July 10, 2020 / 1:51 PM / a month ago

Germany says suspected Egyptian spy had no access to sensitive data

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi at the beginning of the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - A member of staff at the German government press office suspected of working for Egyptian intelligence did not have access to sensitive information, a German government spokeswoman said on Friday.

The case was mentioned in the BfV domestic intelligence agency’s 385-page annual report, published on Thursday. The report said unspecified measures had been taken against the member of staff in December, on orders from federal prosecutors.

The employee had access to general information relating to a programme that allows each legislator to bring 50 people from their constituency for a parliamentary visit each year, the government spokeswoman told a daily news conference.

She said the person in question did not have access to sensitive information

“Direct access to data from the parliamentary visit programme or other government press office databases, in particular media accreditation and the media service, was not possible,” she said.

The press office is headed by Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, and is located about a kilometre (half a mile) from the Chancellery.

The Egyptian embassy in Berlin was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Alexander Ratz and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Joseph Nasr and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Kevin Liffey and David Clarke

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