Germany's surveillance operations over its own allies included several U.S. agencies, numerous nongovernmental organizations and several U.S. and European diplomats, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday. The report reveals that spying by the Europe Union's most powerful country was systematic and went further than previously believed.
The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's intelligence service, spied on the interior ministries of Poland, Austria, Denmark and Croatia, as well as U.S. agencies, the report said. The BND also monitored communications by diplomatic representations for the U.S., France, U.K., Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the Vatican.
Germany has been dealing with the BND's surveillance scandal since the agency was exposed for helping the U.S. National Security Agency monitor private European companies. Last month, reports surfaced that the BND spied on the U.S. and France as recently as 2013 without the permission of the German government. That news prompted Germany to open an investigation of the extent of the BND's rogue spying.
The reports are an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in 2013 harshly criticized the U.S. following the whistleblowing revelations of Edward Snowden and reports of the NSA's widespread surveillance -- including tapping her own phone. "Spying between friends, that's just not done," Merkel said at the time.
Der Spiegel's latest report reveals that the BND also monitored nongovernmental organizations, including Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.