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Report: German intelligence spied on EU top diplomat

Elizabeth Schumacher
February 27, 2016

Allegations emerged in the German media that the BND spy agency targeted Catherine Ashton, the former EU Foreign Minister. The news comes in the aftermath of the NSA scandal and the BND's assistance to US intelligence.

EU Außenministertreffen Krim Referendum 17.03.2014 Ashton
Image: Reuters

According to a media report released on Saturday, Germany's BND federal intelligence service spied on the British politician Catherine Ashton during her time as the European Union's top diplomat.

The BND, "Der Spiegel" magazine reported, collected information on Ashton beginning in 2009 and for several years onward.

The Briton was the first ever high representative of the union for foreign affairs and security policy, a position now held by the Italian Federica Mogherini. This position also made her Vice President of the European Commission. Ashton's administration saw a number of international crises unfold, including the Arab Spring and the subsequent civil wars in Libya and Syria, as well as the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Ashton took an active role in normalizing EU relations with Serbia over Kosovo and in the early stages of nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The BND has been under an increasingly skeptical public eye since last October, when it was revealed that not only was the BND assisting the US National Security Agency with surveillance in Germany, but it also spied on targets in allied states such as France and even the United States.

The intelligence agency has been further accused of having the cell phone number of US Secretary of State John Kerry among its listed targets.

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