The journalistic organisation that publishes secret information, Wikileaks, has unveiled over a 1000 pages of minutes from a German Parliament enquiry. The parliament was enquiring into spying on Germany by the US based National Security Agency (NSA), leaving some MPs furious.
Massive surveillance by the NSA, sometimes in association with the German foreign intelligence service (BND), is being put to test in the parliamentary enquiry.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said “The purpose of this inquiry is to discover who is responsible for the injury of a great many people's rights.”
Assange further commented, “The public has a right to understand the inquiry's work. It is only through effective public oversight that this inquiry's stated objectives of transparency and justice will be met.”
Chairman of the inquiry Patrick Sensburg spoke to Spiegel saying “this publication is in no way helpful for shedding light on this case”.
Sensburg vouched for a fair and independent committee for witnesses to testify without any hesitation or fear.
“We also have to ensure that a witness can't draw on the statements of another witness indirectly,” Sensburg added.
Digital rights activist and journalist at The German Netzpolitic, Marcus Beckedahl, spoke to The Local denigrating the value of the minutes obtained by Wikileaks. Beckadhl said the minutes add no worthy information to the publicly available information on the enquiry.
“I've never understood why the minutes of the open sessions aren't published. We offer an almost live transcript, which is totally allowed,” he added.
“We were a bit surprised that Wikileaks were making such a big deal of it.”
The minutes Wikileaks obtained from an anonymous source include details of hearings up to February 2015 which include witness testimonies, statements of high-ranking officials of the BND and other government officials, Deutsche Telekom and the NSA.
The inquiry sessions take place with government officials present to halt the session at any time if witnesses embark on any classified information which isn’t permitted to be discussed in an open session.
Another security measure in place against digital leaks has been the distribution of classified information to MPs on paper. Information that is categorised with the lowest clearance level is made available in digital form.
Legal observers to the interview have no new information to gain from the leaks but Wikileaks action may mean government representatives in testimonies disclose less information in future hearings.