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 187.

    They boast to have sent a man to the moon : German technology. They cry Madiba but the apartheid isn't over. They don't even recognize your language as official. Their nation ? It's the French that allowed them to enjoy a flag. We don't owe anything to them. The UK government is just a marionnette. They all bash the EU but that mess started first in the US. And their nations are born on our soil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    We live in a culture where our private lives are very casually made public. Facebook, reality TV, news paper exclusives and of course Andy Warhol's 15 minutes.
    By accepting Facebook, watching fly on the wall TV or being part of the electronics industry we have all helped to lower the threshold of what is acceptable. Expecting individual privacy in such a society is unrealistic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    @152. Mr Meggo

    Do you work for the NSA? What you've just said is highly irresponsible and not true on so many levels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    What has the EU got to hide exactly? Oh yes, when someone looks under the gravy train they might uncover, greed, extravagance, waste, incompetence and the reason why their accounts haven't been signed off for the last 18 years

  • Comment number 183.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    #170 HNS

    "And America prides itself on being the leader of the "free" world when, rather ironically, the US government tramples on peoples freedoms and democratic rights."

    "conducts cyberspace operations in support of full spectrum operations to ensure U.S./Allied freedom of action in cyberspace, and to deny the same to our adversaries..."

    -- Everbody else ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    All this outrage, whilst using Google search, Gmail, Apple products and one of the big three ISP.

    As soon as the MSM drops the story so will the "outraged" public, those that continue the fight will soon be labeled nutters and the Orwellian state will move one step closer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    I am sorry but the time has come to sever all ties with this diabolical country regardless of any financial consequences that may occur because quite frankly the relationship is not worth it.

    They should now be considered enemy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    167, Are you actually saying that the EU is a terrorist threat against the populations if the UK and USA?

    I have heard some ridiculous excuses for what the USA has done, but this must take the first prize...

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    A nation of buggers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    If the anti European lobby in the UK got their way and we did distance ourselves from Europe, my fear is that we would become politically even closer to the USA. Such a shame we don't get on better with our European neighbours.

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    comment 157. Terrorists was a big made up scheme to be used as a scapegoat for neo-con imperialists. Just so you know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    The background to this is the row with the US on the proposed revisions to EU Data Protection Framework Proposals. If you search for this you will find details and even the UK Parliaments view on it. The Frame Work is negotiated between the Commission (the EU Government) and the EU Parliament and will be approved the the EU Council (heads of Government of members inc DC AM and all)

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    this doesn't surprise me, it's always been a suspicion, but the US bugging UN & EU isn't new news, this was known about when wikileaks released the data from Stratfor hack global intel files & the releases from bradley manning. so y the major push now to lynch Snowden? wikileaks proved this over a year ago, but snowdens detailed files are the icing on the cake. intel services act within law? lmao

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    The US bugs its own opposition parties, it bugs its own citizens, It holds sensitive information about its citizens can we be surprised? We do this even in the UK with similar bug reports coming from Russia and Turkey. Its no surprise these governments want to tighten its grip on the free internet. It allows people to report such scandalous behaviour and these governments fear it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    147 Don't be fooled The US would love our technological superiority. Airbus is ahead of Boeing for example and that obviously includes British companies including Rolls Royce.
    The EU is the world's biggest economy, we produce the world's finest vehicles and aircraft, America will use any method to get our secrets.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    "The only thing to fear, is fear itself!"

    Funny how history repeats istelf to those that fail to learn its lessons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    With great power comes great responsibility. The fact or the idea that the US is the most powerful country on Earth is quite simply NO EXCUSE for America to treat the rest of the world like c**p. Shame on you America, shame on you!!! And America prides itself on being the leader of the "free" world when, rather ironically, the US government tramples on peoples freedoms and democratic rights.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    I recall a TV interview where a noted historian (AJP Taylor, I believe) said "I have never understood why a Russian aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean is perceived as a threat, but an American aircraft carrier is defending freedom".
    It made me think then and I have never forgotten it.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    The Expolited - F%*! the USA

    good song!! Has over 6 million views on Y.T


Page 55 of 64


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