The German government came under pressure Thursday over claims that German intelligence services spied on top French officials and the European Commission on behalf of the U.S.
This latest revelation comes just months after Angela Merkel complained against the US over reports fuelled by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the US spy agency the NSA was guilty of hacking her own mobile telephone.
The Mail Online reports: The government refused to comment today on stories in the German press, claiming that it would only answer to a parliamentary committee ‘in due course.’
Privately, Mrs Merkel and her closest aides are fuming at the intelligence leak and have ordered a security clampdown.
‘Behind the scenes right now there will be intensive negotiations and communication between the German and French counterparts,’ Josef Janning, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations said.
‘The French will want to know exactly what was going on and they will be under pressure to get a full picture.
‘In the course of these talks there may well be revelations that mid-level French members of the French intelligence services knew what was going on, but it wasn’t passed higher up.
‘At a government level the political reflex will be to say we can’t allow these kind of things to develop and we need to counter this with a visible show of cooperation otherwise it will undermine German-Franco relations. They need to be seen as though they are acting together.’
According to other reports Mrs Merkel was informed as early as 2008 of American ‘economic espionage’ in Europe but did not act on the warnings. The Süddeutsche paper said spying on companies could only have taken place in ‘isolated cases’ in a hunt for ‘information on illegal exports.