News / Europe

EU Furious Over Reported NSA Surveillance

A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich, June 18, 2013.
A general view of the large former monitoring base of the U.S. intelligence organization National Security Agency (NSA) in Bad Aibling south of Munich, June 18, 2013.
VOA News
Senior European Union officials have angrily demanded answers from the United States after a German magazine alleged the U.S. National Security Agency bugged EU offices and gained access to its internal computer networks as part of its spying activities.

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said Sunday that if the reports are true "it would have a severe impact on EU-U.S. relations." He called for "full clarification" from U.S. authorities.

Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, accused Washington of using "Cold War" methods against its allies, saying it is "beyond comprehension that our friends in the U.S. see Europeans as enemies."

Some have called for a suspension of talks on the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement.

On Saturday, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported that the NSA placed listening devices in European Union offices in Washington, Brussels and at the United Nations in New York, and infiltrated EU computers to monitor telephone conversations, e-mails and other documents.

It quoted secret U.S. documents obtained from fugitive whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Snowden fled the U.S. to Hong Kong in May and then disclosed key documents about the surveillance programs being conducted by the National Security Agency to thwart terrorism.

Earlier this month, he flew to Moscow and is believed to be staying in a transit zone at the airport while seeking asylum in Ecuador.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said Sunday that Snowden's fate is in the hands of Russian authorities because he cannot leave the airport without a valid U.S. passport. He said his government cannot begin considering asylum for Snowden until he reaches Ecuador or an Ecuadorian Embassy.

Russia has repeatedly stated that Snowden is not on Russian territory in the airport's transit area and he is free to depart whenever he wants. Russian authorities repeated that position Sunday in response to Correa's comments.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden asked Correa in a telephone call Friday to reject Snowden's asylum request.

According to an NSA document dated September 2010, only a few countries labeled as close friends by the U.S. are explicitly exempted from monitoring - Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Der Spiegel reported that on an average day, the NSA monitored about 20 million German phone connections and 10 million Internet data sets, with the rate rising to 60 million phone connections on busy days.

The magazine said that in France the U.S. taps about two million data connections per day.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 01, 2013 11:41 AM
US is to blame for the failures of Snowden. At his age, he should be very immature to handle sensitive matters at NSA. So you are even going for lower age ranges of 9-13 for maturity range? Good for you. But it should be understood that Snowden's outburst is a direct function of his age which is too tender to hold the level of secret at NSA without bursting. You say it's democracy. Well FREEDOM, LIBERTY and DEMOCRACY have their prices. Goes to prove the hypothesis that nothing is really free. For high prices like is affecting relationships with allies everywhere, it's time to reappraise standards and freedoms. More may be in the offing soon... just how soon no one can tell now. It also brings to the fore the level of citizenship to have access to classified information such as was made available to Snowden's immature head.

by: Kathy Jones from: Houston Texas
June 30, 2013 6:05 PM
It would appear the governments of Europe are learning what the American people already know, you cannot trust our government.

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