Yesterday Wikileaks published documentation of NSA spying on German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier along with a list of 20 targets in the German Foreign Ministry.
One of the documents is an NSA intercept of Steinmeier's communications after Steinmeier met his US counterpart, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
According to the intercept, Steinmeier "seemed relieved that he had not received any definitive response from the U.S. Secretary of State regarding press reports of CIA flights through Germany to secret prisons in eastern Europe allegedly used for interrogating terrorism suspects."
The visit occurred in the context of an escalating and ongoing scandal in Europe over clandestine "rendition flights" conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) using the airspace and airport facilities of cooperating European countries, in which it was alleged by leading news publications that European citizens and residents had been abducted outside of any legal process and taken to secret "black site" prisons, where they could be tortured with impunity. After the scandal emerged, European governments defied their publics, continuing to cooperate with the United States while denying all knowledge of rendition flights. These denials relied heavily on the insistence of European governments that they had received confidential "diplomatic assurances" from the United States that nothing illegal was taking place. It was subsequently shown in numerous court proceedings and commissions of inquiry that the activity was illegal.