The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) tapped at least one phone call of the then Foreign Minister of the United States of America, Hillary Clinton. Furthermore, the German government ordered to spy on a NATO partner. According to "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ), NDR and WDR, this is the result from documents handed over to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by a BND spy. Markus R., who was arrested in July, confessed in the meantime to have forwarded at least 218 documents to the USA within the last two years.
USA uses the information in the dispute on US spying activities in Germany
The German government is by now aware of the sensitive nature of parts of these documents and the dimensions of the damage caused. Thus USA have now started to use the information provided by Markus R. in the current dispute on US spying activities in Germany. They consider Clinton's tapped phone call as prove that Germany also spied on the US. The US Foreign Minister John Kerry is said to have confronted the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier with this matter. Denis McDonough, US President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff is alleged to have addressed the wiretapping when visiting the German Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier.
German government sources deny systematic spying on the USA
However, German government sources deny systematic spying on the USA by the BND. Instead, the phone call made by Clinton during her term from a US government aircraft was intercepted unintentionally. The fact that the recording wasn't deleted immediately was called "idiocy" by a member of the government in Berlin. However, Clinton is supposedly not the only one: apparently, phone calls by US politicians and from other friendly nations have been repeatedly recorded and submitted to the respective BND President as instructed. According to government sources, it has never been intentional eavesdropping. Since summer of last year, an instruction by the Chancellery orders the immediate deletion of such material.
Secret statement specifies which countries are to be spied on
Markus R. submitted to the CIA a copy of the "Mission Statement of the Federal Government" (APB) for the German Intelligence Service, which is by now considered as similarly controversial in Berlin. It was issued in 2009 and is still valid. The statement specifies which topics the BND is to take care of and which countries are to be spied on. According to SZ, NDR and WDR the USA are not among them, but a NATO country for quite some years.
The Parliamentary Control Panel of the German Bundestag meanwhile requested the documents forwarded by Markus R., in order to gain an overview on the caused damage. In the German government it is being discussed to withhold the Mission Statement due to its particular need for protection. To date, the members of the Parliament don’t know the content of this paper. Upon request by NDR, WDR and SZ, the German government declined to comment due to the ongoing investigations against Markus R.