German Intelligence Intercepted Hillary Clinton Conversation

The incident, which occurred when Clinton was secretary of state, could potentially embarrass Germany, which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.

Alexandra Hudson
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves to the audience during a book launch in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 6, 2014.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves to the audience during a book launch in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 6, 2014. Credit: AP
Alexandra Hudson

REUTERS - German security agents recorded a conversation involving Hillary Clinton while she was U.S. Secretary of State, media reported on Friday, a potential embarrassment for Berlin which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.

Clinton's words were intercepted while she was on a U.S. government plane, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and German regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR said, without giving details of where she was or when the recording was made.

The respected broadsheet quoted German government sources saying the conversation had been picked up "by accident" and was not part of any plan to spy on Washington's top diplomat. The fact the recording had not been destroyed immediately was "idiocy", said one of the sources.

Both Germany's government and a spokeswoman for the National Security Council at the White House declined to comment on the reports on Friday.

Relations between the United States and Germany were hit last year by revelations by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden that Washington spied on German officials and bugged the phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The dispute was revived in July when Germany's Federal Prosecutor arrested Markus R., a 31-year old employee of Germany's foreign intelligence agency (BND), on suspicion of spying for the Americans.

Details of the German recording of Clinton's conversation were included in documents that Markus R. had passed on to Washington, said the German media reports, without citing a source for that information.

The newspaper and the radio stations said a joint investigation had discovered the documents also showed Germany's government had ordered the BND to spy on a NATO partner state, without naming the country.

The media reports said U.S. authorities had brought up the affair in recent discussions, including one between current Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Merkel said in an interview last month that the United States and Germany had fundamentally different conceptions of the role of the intelligence service, and she stressed the Cold War was over.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can