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German intelligence reportedly spied on Kerry, Clinton calls

Germany's foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped on calls made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

German intelligence BND accidentally records calls of U.S. officials

The German intelligency agency BND reportedly tapped a satellite phone conversation John Kerry made in 2013 and also recorded a conversation between Hiilary Clinton and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. (REUTERS)

Germany's foreign intelligence agency eavesdropped on calls made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday.

The respected news weekly reported that the agency, known by its German acronym BND, tapped a satellite phone conversation Kerry made in 2013 as part of its surveillance of telecommunications in the Middle East. The agency also recorded a conversation between Clinton and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan a year earlier, Der Spiegel claimed.

The magazine didn't give a source for its information, but said the calls were collected accidentally, that the three officials weren't directly targeted, and the recordings were ordered destroyed immediately. In Clinton's case, the call reportedly took place on the same "frequency" as a terror suspect, according to Der Spiegel.

The tapping of Clinton's call was reported Friday by German public broadcaster ARD and Munich daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

If true, the revelations would be embarrassing for the German government, which has spent months complaining to Washington about alleged American spy activity in Germany.

Last year, German media reports based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden prompted a sharp rebuke from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was allegedly among the U.S. intelligence agency's targets.

In July, Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador in Berlin following the arrest of a man reported to have spied for the United States. (Michael Kappeler/Associated Press)

A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin and the State Department in Washington declined to comment on the latest reports.

In its report Saturday, Der Spiegel also cited a confidential 2009 BND document listing fellow NATO member Turkey as a target for German intelligence gathering.

The Germany intelligence agency didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday.

Martina Renner, a member of the opposition Left Party on the parliamentary panel, said the case indicated that anyone who examined Snowden's revelations in detail was subject to scrutiny by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Her panel heard testimony Thursday from two former NSA employees, Thomas Drake and William Binney.

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