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Page last updated at 13:41 GMT, Monday, 27 March 2006 14:41 UK

Germans probe Merkel spy camera

By Ray Furlong
BBC News, Berlin

Angela Merkel
The breach of Merkel's privacy raises other security questions

An investigation is under way after it emerged a museum's security camera was used to spy on the private Berlin flat of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag first reported the camera had been turned towards the flat, opposite the renowned Pergamon Museum of antiquities.

The camera on the museum's roof is supposed to ensure its artefacts from ancient Rome and Troy are safe.

But bored security guards used it to peek into Chancellor Merkel's flat.

Watching TV

The scandal was uncovered by a journalist from Bild am Sonntag, who was doing a feature about the nightshift at the museum.

A security guard used the camera's powerful zoom to hone in on Mrs Merkel's husband, Joachim Sauer, who was sitting on the sofa watching television.

It was hardly compromising stuff, but the implications raise obvious security concerns and the police are now investigating.

The museum, meanwhile, says it has altered the camera so that it cannot be turned towards the chancellor's flat.

Unlike her predecessor, Mrs Merkel opted not to use the official chancellor's residence, a tiny penthouse flat in the sprawling chancellery building.

Her private flat is a five-minute drive from the office - and is, according to officials here, otherwise very well protected.




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