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Federal prosecutor starts investigation into German espionage

11:25 08/06/2015

The federal prosecutor’s office is starting an investigation into allegations that the German intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) spied on Belgium for decades. The allegations came to light last week from documents leaked from a closed hearing in the German parliament.

BND is accused of intercepting telecommunication contacts into and out of Belgium on behalf of the American National Security Agency (NSA). Ten of the 15 lines involved belonged to Belgacom, now called Proximus. The Belgacom lines connected with Russia, France and Denmark, among other countries.

The espionage lasted from 2005 to 2008 and is alleged to have been gathering industrial and commercial information. BND works closely with Belgian intelligence services on security issues, but the Belgian service had no idea that the spying was being carried out.

The NSA has denied industrial espionage, Homeland Security minister Alejandro Mayorkas told the German newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag. “We never carried out economic espionage that would have given any economic advantage to American companies,” he said. “That’s not how we do things.” The co-operation with the BND covered only matters of national security, he said.

Photo: The entrance to BND headquarters in Pullach
©Michael Dalder/Reuters/Corbis

Written by Alan Hope