2013-07-04 NSA Fallout: German Prosecutors Investigating

The German Federal Prosecutors Office is looking into allegations that the NSA conducted massive spying against German citizens. A first formal complaint has already been lodged in one city, reported Spiegel Online.

A spokeswoman at the office told Spiegel that all available and relevant information about PRISM, Tempora, and Boundless Informant is currently being reviewed, and added that further criminal complaints will likely be lodged.

Spiegel reported that the spying by the NSA was much more widespread than previously believed. Secret NSA documents show that authorities systematically monitored and saved a large share of Internet and telephone connection data. Internal NSA statistics show that around 500 million communications connections in Germany are monitored monthly by the agency. The NSA also classifies Germany as a "target" for spying.

Criticism has also been leveled at Britain, whose GCHQ Tempora programme has in part been directed at Germany. Minister for Justice Sabine Leuthheusser-Schnarrenberger complained that she received only "three meagre sentences" in reply to her queries, and added that the reply could not contain the scandal.

German officials were invited to a video conference with Britain on 1 July.

The NSA revelations are creating difficulties for the reelection campaign of Angela Merkel. There are calls to even investigate the criminal behaviour of Britain's GCHQ, and Social Democrat chairman Sigmar Gabriel demanded that German prosecutors travel to Moscow to speak with Edward Snowden.

The first step has to be that prosecutors travel to Moscow to depose Mr Snowden as a witness. If they come away with the impression that he is a reliable witness, then admitting him to the witness protection program must be considered. All we have to do is let our legal system do its work. I expect this from our government.

Angela Merkel supposedly spoke directly with Barack Obama on Wednesday evening, and the latter promised to organise "high level meetings" to discuss the situation.

Merkel has consistently come out against US spying, comparing it to Cold War tactics.

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