The German government has so far claimed that it knew nothing of the Prism spying program

From Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post:  On Wednesday, the question of German collaboration with U.S. surveillance was further complicated when the Bild newspaper published portions of a confidential September 2011 NATO document that discussed a PRISM program for online surveillance in Afghanistan to which German military commanders would have contributed nominations for people to be monitored by U.S. personnel.

[Angela] Merkel’s spokesman acknowledged on Wednesday the existence of the NATO surveillance program in Afghanistan, but he said that it was not identical to the one run directly by the United States. . . .

Despite the controversy over the spying revelations, German polls still rank Merkel as the most popular politician in the country by far, and analysts say it is still unclear whether she will be damaged by the tumult. A Forsa poll last week showed that 80 percent of Germans do not believe their government’s assurances that it was unaware of U.S. activity in Germany.

From Spiegel:  The German government has so far claimed that it knew nothing of the United States’ Prism spying program, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden last month. But parts of a confidential NATO document published by daily Bild on Wednesday show that the German military, the Bundeswehr, may have already been aware of the National Security Agency’s operations in 2011, the paper alleged.

The document, reportedly sent on Sept. 1, 2011 to all regional commands by the joint NATO headquarters in Afghanistan, gives specific instructions for working together on a program called Prism, which the paper said was the same as that run by the NSA. According to Bild, the document was also sent to the regional command in northern Afghanistan, for which Germany was responsible at the time under General Major Markus Kneip.

Should the media report be confirmed, Berlin’s claims of ignorance will prove to have been false. But on Wednesday afternoon, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert denied the Bild story, saying that the document referred to a separate program that had been run by NATO troops, and not the US. The programs were "not identical," he said. . . .

According to the document cited by Bild, as of Sept. 15 that year, regional commands were instructed to apply for monitoring telephone calls and e-mails, according to the document, in which Prism is named at least three times. "Existing COMINT (communications intelligence) nominations submitted outside of PRISM must be resubmitted into PRISM IOT," it reads.

It also states that access to the Prism program is regulated by the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS), which is used by various US intelligence services to transmit classified information. . . .

[Bild] also claims to have seen documents indicating that the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, provided such telephone numbers to NATO, where they were ultimately fed into the surveillance system as well.  (graphic: Bild)