June 17, 2018 – Reports allege German intelligence services collected data on ministries and international organizations between 1999 and 2006.
Austria’s Sebastian Kurz has urged Germany to clarify allegations its intelligence services spied on ministries, embassies and international institutions in Vienna.
“Our wish is of course to know who was monitored, when the surveillance was ended, and of course we want to have certainty that it was stopped,” Austria’s chancellor said Saturday, after an emergency government meeting in Vienna, according to Austrian broadcaster ORF.
Reports by Austrian outlets Der Standard and Profil claimed Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) tapped into some 2,000 phone, fax and mobile connections as well as e-mail accounts to monitor ministries, embassies, organizations and Islamic institutions, among others, since 1999.
Targets included the embassies of Iran, Russia, North Korea, but also France, Israel and the U.S. The spying is thought to have ended in 2006, according to ORF.
“Spying on friendly states is not only uncommon and undesirable, it is also unacceptable,” Austria’s president, Alexander Van der Bellen said, calling on Germany to clarify the scope of the intelligence gathering and when it ended.
Any data gathered in Austria and still held by German intelligence authorities should be deleted, Kurz also said.
Initial suspicions of German spying were first reported in 2014, when an Austrian prosecutor launched an investigation that was ultimately unsuccessful as a result of Germany’s “refusal to cooperate,” Austrian media quoted Kurz as saying.
The German Bundestag’s committee in charge of intelligence services is dealing with the allegations, the committee’s chair, Arm