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Germany high court rules intelligence may not be withheld from parliament

[JURIST] Germany's Federal Constitutional Court [official website, in German] ruled [judgment, in German; press release, in German] Thursday that the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) [official website, in German] may not withhold information from parliament without good cause. The case began in 2006 [DW report] when the BND refused to tell Germany's Green Party [party website, in German] whether it was spying on members of parliament. Thursday's ruling requires that the government present a detailed explanation [Tagesschau report, in German] of its reasoning when it refuses to divulge information to parliament. Some members of parliament said they expect currently classified information to become declassified as a result of the the ruling.

Intelligence services of a number of countries have come under government scrutiny in the past month. Earlier this month the Canadian Security Intelligence Service [official website] was criticized [JURIST report] by Canada's Security Intelligence Review Committee [official website] for its role in interrogating a Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee. Also this month, the UK Metropolitan Police Service [official website] announced it was looking into [JURIST report] allegations that British intelligence officers mistreated former Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed [JURIST news archive]. The United States House of Representatives Intelligence Committe [official website] announced earlier this month that it would open a formal investigation [JURIST report] into a plan to assassinate al Qaeda members that the Central Intelligence Committee (CIA) [official website] failed to disclose to Congress.

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