Germany was in a tizz this weekend, in the wake of spying allegations that could harm the country's thorny relationship with surveillance of its citizens.
Der Spiegel magazine claimed on Saturday that Germany's spook agency BND had exploited data it had allegedly intercepted on behalf of U.S. spies at the NSA.
According to the report, BND allegedly "affected communication of European corporations, [government] departments and agencies."
It was further claimed that the slurped data was filtered to exclude German citizens, once the material had been approved by BND operatives – which was apparently a lengthy process that took years to complete.
Intercepted material, it was alleged by the magazine, included not only metadata but "complete records of telephone calls and emails, audio and text files."
Reuters reported today that Germany's public prosecutor bigwig had responded to the accusations against the BND by promising a preliminary investigation into the matter.
The probe will consider whether Germany's foreign intelligence agency violated the country's laws by allegedly aiding U.S. government g-men to spy on European officials and companies such as aerospace giant Airbus group, which has already threatened to sling a sueball at the BND.
Politicos in Germany, meanwhile, were calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel to explain the alleged actions of her government's spook agency.
She has previously strongly opposed “spying on friends" by labelling it "a no-go".
It's not known how long Merkel's administration had been aware of the BND's alleged work for the NSA. Der Spiegel reported that a deal between the two agencies was first struck in 2002, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. ®