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Germany said to spy on Israeli prime minister’s office

Berlin’s intelligence service in recent years collected info on allies in Jerusalem, UK Defense Ministry, NASA and others, Der Spiegel says

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a press conference at the chancellery in Berlin, October 21, 2015. (AFP/Tobias Schwarz)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel address a press conference at the chancellery in Berlin, October 21, 2015. (AFP/Tobias Schwarz)

Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been spying on Israel in recent years, specifically the Prime Minister’s Office, German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

The report noted that other targets of the BND included the US State Department, the British Defense Ministry, NASA, the US Air Force, and the interior ministries of Austria and Belgium.

There were no further details on the alleged information collected from Israel, or when the reported espionage took place.

In October the German government was put on the defensive after reports surfaced that the BND spied on the United States and other allies.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press at his office in Jerusalem, March 23, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press at his office in Jerusalem, March 23, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Der Spiegel, public broadcaster rbb-Inforadio and the Sueddeutsche daily reported then that until the fall of 2013 the BND’s selectors included targets belonging to the United States and other European countries.

The selectors were reportedly wiped from the agency’s list of targets around the same time German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that “spying among friends, that’s just wrong” in response to claims her cellphone had been tapped by the US National Security Agency.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech during a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on January 30, 2016 in Neubrandenburg, northeastern Germany. (AFP / dpa / Bernd SETTNIK)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a speech during a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on January 30, 2016 in Neubrandenburg, northeastern Germany. (AFP/dpa/Bernd Settnik)

In November Berlin said it was moving to impose tighter rules on the country’s foreign intelligence agency in light of the allegations.

Clemens Binninger, a lawmaker with Merkel’s party, said at the time that “we will certainly protect European governments and institutions” from spying by the agency.

AP contributed to this report.

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