While the new US administration is being criticized by the media over their attitude towards the press, it turns out that the German government – which has often lectured the United States – spied on journalists for over a decade.
The New York Times and BBC were both among the organizations spied on by the German BND (foreign intelligence service).
Reuters bureaus in Afghanistan and Pakistan were also included in a list of those spied on by Germany.
First reported by German magazine Der Spiegel, the spying has apparently gone on since 1999, and included over 50 names of journalists from numerous organizations that were being watched.
Germany’s security agency did not make any comment on the revelations.
The BBC issued a statement, saying
“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.”
Previous spying revelations in Germany
This is not the first time Germany has faced controversy over spying. After it was revealed that the US was bugging German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone (during the Obama Administration), she revealed that she was shocked by how closely Germany’s security agencies (which she oversees), were working with the United States.
Germany has been lecturing America lately about democracy and liberal values, but faces severe internal contradictions in doing so. Merkel has moved to expel many refugees, (after taking in a massive amount and overwhelming Germany’s ability to cope), and has also called for a Burka Ban.
Strangely, the media doesn’t cover these actions of Germany that often, instead preferring to direct all their fire at the United States. We can be pretty certain that the media won’t give much attention to Germany’s spying revelations compared to the wall-to-wall coverage of the Trump Administration.
With that said, these spying revelations make it more likely that Germany will start toning down the lectures and focus on fixing their own problems.