The NSA would send to the BND lists of telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses, Pravda.Ru reports. The BND would then provide related information from its surveillance databases. The NSA would send selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested, German publication Die Zeit said. BND, Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany's intelligence service, has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, German news magazine Der Spiegel reports.
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The BND realized as early as 2008 that some of the selectors were not permitted according to its internal rules, or covered by a 2002 US-Germany anti-terrorism "Memorandum of Agreement" on intelligence cooperation. And yet it did nothing to check the NSA's requests systematically. It was only in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden's revelations of massive NSA and GCHQ surveillance, that the BND finally started an inquiry into all the selectors that had been processed.
According to Der Spiegel, investigators found that the BND had provided information on around 2,000 selectors that were clearly against European and German interests. Not only were European businesses such as the giant aerospace and defense company EADS, best-known as the manufacturer of the Airbus planes, targeted, so were European politicians-including German ones.
BND officials took no effort to inform the office of the German Chancellor. The misuse of the selector request system came to the attention to the office in March 2015. Instead, the BND simply asked the NSA to make requests that were fully covered by the anti-terrorism agreement between the two countries.