Documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden along with aerial photographs suggest that the United Kingdom has a secret electronic spy post on the roof of the British embassy in Berlin, British newspaper The Independent reported.
A white tent-like structure — similar to an eavesdropping station operated by the NSA's British counterpart GCHQ in West Berlin during the Cold War — appears in photos of the British embassy's roof.
From this location, high-tech spying equipment could intercept mobile phone calls, wi-fi data and long-distance communications across the German capital, including nearby government sites like German parliament and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s offices, the Independent said.
On Tuesday, a German foreign ministry spokesman said British ambassador was summoned to refute or explain The Independent’s claims. "Tapping communication from an embassy would be a violation of international law,” the spokesman said.
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The British Foreign Office made no comment about The Independent’s report.
Meanwhile, The Independent said, it appears that another secret listening station operated by the United States in Berlin has been shut down. Infrared images shot by German television station ARD indicate that equipment in a fiberglass structure on top of a US embassy building has not been switched on since last week.
Revelations that the United States has been listening to Merkel’s mobile phone calls since 2002 have strained the relationship between Germany and the United States.
Unlike the United States’ other European allies, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed general support for American surveillance activities.
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