Wikileaks exposes US spying of ECB, German ministries

| Thursday, July 2, 2015 - 18:59
First Published |

Berlin: The US National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on the European Central Bank (ECB) and several German ministries, and also tapped telephone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to documents cited on Thursday by several German media outlets.

The Wikileaks documents indicated that wiretapping on the German federal ministry for economic affairs and energy and the German federal ministry of food and agriculture had been going on since the 1990s, Suddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Similarly, one of the documents unveiled wiretapping on Oskar Lafontaine's telephone line during his time as finance minister for a few months between 1998 and 1999, during the first government under former chancellor Gerhard Schroder.

The telephone line in question is still in use, and currently belongs to the German federal ministry of finance.

According to leaked information, the NSA did not only listen in on the minister's phone line, but also other senior officials in the ministries of finance, economy and agriculture, which suggests that US intelligence was interested above all in Germany's economic and trade policies.

As for the ECB, illegal surveillance targeted one of the phone lines of the bank's economic development department.

Suddeutsche Zeitung also published an NSA report about a conversation between Merkel and an unidentified assistant on October 9, 2011, in which she spoke about the situation in Greece and the various options that were shuffling at the time, while the chancellor showed concern regarding possible debt relief.

The NSA's spying on the German government is currently being investigated by a parliamentary committee, whose chairman Patrick Sensburg said on Thursday that he was convinced that the eavesdropping lasted until at least the end of 2012.

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