German opposition threatens to sue government over BND-NSA affair | News | DW | 03.05.2015
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German opposition threatens to sue government over BND-NSA affair

The Green and Left parties have called for official sanctions against those implicated in media reports about a German agency facilitating American espionage. The parties also sought the interior minister's resignation.

Germany's ruling coalition, particularly Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, faces renewed pressure over allegations the German BND intelligence service shared data with the NSA. Parliamentary investigators have given the government until Thursday to provide a draft of the US spy lists while the opposition has threatened a lawsuit.

"Merkel has to show now whether she wants to explain it or cover it up," said Konstantin von Notz, one of the parliamentary leaders of the opposition Greens, to German news agency DPA. Both von Notz and fellow Green leader Martina Renner warned that they may file suit over the matter.

According to a report published by "Der Spiegel" magazine, the BND is alleged to have helped the NSA spy on European companies and politicians, including the French government and the European Commission. At the center of the scandal is Christian Democrat (CDU) Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, who was chief of staff of the German Chancellery from November 2005 until October 2009.

The alleged exchange of data is thought to have taken place between 2002 and 2010.

Calls for punishment

The Left party, also part of the opposition, said they would like a deposition from de Maizière, his successors Peter Altmaier and Ronald Pofalla, as well as from Social Democrat (SPD) Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who held the chief of staff position from 1999 to 2005.

Not only the opposition, but also members of coalition partner the SPD called for de Maizière's resignation. Johanna Uekermann, head of the SPD youth wing, told the "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper on Sunday that "Angela Merkel should censure her personnel."

SPD lawmaker Eva Högl also called for a complete reorganization of Germany's intelligence apparatus in a comment to Spiegel Online.

The scandal is set to be discussed by the Bundestag on Wednesday. At a meeting of the parliament's committee on the NSA affair on Thursday, BND chief Gerhard Schindler has been invited to give "witness" testimony.

es/gsw (dpa, Reuters)

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