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Germany summons UK ambassador over spying report

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Story highlights

  • UK newspaper: Snowden documents suggest UK spied on Germany
  • Report: UK embassy in Berlin had high-tech listening equipment on roof
  • UK confirms its ambassador to Germany met with German official Tuesday

Germany's foreign minister summoned Britain's ambassador for talks following a report that Britain operated a secret listening post designed to spy on the German government in Berlin, Germany's foreign office said Tuesday.

The eavesdropping report -- published Tuesday in the British newspaper The Independent -- is the latest allegation of one close ally spying on another that is said to have come from documents leaked by former U.S. national security contractor Edward Snowden.

Britain's foreign office confirmed that its ambassador to Germany met Tuesday afternoon with a senior German official at Berlin's foreign ministry.

Allies spying on allies is not new

The German government asked for a "response to current reports in the British media" and pointed out that such eavesdropping from the British embassy would violate international law, a spokesman for Germany's foreign office said.

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According to The Independent, the Snowden documents suggest that Britain, with high-tech equipment on the roof of its Berlin embassy, operated a listening station to eavesdrop on German officials.

Last month, German and other European lawmakers visited the White House to discuss allegations of U.S. spying on allied leaders and citizens, including a report that the U.S. government monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone. Merkel said German confidence in the United States was "shaken."

The White House has said it is reviewing U.S. intelligence gathering operations.

A purported "Manifesto for the Truth" from Snowden -- published Sunday by German magazine Der Spiegel -- alleged that the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart are among the "worst offenders" of mass surveillance without oversight.