A leaked NSA intercept shows that German FM Steinmeier was relieved to have “not received any definitive response” from the US on its rendition program at the time of the scandal, which exempted him from the need to act on the matter, WikiLeaks claims.

The WikiLeaks publication centered on a Top Secret NSA intercept of communications of German FM, which was made after his official visit to the US in November, 2005.

The intercept revealed that Steinmeier “seemed relieved that he had not received any definitive response from the US Secretary of State [Condoleezza Rice] regarding press reports of CIA flights through Germany to secret prisons in Eastern Europe allegedly used for interrogating terrorism suspects,” the website claimed.

German Foreign Minister Steinmeier speaks to media in Vienna

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The visit occurred during the scandal the CIA’s secret “rendition flights” scandal, which saw people illegally abducted in Europe and taken to “black site” US prisons for torture.

“Today’s publication indicates that the NSA has been used to help the CIA kidnap and torture with impunity,” Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of the whistleblowing website, commented on the leak.

“For years the CIA was systematically abducting and torturing people, with the tacit complicity of European governments. In 2005 German Foreign Minister Steinmeier was thrilled that his tactic of asking Condoleezza Rice no hard questions about CIA renditions had worked. The US said nothing that would require him to do anything. And how do we know about it? Because the National Security Agency was gloating to the US senior executive about intercepting this cowardly display. Nobody comes out of this looking good,” he added.

RELEASE: NSA Helped CIA Outmanoeuvre Europe on Torture: new Secret docs re NSA spying https://t.co/RuF3Drp9a7 #NSAUA pic.twitter.com/U6pO5aYRhk

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 20, 2015

After first reports on “rendition flights” emerged in the media, the European governments denied any knowledge of the CIA program, but continued providing its airspace and airport facilities to the US security agency.

In 2006, the European Parliament published a report stating that Germany, among other EU states, aided or was aware of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program.