Germany cancelled Tuesday a treaty that commits it to hand over surveillance data to France as Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government seeks to insulate itself from the Edward Snowden disclosures rankling Germans seven weeks before elections. The cancellation is the third in five days. On Friday, similar agreements with the United States and Britain were scrapped in Berlin Foreign Ministry meetings with diplomats from those nations. The agreement related to untakings by West Germany in 1968-69 to provide telecommunications intercepts in cases where the safety of US, British and French troops based on its territory was at risk. Merkel‘s government says it is reviewing the scale of intelligence cooperation with the US National Security Agency after Snowden, who has won temporary asylum in Russia, began revelations two months ago of the PRISM programme to harvest global phone and email metadata. The Foreign Ministry, describing the old West German treaties as administrative agreements, said they were cancelled in exchanges of notes with each of the other three nations. US, British and French troops occupied Germany in 1945, and remain there as allies.
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin was acting “consistently with policy in the light of the recent debate about protecting privacy,” a reference to an uproar about German intelligence sharing with the NSA.
Diplomats have portrayed the agreements as outdated ones that were no longer in active use. They said last week it would take slightly longer to scrap the arrangement with the French.
Merkel‘s government insists that Germany‘s BND foreign intelligence and BfV domestic security agencies are in control of any sharing of intercepts and have not broken any privacy laws.
But the country‘s federal prosecutor has disclosed it is looking into allegations by Snowden and whether any German laws were broken.