EU concern over Der Spiegel claim of US spying


BBC's Stephen Evans said reaction in Europe is "shock and dismay"

The head of the European Parliament has demanded "full clarification" from the US over a report that key EU premises in America have been bugged.

Martin Schulz said that if this was true, it would have a "severe impact" on ties between the EU and the US.

The report, carried by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, cites a secret 2010 document alleging that the US spied on EU offices in New York and Washington.

Fugitive ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden leaked the paper, Der Spiegel says.

Mr Snowden - a former contractor for the CIA and also the National Security Agency (NSA) - has since requested asylum in Ecuador.

According to the document - which Der Spiegel says comes from the NSA - the agency spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc's UN office in New York.

The document also allegedly refers to the EU as a "target".

It is not known what information US spies might have got, but details of European positions on trade and military matters would have been useful to those involved in negotiations between Washington and European governments, the BBC's Stephen Evans says.

'Polite request'

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Schulz said: "On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."

Der Spiegel also quotes Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting. The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies."

The US government has so far made no public comments on Der Spiegel's report.

Mr Snowden is believed to be currently staying at Moscow's airport. He arrived there last weekend from Hong Kong, where he had been staying since he revealed details of top secret US surveillance programmes.

The US has charged him with theft of government property, unauthorised communication of national defence information and wilful communication of classified communications intelligence.

Each charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

On Saturday, US Vice-President Joe Biden and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa held a telephone conversation about Mr Snowden's asylum request.

According to Mr Correa, Mr Biden had "passed on a polite request from the United States to reject the request".

The left-wing Ecuadorean leader said his answer was: "Mr vice-president, thanks for calling. We hold the United States in high regard. We did not seek to be in this situation."

If Mr Snowden ever came to "Ecuadoran soil" with his request, he added, "the first people whose opinion we will seek is that of the United States".

Quito earlier said it was willing to consider Mr Snowden's request but only when he was physically in the Latin American country.

Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said only that Mr Biden and Mr Correa had held a wide-ranging conversation.



20 May: Snowden flies from Hawaii to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong

5 June: From Hong Kong, Snowden discloses details of what he describes as a vast US phone and internet surveillance programme to the UK's Guardian newspaper.


23 June: Snowden leaves Hong Kong on a flight to Moscow. He is currently thought to remain airside at Sheremetyevo airport.


From Moscow, Snowden could fly to Cuba, en route to Ecuador, which has said it is "analysing" whether to grant him asylum.


Venezuela had also been considered a possible destination for Snowden, however it is thought he would only pass through on his way to Ecuador.


Snowden is reported to have requested asylum in Ecuador, which previously granted haven to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1267.

    The so called security services are like rats in a sewer, they creep into anywhere that they will garner information, to afford their paymasters the ultimate advantage in maintaining the dominance that they crave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1266.

    1264Should it stop inspecting the mail for anthrax spores too?The US doesn't have any allies, not real ones.It never did.What has anyone ever done for the US?The only time they come around is when they want something.So called allies always cost US taxpayers money and then they turn out to be fair weather friends anyway.I say dump them all.It would be cheaper to stop pretending we like them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1265.

    If the Fed dumped half a trillion Euros on the market one morning what do you think would happen?The German nation has made many terrible mistakes in the last 100 years.It should avoid making any more. If it took stupid action, this would be a perfect excuse for the US to vacate all these ridiculous international treaties that are selectively enforced and therefore aren't even laws.Obsolete anyway

  • Comment number 1264.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1263.

    1256"You don't understand ramifications of Germany filing legal charges against America"

    Actually I think you are the one who doesn't understand. After the sacrifice America made for Germany if that happens Germany may feel the full wrath of the USA.America has the power to take down the entire German economy in a matter of hours.The US holds all the trump cards, fragile EU has only deuces.

  • Comment number 1262.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1261.

    1257Snowden will spend the rest of his life running from US authorities until he's caught or dies first.Nobody can really protect him.Obama was only half joking when he said he wouldn't scramble jets but Russia would do well to cooperate by extraditing him.The US has ways to punish Russia, China's punishment is already being debated in Washington DC.I'll be among those demanding the death penalty.

  • Comment number 1260.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1259.

    Let's see...Mom is sick with a cold because she can't pay the bills. Dad is a paranoid control freak who thinks mommy is fooling around. Little Eddy catches dad fooling around on mom and now mom wants an explanation. End in divorce? I doubt it, mom's potential suitors are more twisted. Dad will have to come clean and little Eddy will have to go to reform school because he damaged the relationship.

  • Comment number 1258.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1257.

    I think it is great that the systems of the CIA, NSA, FBI and MI5 have been periodically hacked successfully, they are now totally paranoid about their own security and more so about their own employees. Best wishes to Ed Snowden, stay safe buddy

  • Comment number 1256.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1255.

    We had George Bush in there, and all we could get from you guys was that he was evil, wicked, mean, and nasty, getting rid of that dictator in Iraq. Now, Barack Obama is in there to make Europe happy. He received the Nobel Prize without doing anything, right? And now you don't like him for spying on you people. Well, what's it going to be? The nasty dictator-dumping Texan, or the spying Chicagoan?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1254.

    Will the paranoid spying and prying Yanks now be sending drones to attack EU offices in Brussels? Evidentally the US thinks EU offices are a hotbed of anti-american radicalism which must be wiped out. If you can't trust your friends to not do you harm then you have no friends period. American defensive paranoia to control the entire world for its own security smacks of dictatorial insanity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1253.

    1252 Germany will do what it's told to.From what Obama said it looks like the Russians may be considering giving Snowden up.Putin can dance around it all he likes, the area Snowden is in is Russian territory, it's merely a quarantine for those passengers who haven't gone through customs and immigration yet.If there was a crime Moscow police wouldn't hesitate to barge in and assert their authority.

  • Comment number 1252.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1251.

    1250 1st, the 5th amendment has not been repealed.Unlike the UK the US has a written Constitution that is clear and explicit about the right not to self incriminate.The only exception is where immunity has been granted.As a US citizen who is not an enemy combatant I'm not subject to the same kind of interrogation non US citizens are.Why would I work for the govt?They don't pay very well.

  • Comment number 1250.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1249.

    Thanks, I appreciate that. :)

    It's scary to see what so many people in such a powerful country can be so easily persuaded to believe in.

    I've seen numerous comments on this page from Americans claiming they don't need to know anything about the rest of the world, because the rest of the world doesn't matter to them.

    The lack of compassion and glorification of ignorance concerns me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1248.

    1244"Your classified secrets are out in public domain"

    Doesn't matter.Obama nor anyone in the US govt can speak about it unless he declassifies them at his own grave political peril. I don't think he's that foolish.The best thing for the US to do is ignore it.What can the Europeans do?Nothing except whine like crybabies.Tough.They'll get over it.Into each life a little rain must fall.


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