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German Government On Defensive Over Spying Reports

FILE - A general view shows a federal eagle reflected in a window in front of a building in the north part of the compound of the German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) in Berlin.

The German government is under pressure to respond to reports that the country's intelligence agency spied on the U.S. and other allies.

German media, including weekly Der Spiegel and public broadcaster rbb-Inforadio, reported that the BND spy agency eavesdropped on targets in the United States and Europe until the fall of 2013.

The claim is particularly sensitive because of Chancellor Angela Merkel's pronouncement in October 2013, following reports her cellphone had been tapped by U.S. intelligence, that "spying among friends, that's just wrong."

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters Friday that "the chancellor's pronouncement is valid, and naturally it was also valid when she said it for the first time."

He declined to say whether the assertion was true before October 2013.

Opposition lawmakers called for a comprehensive probe.