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June 23, 2021


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Denmark helped US NSA spy on German politicians

2 min read

German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a news conference in Berlin, Germany. (AP)

New details have come to light in the scandal over the US National Security Agency’s surveillance of top European politicians.

Media reports claim US National Security Agency used Danish cables to spy on senior officials

Revelations that emerged in 2013 showed that the US intelligence agency had tapped the phones of several leaders – including Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Now, a new multi-national media investigation says a Danish military intelligence unit supported the US wiretapping operation.

Danish intelligence reportedly worked with the US National Security Agency from here – to eavesdrop on European politicians.

Danmarks Radio published the allegations on Sunday evening in a joint investigation with the Swedish public broadcaster SVT, Norway’s NRK, France’s Le Monde, and Germany’s NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The Danish broadcaster said the NSA retrieved text messages, calls and internet traffic including searches and chats thanks to its partnership with FE Denmark a close US ally, hosts several key landing stations for undersea internet cables to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain.

Neither the agency or its director at the time, Lars Finsen, have commented on the report. Findsen and three other FE officials were suspended last year by an independent oversight board following criticism and accusations of serious wrongdoings stemming from the internal investigation, which began in 2015, Denmark’s Radio said.

What’s German reaction?

DR interviewed nine sources, all of whom are said to have had access to classified information held by the FE.

Along with Mrs Merkel, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the opposition leader at the time, Peer Steinbrück, are also said to have been targeted.

“Politically I view this is a scandal,” Mr Steinbrück told German media.

Denmark’s Defence Minister Trine Bramsen, who had reportedly been earlier informed of the espionage, told DR that “systematic wiretapping of close allies is unacceptable”.

A joint investigation by several European media outlets shows former German chancellor candidate, Peer Steinbrück, was among the espionage targets.

A major problem is that the Danish government didn’t inform their German neighbors, though they apparently knew about the eavesdropping as early as 2015.

The German government said it only found out about the spying after press inquiries. Spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and a parliamentary inquiry.

It did not reveal that a close European ally was involved. The NSA, the Danish intelligence service and the Danish government refused to comment on the latest revelations.

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