Berlin's Espionage Vulnerability Alarms Germany

Friday, 22 Nov 2013 03:45 AM

By Robert Brothers

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German officials are increasingly alarmed at the levels of espionage activity by foes and allies alike in Berlin, Spiegel Online reported.

"Germany is in the crosshairs of the [intelligence] services," one senior official said.

The dense German capital district can be easily monitored by basic equipment maintained within foreign embassies, as the Reichstag parliament building and the Chancellery are very close to the U.S., British, French, and Russian embassies.
 
Power is concentrated there, making the area a prime target for spies.

The roofs of the American and British embassies have structures on them that may conceal equipment for the illegal monitoring of telephone calls. Likewise, the Russian Embassy has a rooftop structure that may contain  surveillance equipment.

Mobile phones can be  clandestinely monitored using an 80-centimeter (31-inch)  parabolic antenna, experts warn.

“If someone makes an unencrypted telephone call in the Berlin government district, it’s probably not just one foreign intelligence service that will be listening,” a high-ranking official told Spiegel Online.

Yet because the embassies are considered foreign territory, and because of Berlin’s geography, German intelligence agencies have virtually no ability to stop the espionage. Security experts had noted this vulnerability when the German government first moved from Bonn to Berlin in 1999.
 
Amid leaks  from former United States spy agency contractor Edward Snowden about alleged eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Wall Street Journal reported that German officials are now planning to strengthen their own  counter-surveillance capabilities.

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