Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Global Impact: British Ambassador Summoned to Foreign Ministry to Explain Alleged Eavesdropping on Germany

According to Reuters, Germany on Tuesday (November 5) requested that the British ambassador come to the Foreign Ministry to discuss a newspaper report that a covert eavesdropping operation was operating in Berlin with hi-tech equipment mounted on the embassy roof.

Documents leaked by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden reveals that Britain's surveillance agency is operating an eavesdropping operation from within a stone's throw of the Bundestag and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to The Independent.

The director of the European department asked for an explanation of current reports in British media and indicated that tapping communications from a diplomatic mission would be a violation of international law.

The Foreign Ministry's request for an explanation is a less serious diplomatic move than formally summoning the ambassador.

In London, a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We don't comment on intelligence questions."

COMMENT: State surveillance is an especially sensitive subject in Germany, a country haunted by memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police in the former Soviet bloc.

Allegations of British surveillance surfaced just weeks after reports the United States' espionage agency tapped Merkel's phone, prompting a furious response from Germany and a flurry of diplomatic and political activity, as Berlin pushed for a "no-spying" agreement with Washington in order to restore trust.