadata collected by the NSA in Germanylast December were “apparently” provided with the BND’s approval.

The data was allegedly handed over at two collection sites as part of the operation titled “Germany – Last 30 days.” One of those collection sites has been identified as the Bavarian BND facility at Bad Aibling, which the NSA is said to have officially left back in 2004.

Der Spiegel’s investigation, which cites BND sources, says that the code name of the Bad Aibling facility is mentioned in Snowden’s papers as one of the signals intelligence activity designators (SIGADs) employed by the US spy agency to collect the data.

The BND source added that the mentioned name is “associated with telecommunications surveillance in Afghanistan.”

Officially, however, Berlin is still waiting for an answer from Washington as to where in Germany the metadata documented in the NSA files was obtained, according to Der Spiegel. The clarification of what and who are behind the so-called SIGADs, and what sort of information was passed on, is an extremely delicate matter for both the BND and the Chancellery – with Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Ronald Pofalla being nominally in charge of coordinating the country’s intelligence agencies.

The details in the recent report have sparked more uneasy questions to be fired at Merkel’s government. Hans-Christian Stroebele of Germany’s Green party has demanded an “immediate investigation” of allegations, reminding that it has been claimed up to now that the Americans had abandoned Bad Aibling years ago and transferred control to Germany.

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