The Federal Prosecutor’s investigations of NSA and GCHQ surveillance

In 2013, the Federal Prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe opened “monitoring processes” to review allegations of mass surveillance of Gemans’ on line communications by the NSA and GCHQ and of monitoring of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone communications by the NSA. On June 4, 2014, Federal Prosecutor Harald Range announced that a formal investigation would be launched into allegations that the NSA spied on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile telephone communications. By contrast, Range found insufficient reasons to open an official investigation into allegations of mass surveillance of Germans’ on line communications by the NSA and GCHQ. The office has the option, however, of initiating a formal investigation at a later date.

On December 10, 2014, Range announced that he had yet to find clear proof that Chancellor Merkel’s phone had been tapped. Although the investigation will continue, Range stated that “the document presented in public as proof of an actual tapping of the mobile phone is not an authentic surveillance order by the NSA. It does not come from the NSA database. There is no proof at the moment which could lead to charges that Chancellor Merkel’s phone connection data was collected or her calls tapped.

On June 12, 2015, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced that it was closing its year-long inquiry into suspected US spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, stating that, “The accusations made would not stand up in court with the means available for criminal proceedings. The vague remarks from U.S. officials about U.S. intelligence surveillance of the chancellor’s cell phone – i.e. ‘not any more’ – are insufficient evidence.”

But see the July 1, 2 and 8 entries in Adina Schwartz and Aidan Booth, “International Chronicle of Surveillance Events — 2015,” for discussion of and links to new documents leaked by Wikileaks about NSA surveillance of Chancelloer Merkel and other German government officials.

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