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Germany is NSA's 'Most Prolific Partner': Report

New documents reveal extent of US-German spying cooperation
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2013 3:40 PM CDT
Germany is NSA's 'Most Prolific Partner': Report
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during her annual press conference in Berlin, Germany.   (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

(Newser) – Barack Obama isn't the only world leader suffering over leaked information about NSA surveillance—Germany's Angela Merkel is also in the firing line. On Friday, she spent her annual news conference dealing with increasing concerns that the US has been spying on German citizens, the New York Times reports. "We are examining what happened, whether this is the tip of the iceberg, or less serious, or something else—what is true," she said. But a new report from Der Spiegel says Germany should have some idea of what's true, because it is running NSA spying programs and has actually been increasing its cooperation with US intelligence recently.

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Der Spiegel says it has seen secret US documents showing German intelligence is employing the NSA's XKeyScore program. XKeyScore allows the agencies to gather all unfiltered data coming from a target's computer for several days, including things like what they have typed into search engines and the content of communications. The NSA accesses up to 500 million data connections from Germany a month. In December 2012 alone, 180 million of those came from XKeyScore. The documents also report that Germany's foreign intelligence service has recently "been working to influence the German government to relax interpretation of the privacy laws to provide greater opportunities of intelligence sharing" and has become the NSA's "most prolific partner" for intelligence gathering in Afghanistan. (Read more Germany stories.)

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