German spy agency says Europeans regularly swap tech tips, denies it sought to bypass law

BERLIN – Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has confirmed a report that it regularly discusses technological developments with its European counterparts.

But a spokesman denies a report in Britain’s Guardian newspaper that the agency, known by its German acronym BND, tried to bypass legal restrictions to use surveillance technology developed by the British GCHQ agency.

The newspaper cited documents released by NSA leaker Edward Snowden according to which GCHQ in 2008 assisted the BND “in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany.”

BND spokesman Martin Heinemann told The Associated Press on Saturday that the exchange between the two agencies focused “not on legal, but on technical questions” related to mooted surveillance regulation reforms in Germany that were never implemented.