Interior Ministry knew of 'Netzpolitik' probe: report
A spokesperson for Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (pictured) confirmed to German public broadcaster ARD on Thursday that the Federal Ministry of Interior (BMI) knew about investigations into two reporters at news site "Netzpolitik."
However, de Maiziere's spokesperson did not detail whether the Interior Ministry had known about the investigations prior to the cases being handed over to the attorney general's office.
The announcement follows remarks made by Harald Range, Germany's former chief federal prosecutor, which justified the investigation into "Netzpolitik reporters" Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meister.
Range was forced into early retirement on Tuesday after complaining of political interference into the investigation, which was regarded by many as an assault on press freedom.
"To influence investigations because their possible result may not appear politically opportune is an intolerable invasion of the independence of the judiciary," Range said on Tuesday before being sacked.
While Range's dismissal was widely regarded by digital rights advocates as a gain in the "Netzpolitik" scandal, it was not lauded as so domestically.
The BMI's knowledge of the investigations raises questions as to why the process was not considered "unjustifiable" prior to being delivered to the Federal Prosecutor's Office.
"Netzpolitik" reporters Beckedahl and Meister were tapped for investigations on suspicion of treason after they published leaked "classified" documents detailing plans for Germany's domestic intelligence services to expand digital surveillance.
ls/cmk (dpa, epd, AFP)