Two Years Ago — Germany : BND Spying On Journalists

“We are disappointed to hear these claims. The BBC’s mission is to bring accurate news and information to people around the world, and our journalists should be able to operate freely and safely, with full protection for their sources. We call upon all governments to respect the operation of a free press.”

BBC spokesperson

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February 25 2017 — German magazine “Spiegel” reports that at least 50 numbers used by international journalists were monitored by the BND. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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On February 24 2017, SPIEGEL revealed hat the BND has monitored at least 50 telephone and fax numbers or e-mail addresses of journalists or editors around the world with their own so-called selectors.

The BND –Bundesnachrichtendienst — is the foreign intelligence agency of Germany, directly subordinated to the Chancellor’s Office.

The BND acts as an early warning system to alert the German government to threats to German interests from abroad. It depends heavily on wiretapping and electronic surveillance of international communications.

The surveillance program of journalists by the BND  began in 1999. The BND monitored journalists from the BBC, Reuters news agency and the New York Times as well as many others around the world.

The spy ‘targets’ include more than a dozen British BBC journalists in Afghanistan and at the headquarters in London, as well as editors of the international program BBC World Service.

A correspondent of the “New York Times” in Afghanistan was also on the list. Mobile and satellite telephones of the news agency Reuters in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria were monitored.

UPDATE February 25 2018 — The BND has refused to comment on these allegations :

“Regarding operative aspects of its activities, the BND comments exclusively to the German government or the committee responsible in the German parliament,” the BND press office stated.

However, its Director Bruno Kahl answered a few questions during an interview with SPIEGEL in April 2017.

SPIEGEL: Will you continue to conduct surveillance on journalists?

Kahl: We will adhere to the rules that are now law. There are different levels for Germans, Europeans and those journalists who work and operate in non-European countries. If a foreigner in Raqqa claims to be a journalist, we are going to conduct surveillance anyway if he is affiliated with Islamic State.

SPIEGEL: Yet you apparently didn’t draw any distinction between such a person and reporters working for the BBC and the New York Times. Where is the boundary?

Kahl: That’s not so easy to answer from where we sit. But we have no interest in investigating journalists on the whole. Neither domestically nor abroad. We are searching for information that is relevant to our security and looking for people who are planning evil deeds. It can’t be avoided that these people sometimes communicate with others who are less suspicious.

The so-called “BND law” makes distinctions between journalists from EU countries and journalists from non-EU countries. Journalists who are citizens of non-EU countries can be legally subjected to surveillance by the BND without a court order if it is in the “interests of Germany.”

Earlier this year, Reporters Without Borders lodged a constitutional complaint against the BND Law.

Germany’s BND spied on major media — (February 2017)

Der Spiegel reported that BND had listed at least 50 telephone and fax numbers and email addresses of journalists or newsrooms on its list for surveillance since 1999.

The list includes journalists from BBC, The New York Times, and Reuters. According to the magazine, it is unknown if the surveillance is still ongoing or not.

The list is believed to have covered only part of the Federal Intelligence Service’s international media targets at the time.

Media rights group, Reporters Without Borders, labeled the alleged surveillance a monstrous attack on press freedom. The group says it is planning legal action.

REFERENCES

BND bespitzelte offenbar ausländische Journalisten — SPIEGEL ONLINE

BBC dismayed at German ‘BND spying on journalists’ — BBC

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One Year Ago — Germany: BND spying on journalists

Two Years Ago — Germany : BND Spying On Journalists

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