Merkel Defends Staff Against Growing Criticism In Spy Scandal

BERLIN (Reuters) -

German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her present and past chiefs of staff on Monday against criticism that they lied to the public about the prospects of a “no-spy agreement” with the United States.

Media reports alleging lying by Merkel’s aides were the latest in a controversy over German intelligence since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed in 2013 a wide-spread U.S. surveillance program that included tapping her cellphone.

The latest report said Washington never offered Germany a no-spy agreement after those revelations, despite statements from Merkel and senior aides during the campaign for Germany’s general election held only a few months later.

Recent reports said Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency helped the NSA spy on European targets with the blessing of Merkel’s aides.

Merkel said her office, which oversees the intelligence services, would hand over all documents needed by parliament. However, the chancellery has so far rejected SPD demands to make public a list of IP addresses, search terms and names the BND had been tracking for the NSA.