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Germany accidentally spied on phone calls from Hillary Clinton and John Kerry

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Germany may be upset with the US over its eagerness to spy on national leaders (and seemingly everyone else), but it turns out that Germany itself isn't completely above reproach. Der Spiegel has revealed that the country's BND intelligence agency accidentally scooped up calls from US Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton (in 2012) and John Kerry (in 2013) while spying on Middle Eastern terrorist targets. The German agents reportedly destroyed the intercepted calls as soon as they realized what they had, but they also kept the discovery hush-hush.

The news isn't likely to trigger alarm bells like the NSA's surveillance of foreign government officials, which was deliberate. However, there is a concern that Germany isn't being as accountable as it should be. BND's current policy is to have agents delete "chance finds" on sight without telling senior officials. That may let insiders create illegal copies of calls without any acknowledgment that the call data even existed. One of the spies with this power was recently arrested for allegedly being a CIA double agent -- there's a real worry that he may have relayed important conversations to the US.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Kevin Lamarque]

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