US spies on Germany, EU agencies, as much as on China and Iraq
July 1, 2013 18 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
America spies on the communications of German and other European Union agencies with the same intensity it spies on China and Iraq, documents show. German newsmagazine Der Spiegel aired these claims on Sunday, based on documents it said it obtained from American whistleblower Edward Snowden. Snowden, a former technical expert with the Central Intelligence Agency, remains holed up inside the transit section of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, as Russian authorities have rejected repeated requests by Washington to extradite him to the US. According to Spiegel, American intelligence operatives placed interception equipment in the offices of the European Union’s representation in Washington, DC, before infiltrating the building’s computer network. Similar methods were aimed at the EU’s official representation to the United Nations in New York, and even in Brussels, Belgium, where the EU is headquartered. In a separate article, also published on Sunday, Der Spiegel said the National Security Agency, America’s foremost communications interception agency, monitors data from over half a billion communications exchanges taking place in Germany each month. The data is derived from telephone calls, emails, mobile text messages, and even chat transcripts, said the newsmagazine. The information appears to suggest that United States communications intelligence agencies are far more active in Germany than in any other of the EU’s 28 member states. Late on Sunday, a spokeswoman at the Office of the German Federal Prosecutor told Spiegel that the question of whether German citizens’ rights have been violated by illegal American intelligence activities is currently being looked at, and that “criminal charges” relating to the spying revelations “appear likely”. The German Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who last week communicated an official complaint to the British government over similar allegations, told German media that, if Spiegel’s reports are accurate, then the affair would be “reminiscent of methods used by our enemies during the Cold War”. The German newsmagazine reported late on Sunday that EU officials appear genuinley “outraged” and some have urged suspension of trans-Atlantic free-trade agreement talks. It also quoted German politician Martin Schulz, President of the EU Parliament, as saying that, if Snowden’s allegations are true, it would be “a huge scandal and a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US”. Spiegel promised more revelations for Monday.