Germany takes on NSA spies with classical music and manual typewriters
Germany's plan to take on NSA: Block eavesdroppers with classical music, and use typewriters
Germany takes on NSA spies with Edvard Grieg's piano concerto and manual typewriters
By Tony Paterson, Berlin
1:25PM BST 15 Jul 2014
Politicians in Germany have devised an ingenious solution to combat the threat of eavesdropping by American spies: playing classical music during their meetings.
MPs who sit on the spying committee had become so concerned that US agents might listen in to their discussions that they had ordered classical music to be played, to drown out the discussions.
On arrival at the meeting, The Suddetusche Zeitung reported that for "security reasons" MPs had to put their mobile phones and computers into a large metal box to ensure that they were not subjected to outside surveillance.
"Then the committee chairman, Patrick Sensburg switched the music on," a source told the paper. "Edvard Grieg's piano concert in A minor. Just for security."
The spy scandal deepened over the past two weeks following the arrest of two German state employees suspected of working for the CIA. One suspect worked for Germany's BND intelligence service, the other for the German defence ministry.
Their discovery last week prompted Berlin to take the unprecedented step of expelling the CIA's top resident official in Germany in a move which has further soured already-damaged relations between Berlin and Washington.
Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported at the weekend that German intelligence suspected that a further 10 CIA agents were working undercover in various Berlin government ministries. However neither the German government nor federal prosecutors have confirmed the claims.
Concern about uncontrolled US spying in Germany has reached such levels that MPs are considering a return to manual typewriters, in a drive to foil suspected CIA snoopers.
Patririck Sensburg, head of a parliamentary inquiry investigating US National Security Agency spying in Germany, said MPs were seriously thinking about ending the use of computers.
"Of course we have to keep our internal communication secure, send encrypted emails, use encrypted telephones and other things, which I'm not going to say here," he told ARD television.
When asked whether the committee members had considered swapping iPads and computers for manual typewriters, Mr Sensburg added: "Definitely we have thought about using manual typewriters."
The committee is investigating the activities of foreign intelligence agents in Germany in the wake of a spying scandal which first erupted last year, with US whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelation that the NSA had bugged Angela Merkel's mobile phone.