German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung" has claimed that Chancellor Angela Merkel deceived the German public just before the 2013 elections by saying Germany convinced the US to sign a “no-spy agreement.”
The newspaper, in collaboration with German TV stations NDR and WDR, obtained government documents which allegedly show Merkel and her staff misrepresented the truth to gain public support in favour of Merkel’s party before the elections in 2013.
According to the released documents although both Chancellor Merkel and vice-chancellor Guido Westerwelle knew that it was only a possibility, former Chief of Staff Ronald Pofalla announced that the US had offered Germany a no-spy deal in 2013.
However, one of the documents indicates that US Secretary John Kerry did not make any concrete promises regarding a no-spy deal with Germany.
Following the latest accusations, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said that “the government had spoken to the best of [its] knowledge” at that time.
A German delegation travelled to the US immediately after Edward Snowden revealed documents showing the US intelligence agency NSA spied in Germany using German intelligence agency facilities in June 2013.
The German delegation tried to sign an agreement with the US government to prevent further NSA spying activities.
In August 2013, while negotiations continued, Seibert said that “there will be a no-spy deal between the Bundesnachrichtendienst [BND] and the NSA."
The BND has been engrossed in a scandal with the NSA ever since US whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed details of widespread spying by the organisation in 2013, including the wiretapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone conversations in a joint operation by the NSA and British spy service GCHQ.
The Snowden revelations later triggered more leaks regarding the extent of the cooperation between the two agencies, resulting in the expulsion of a CIA official based at the US embassy in Berlin last July after a report surfaced claiming that a number of German officials had spied on behalf of the NSA.
Another report in Spiegel Online also claimed the NSA had provided the BND with the mail addresses and mobile phone numbers of individuals they were collecting information on.
According to another report in Die Zeit, up to 800,000 German citizens, including politicians, were among the list of names provided to the BND by the NSA.
Chancellor Merkel last month defended the agency’s cooperation with the NSA, saying it was done "to the best of their knowledge and in good conscience.
All cooperation between the two agencies was carried out within the framework of an intelligence sharing agreement which was signed in 2002.