France, Germany ‘seek clarification’ from US, Denmark on espionage report
“If the information is true,” Macron said in a press release following a Franco-German virtual summit, these practices are “unacceptable between allies, and even less acceptable between allies and European partners “.
Revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) exploited Merkel’s cell phone emerged in 2013 after former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden shared documents with The Guardian showing that a US official had given the agency 200 phone numbers, including those of world leaders, for the agency to be monitored.
Denmark’s independent public service broadcaster DR released a report on Sunday saying the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) launched an internal investigation in 2014 into whether the NSA used its partnership with FE and cables Danish internet to and from Denmark, to spy on senior European officials, according to Reuters.
DR spoke with nine anonymous sources close to the FE investigation, Reuters said.
“The Danish government can and will not comment on media speculation about our intelligence services,” Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen said in a statement to CNN.
“The position of the Danish government is clear – systematic targeting against our close allied partners is unacceptable. Obviously, this is a well-established principle to which the Danish authorities adhere,” she said.
FE declined to comment on the report as a whole. The NSA also declined to comment.
Merkel said on Monday that she agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron’s assertion that allied wiretapping was unacceptable. “Nothing has changed in our position on the clarification given by the predecessor at the time,” Merkel said, referring to the original claims raised in 2013.
“We focus on the present and on trusting relationships. And what was right then is still right today, ”she said.
“I am relieved that the Danish government, the Minister of Defense, has made it very clear what she thinks about these things and to that extent I see a good basis, not only for clarifying things, but for really building a relationship of trust “, added Merkel. .
The German federal government is in contact “with all relevant international and national authorities to clarify the matter,” Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert also said at a government press conference in Berlin on Monday.
Senior Swedish, French and Norwegian officials were also spied on using Danish news cables, the DR investigation revealed, according to Reuters, apparently confirming earlier findings made in the Snowden files.
The DR report also revealed that the NSA spied on then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is now the country’s president, and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück, Reuters reported.
DR reported that the intelligence was gathered through a scan of software known as Xkeyscore, developed by the NSA. Reuters reported that the agency “intercepted calls, texts and chat messages to and from the phones of officials in neighboring countries,” citing DR’s report.
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová, Amy Cassidy, Alex Marquardt and Colin Ivory Meyer contributed reporting.