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The head of Germany's federal intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (or BND), August Hanning, "admitted that several journalists, scientists and public figures had been spied on by the German secret services between 1993 and 1998. ... More recently, Cicero magazine and German daily Der Speigel have complained about surveillance and harassment," following their exposes on terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi and plutonium trafficking, respectively.[1]

The BND's Hanning said, "I take this very seriously and will follow up on it." The spying was centered on investigative journalist Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, who authored a book on the BND. "Family, colleagues and other journlists who came to interview him about the book were followed by agents from the BND." An anonymous BND source said, "The measures were first taken to discover which 'traitors' had supplied information on how our services operate."

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