December 19, 2014
Berlin has criticized Washington for espionageSaturday, August 16, 2014
German security spied on Hillary Clinton
BERLIN — German security agents recorded a conversation involving Hillary Clinton while she was US Secretary of State, media reported yesterday, a potential embarrassment for Berlin which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.
Clinton’s words were intercepted while she was on a US government plane, Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and German regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR said, without giving details of where she was or when the recording was made.
The respected broadsheet quoted German government sources saying the conversation had been picked up “by accident” and was not part of any plan to spy on Washington’s top diplomat. The fact the recording had not been destroyed immediately was “idiocy,” said one of the sources.
Both Germany’s government and a spokeswoman for the National Security Council at the White House declined to comment on the reports yesterday.
Relations between the United States and Germany were hit last year by revelations by former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden that Washington spied on German officials and bugged the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The dispute was revived in July when Germany’s Federal Prosecutor arrested Markus R., a 31-year old employee of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency (BND), on suspicion of spying for the US.
Details of the German recording of Clinton’s conversation were included in documents that Markus R. had passed on to Washington.