Only newspaper knowledge.
After investigating N.S.A. activities for several months, German federal public prosecutor Harald Range is said to be considering starting no prosecutions, neither for mass surveillance of all Germans nor for surveillance of Angela Merkel’s phones, because his office has neither documents nor witness testimony, “only newspaper knowledge” of the N.S.A.’s violation of German criminal law. Presumably requests for judicial assistance [Rechtshilfeersuche, letters rogatory] to U.S. authorities would remain unanswered. Spiegel, which broke the story of the N.S.A.’s years of listening to the chancellor’s cell phone, cited source protection and refused to hand over related evidence from the Snowden trove.
Süddeutsche Zeitung said Mr. Range’s deciding not to prosecute would upset some people in the federal government and in his own office.
The federal government is said to have sent Mr. Range an early signal that he had independence to investigate freely in this matter, when Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed not to stop any investigations for foreign policy reasons.
S.P.D. and Green party politicians said they were upset by the decision to quit. The C.D.U. seemed to support it, saying they thought the matter should be dealt with by the Bundestag’s N.S.A. investigation committee and not by the federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe.
Update on 03 Jun 2014: The Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR and WDR have heard that the decision was altered: Federal Prosecutor Range still will not investigate the U.S.’s massive spying but will do an initial investigation of their bugging of the chancellor’s phones. He is seeking the whistleblowers in his offices.
Update on 05 Jun 2014: What the federal prosecutor is investigating, geheimdienstlicher Agententätigkeit or “secret agent activity,” has a statute of limitations in Germany of five years.
Update on 04 Jul 2014: The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe is investigating a U.S. spy caught in Germany’s foreign intelligence service.
Update on 09 Jul 2014: The federal prosecutor in Karlsruhe is investigating a U.S. spy caught in Germany’s defense ministry.
(TSIGHT oongs VISS en noor.)