British Ran Secret Spy Base in the Heart of Berlin

November 5, 2013

This is a funny picture.

The German Government called in the British ambassador today to demand an explanation over concerns the United Kingdom operated a secret listening post from the roof of its embassy in Berlin.

Guido Westerwelle, its foreign minister, summoned Simon McDonald to provide an explanation following the exclusive revelations in The Independent today.

In a dramatic intervention, Berlin left no doubt over the seriousness with which it viewed the allegations, with its Foreign Ministry saying the ambassador was reminded that “tapping communication from an embassy would be violation of international law”.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed: “Her Majesty’s Ambassador attended a meeting with a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at their invitation this afternoon.”

David Cameron’s official spokesman insisted the ambassador had been “invited”, rather than summoned, but would not discuss the content of the meeting

“We don’t comment on intelligence matters,” he said.

He said Mr Cameron had an “excellent” relationship with both the German chancellor Angela Merkel and her government and said it would continue.

The spokesman said that Britain’s intelligence and security services operate under a “strong and clear legal framework”.

The diplomatic row came after senior figures from Ms Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic party said they were outraged by reports that GCHQ had installed a clandestine listening post on the roof of Berlin’s British Embassy.

Commentators pointed out that the embassy building in Berlin’s Wilhelmstrasse was merely 200 yards from the German parliament or Bundestag and MPs’ adjoining offices.

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