German fury over U.S. spies after it’s revealed that American agency bugs HALF A BILLION calls and emails every month
- The German Justice Minister accused Washington of ‘Cold War‘ methods
- US taps half a billion communications in Germany every month
- America regards Germany as a ‘third-class partner’
- Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were explicitly exempted from such spying
PUBLISHED: 18:24 EST, 30 June 2013 | UPDATED: 19:43 EST, 30 June 2013
Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger angrily accused Washington of using ‘Cold War’ methods against its allies after it emerged the US typically taps half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany every month.
By contrast, in France the US taps around two million such connections a day.
Only Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – widely regarded in Washington as America’s most reliable allies – were explicitly exempted from such spying.
America’s dismissal of Germany as a ‘third class partner’ is understood to refer to its relative unreliability as an ally on intelligence and defence.
US investigators were dismayed that German intelligence failed to realise the risk posed by the so-called ‘Hamburg cell’, a group of radical Islamists who became key operatives in the 9/11 attacks.
They included Mohammed Atta, who led the four hijacking teams.
Secret documents published by Der Spiegel revealed that the US rates Germany on a par with China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in terms of which countries it feels it needs to spy on.
‘We can attack the signals of most foreign third-class partners, and we do it too,’ said a National Security Agency document quoted by Der Spiegel.
The magazine – which had been passed the documents by fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden – said that on an average day, the NSA monitored 20million German phone connections and 10million internet data sets, rising to 60 million phone connections on busy days.
The Federal Prosecutors Office in Berlin predicted that private citizens were likely to file criminal complaints on the matter.
Martin Schulz, the German president of the European Parliament, said the revelations could have a ‘severe impact’ on relations between the EU and US.
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