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Tit-for-tat in dispute over NSA data sharing

Germany’s opposition has condemned aspects of information-sharing between the country’s intelligence services and their US counterparts. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition-leading Christian Democrats have cried foul.

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Germany’s eavesdropping facility at Bad Aibling in Bavaria is a key facility in intelligence gathering from sources around the world.

A report that Germany’s Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) has been forwarding large quantities of information - including text and email data - to US counterparts at the National Security Agency, NSA, has caused a stir in Berlin.

Among those complaining over the revelations by news magazine Der Spiegel have been Merkel’s junior coaltion partners, the Free Democrats, and the opposition Social Democrats (SPD).

The SDP's candidate for chancellorship in Germany's federal election on 22 September, Peer Steinbrück, has accused Merkel’s government of caving in to Washington by yielding the data too readily.

However, Merkel's government insists that an agreement was put in place in 2002 when Frank Walter Steinmeier, who now leads the SPD's caucus in parliament, was himself responsible for security matters in the former center-left government of ex-chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Steinmeier and the SDP in turn, say the current government is running scared.  

rc/ipj (AFP, dpa)