Snowden reveals US partnership with German intelligence

    By IANS,

    Berlin : The US National Security Agency (NSA) worked closely with the German intelligence service and many other western countries, whistleblower Edward Snowden told German magazine Der Spiegel.

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    Snowden alleged that the German intelligence knew more about the NSA’s activities in the country than previously known, Xinhua reported.

    The whistleblower said the NSA was “in bed together with the Germans” as well as most other Western states, Xinhua reported.

    He said the NSA’s “foreign affairs’ directorate” was responsible for partnerships with other countries. The interview was conducted before Snowden fled to Hong Kong in May.

    Germany’s foreign intelligence service — the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) — confirmed a partnership with the NSA in providing “analysis tools” for the BND’s monitoring of foreign data in Germany, Xinhua said.

    Snowden told Der Spiegel that government decision makers were protected by these cooperation programmes, organised in such a way that authorities in other countries can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” if it becomes public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy”.

    A recent report by Der Spiegel, citing classified documents disclosed by Snowden, said Washington was monitoring phone calls and internet data connections in Germany as well as spying on the headquarters of the European Union and its offices in Washington and the UN in New York.

    The report sparked widespread outcry in privacy-sensitive Germany. The German government said Berlin felt surprised and “alienated” by media reports of Cold War style US spying on European nations.

    US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to hold a high-level bilateral meeting over US surveillance programmes.