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German lawmaker upset by reports of British spying in Europe

BERLIN, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- A German lawmaker raised concerns Tuesday that Britain operates a top-secret spying operation targeting policymakers from its embassy in Berlin.

The angry sentiments come after revelations last week the U.S. embassy in Germany's capital conducted similar intelligence-gathering operations, including tapping the personal cellphone of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Disclosures the United States, Britain and other partners operated the surveillance from their embassies were made in documents released by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Jan Albrecht, a member of the European Parliament and an advocate for privacy and data protection, charged "if [British spy agency] GCHQ runs a listening post on the top of the U.K.'s Berlin embassy, it is clearly targeting politicians and journalists. Do these people pose a threat?" the British newspaper The Independent reported.

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The British embassy is near the German Parliament and Merkel's offices.

Albrecht said British Prime Minister David Cameron had declined to respond to a request from the European Union to explain GCHQ's activities in Europe.

"This is hardly in the spirit of European co-operation," Albrecht said. "We are not enemies."

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A spokesman for Cameron said Britain would not comment on intelligence operations.

Aerial photos of the British embassy show a cylindrical tent-like structure that cannot be seen from the street that could be a possible eavesdropping station. It has been in place since the embassy was opened in 2000.

Infrared images taken by a German television station appear to show a building on the roof of the U.S. embassy believed to be the base for American intelligence-gathering activities has been shut down.

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