German court rejects opposition's bid for disclosure of NSA spy targets

November 15, 2016 10:49 AM EST

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's highest court has rejected a bid by opposition politicians to make the government disclose spy targets it worked on with the U.S. NSA spy agency to a parliamentary commission investigating the NSA's activities in Germany.

Germany began an investigation after news in 2015 that the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence agency had helped the NSA spy on many European companies and politicians.

German politicians and other critics also argue that a law passed in October after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's disclosures about U.S. spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel, will make oversight of the BND harder.

The government says it will do exactly the opposite.

The Constitutional Court's ruling said Washington was still adamantly opposed to sharing the spy target list and doing so without U.S. permission would hurt German intelligence agencies' ability to cooperate with others in the future.

News of the court's October ruling, published on Tuesday, again turns the spotlight on sensitive U.S.-German intelligence ties at a time when the world is waiting to see how U.S. President Donald Trump shapes his foreign policy priorities.

It also comes at a time when Germany and other European countries are working more closely than ever with U.S. intelligence agencies to track Islamist militants and avert more bombings and attacks like those in Paris and Brussels this year.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Louise Ireland)



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