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German secret service suspected of deleting search words used by NSA spies

Germany's secret service, the BND, has been accused of deleting search terms used by the NSA to spy on EU countries. The discovery came to light last week when media reported the BND colluding with the US secret service.

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's secret service, allegedly deleted several thousand search terms used by the US' National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on governments in Europe, der Spiegel reported on Friday.

The information was part of

a series of revelations that began last week

, when Der Spiegel, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and public broadcasters NDR and WDR reported on the NSA using the BND's monitoring stations in Bavaria's Bad Aibling to spy on high-ranking French officials, the Presidential palace in France, the EU Commission in Brussels and the European aerospace company

Airbus.

According to the latest discovery, a BND official found 12,000 so-called "selectors" or search words which included abbreviations like "diplo," "bundesamt" and "gov" - components of Email addresses of diplomats, officials and governments in Germany and other European countries and offices of the European Union. These search terms were used to filter through databases of the BND.

The BND official reported the findings to his supervisor on August 14, 2013 with the question, "What should I do?" The supervisor replied with the word, "Delete."

An embarrassment for Chancellor Merkel?

Sicherheitsexperte Gerhard Schindler zukünftiger Chef des BND

BND chief Gerhard Schindler could face personal consequences following the NSA revelations

The EU Commission's President Jean-Claude Juncker demanded an explanation from Berlin: "This case needs to be clarified by German authorities, and by those in the parliament."

Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament said if the findings were correct, then the matter was unacceptable.

Germany's opposition party, die Linke's head Jan Korte demanded that Merkel reveal plans on how she was going to go about the spying affair. Merkel's coalition partners, the Social Democrats, did not rule out the possibility that the BND issue would spoil Franco- German relations.

The BND is supposed to have informed the German government several years ago about the NSA's unauthorized attempts to spy on Europe. However, the matter was taken seriously only since March this year and the impact these discoveries could have, was still unclear.

The German parliament's commission monitoring the secret services is planning to hold a special meeting to discuss the case. Officials have said that responsible persons BND and in the government could face personal consequences if the findings are proven to be correct.

mg/jil (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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