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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
German MPs report on spy claims
By Tristana Moore
BBC News, Berlin

Der Spiegel newspaper
Der Spiegel journalists are among those said to have been watched
A parliamentary commission in Germany is to decide whether to make public a report into claims that the BND foreign intelligence agency spied on reporters.

The report by a special investigator - which has been leaked to the German media - suggests that for years, journalists were under surveillance.

It claims the BND spied on the German press from 1993 to 2005 and recruited journalists as informers.

A Berlin court has ruled that the report should not be published in full.

The ruling follows a complaint from a journalist that his rights to privacy could be breached.


Since last autumn, a retired High Court judge has been investigating the intelligence service on behalf of a special parliamentary commission.

Gerhard Schaefer's report has not been officially published yet, but some details have been leaked to the German media.

I felt as if I was some kind of enemy of the state
Andreas Foerster

According to the leaked reports, some of the country's leading newspaper journalists were under surveillance by the BND. The reporters were allegedly followed as they met contacts, went on holidays and they were being watched at home.

One journalist, Andreas Foerster, who is the political editor at the Berliner Zeitung paper, said he was being spied on for years by another colleague who was on the pay-roll of the BND.

"I was very shocked when I found out that I was under surveillance," Andreas Foerster told the BBC. "I felt as if I was some kind of enemy of the state."

Opposition parties are calling for the report to be made public in order to establish the extent of the spying that went on. Under German law, the BND, which is a foreign intelligence agency, has strict limits on its activities on German soil.

The German government has tried to limit the damage of the affair, by ordering the BND to stop its surveillance activities of journalists.

Country profile: Germany
16 May 06 |  Country profiles

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