Wikileaks releases BND-NSA inquiry transcripts of ′unclassified sessions′ | News | DW | 12.05.2015

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Wikileaks releases BND-NSA inquiry transcripts of 'unclassified sessions'

Wikileaks has published transcripts of "unclassified sessions" of the Bundestag inquiry into the BND-NSA colloboration. The leaked documents show discrepancies between public and private sessions of the inquiry.

Wikileaks, an organization known for publishing classified or censored information, has released 1,380 pages of transcripts from "unclassified sessions" regarding Germany's parliamentary inquiry into NSA activities in the country.

While some of the transcripts are in the public domain, many were withheld or heavily redacted.

"In this important Bundestag inquiry, the German and international public is the injured party. The purpose of this inquiry, properly stated, is to discover who is responsible for the injury of a great many people's rights and how these violations were committed," Wikileaks co-founder and editor in chief Julian Assange said in a statement.

"As the injured party, the public has a right to understand this inquiry's work. It is only through effective public oversight that this inquiry's stated objectives of transparency and justice will be met."

Withholding 'selector' list

Wikileaks' publishing of the ten months' worth of documents comes on the heels of a recent scandal regarding a "selector" list provided to the BND by the NSA. The list was comprised of search terms for communications reconnaissance and included the French presidency and EU commission as targets.

However, the list is unlikely to make it into the public domain after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Radio Bremen it would not be published in the meantime.

Testimonial 'limit'?

One of the published documents details a witness, identified as W.K., being probed by Hans-Christian Ströbele, the longest serving member of the Bundestag intelligence oversight committee and a Greens party politician. During a public-turned-private session in February 2015, Ströbele asks the witness to confirm the name of a provider, to which W.K. responds: "Well, now again I am at the limit of my permission to give evidence, sorry."

During the same session, another witness, identified by the initials J.F. as the head of a garrison at a BND outpost tasked with data collection, declined to answer Greens party politician Konstantin von Notz's questions regarding the legalities of the agencies activities, according to the published transcripts.

The transcripts show witnesses' reluctance to offer any information regarding the content and activities of the BND-NSA collaboration, with some providing different answers between public and private sessions.

The parliamentary inquiry was initiated on May 18, 2014 to investigate US intelligence activities on German soil. It is currently questioning BND personnel to discover who was responsible for authorizing the NSA-BND collaboration with attention given to the "selector" list.