Germany Ends Spy Pact With US, Britain Over NSA Programs

Germany has ended a spy treaty with the United States and Britain. The announcement was made Friday. This decision means the end of an agreement that goes back to the Cold War era.

This move comes after secret programs involving US and British intelligence agencies were leaked to the public. Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, said that ending the pact is a “necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy.”

The surveillance agreement dates to the late 1960s, according to RT. In it, spy agencies from the France, Britain, and the US could request German agents to carry out surveillance missions to protect the troops stationed in their country.

Since details about secret data mining programs like XKeyscore and PRISM were leaked, Germany has been open about their concerns. With national elections coming soon in Germany, critics of Chancellor Angela Merkel have demanded to know the government’s involvement in the US spy programs.

Merkel and other German officials have said that US and British intelligence has never been allowed to break German laws. Germany, having lived through the Stasi and Gestapo, has since put strict privacy laws in place to prevent future civil rights violations.

Pressure in recent weeks has led to the German government putting an end to the decades-old spy agreement. Yahoo! News reports that one official in Germany, speaking anonymously, says that this move is purely symbolic. The end of the pact would have not actually change anything, the official said.

The pact has never been used in the 40 plus years it has been around. Current operations involving cooperation between German intelligence and NATO allies will not change because of this either. The anonymous official from Germany says they are also looking at cancelling the spy pact agreement with France as well.

[Image via Parkinpants / Wikimedia Commons]