USA spied on Merkel, top European officials through Danish cables

  • USA spied on Merkel, top European officials through Danish cables

USA spied on Merkel, top European officials through Danish cables

Speaking at the same virtual news conference after bilateral talks Monday between Paris and Berlin, Merkel said the issue of NSA eavesdropping had already been discussed previously with the United States, and Germany had made clear at the time its position that "spying among friends" wasn't acceptable.

The report did not name any of the 35 world leaders that were allegedly on in the list. However, few months after the initial reports, the German government publicly said it had information that suggested the U.S. might have monitored Merkel's cell phone.

Danish legislator Karsten Hoenge, of the left-leaning Socialist People's Party that is supporting Denmark's Social Democratic government, said he would quiz the Scandinavian country's defence and justice ministers in parliament about the case.

Reports of the NSA spying on USA allies first came to light in 2013 through disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden, but the new investigation published Sunday details alleged support from the Defense Intelligence Service (FE) in Denmark, Germany's northern neighbor.

Media reports alleging that the US spied on top politicians in Europe with the help of Danish intelligence are "extremely serious" if proven, the French government said on Monday.

DR interviewed nine sources, all of whom are said to have had access to classified information held by the FE. Le Monde said it was unclear at this point whether the spying via Danish systems happened prior to, or after, this promise. The NSA also declined to comment.

Among other things, that documents showed the U.S. government was spying on its own citizens and carrying out widespread tapping worldwide, including of Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone. "Nothing has changed in our stance to the clarification given by the predecessor at the time", Merkel said, referencing the initial claims raised in 2013.

Prior to the evidence he exposed, top USA intelligence officials had publicly insisted that the NSA had never knowingly collected data from private phone records.

"What was true then is true today as well", she said.

"I am relieved that the Danish government, the defence minister, stated very clearly what she thought of these things and to that extent I see a good basis, not just for clarifying matters, but for really building up a trusting relationship", Merkel added.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said she approved of Macron's stance on the matter.

According to the investigation which covered 2012 and 2014, the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on senior officials in Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, including former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrueck.

DR reported that the intelligence was gathered through an analysis of software known as Xkeyscore, developed by the NSA.

The U.S. National Security Agency reportedly worked with FE to gain access to text messages and phone calls with officials from European countries.

CNN's Ivana Kottasová, Amy Cassidy, Alex Marquardt and Colin Ivory Meyer contributed reporting.