“The Constitutional Court’s ruling is a blow for any clarification on the activities of the BND and the NSA and for the entire parliamentary monitoring of secret services.”
Anna Biselli — Digital research organization Netzpolitik
Last Tuesday, he German Federal Constitutional Court rejected a request by the Bundestag Committee of Inquiry into NSA Activities that the German government release the US National Security Agency “Selector List” of spy targets in Germany.
The NSA and the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) had been working together for various intelligence endeavors when claims arose in 2015 that the NSA’s investigations may have violated the rights of some German citizens.
However, the court declined to grant the request, because the lists also concern security interests of the US meaning they are not subject to Germany’s “exclusive power of disposal.”
The government’s interest in non-disclosure, particularly with regard to its international and intelligence reputation with the US, outweighed the parliamentary interest in obtaining the information.
What is known?
“There were several million, probably 13 to 14 million selectors [used to spy on targets], controlled together with the NSA over the course of 10 years,”Greens politician Konstantin von Notz, who is on the parliamentary committee investigating NSA activities, said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday.
“There are probably hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of European and German victims.”
“There will be companies, journalists, probably politicians monitored for years, and this is unpleasant at the very least, and it will all remain under the seal of secrecy,” he added.
The NSA spied on German chancellors and their offices for over a decade, a WikiLeaks report revealed last year.
Leaked NSA intercepts indicated that the US tapped the phones of the political offices of the last three German chancellors – Angela Merkel, Gerhard Schröder (in office 1998–2002) and Helmut Kohl (chancellor from 1982 to 1998) – and targeted at least 125 phone numbers of top German officials.
Another scandalous revelation made in April last year suggested that the German BND foreign intelligence agency helped the NSA spy on European firms and officials.
NSA in Germany (2014)
Germany high court rejects disclosure of NSA spy targets — Jurist 16 Nov 2016