Alwaght- The US National Intelligence Agency reportedly received support from Denmark's foreign intelligence unit to spy on senior officials of neighboring countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank Walter-Steinmeier are among those who were spied on by the NSA with the cooperation and help of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE), according to the European media investigation.
The US spying on not only its own citizens, but also leaders in foreign countries is an accusation that came to light in 2013, mostly thanks to documents leaked by former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower – though he remains a fugitive in the US – Edward Snowden. Snowden’s leaks specifically revealed Merkel’s private cell phone had been monitored by US authorities.
The new revelations come as a result of multiple European news outlets – including Danish state broadcaster DR, German NDR, Swedish SVT, Norwegian NRK and French Le Monde among others – obtaining access to internal reports and information from Danish Secret Service sources.
According to the investigation, politicians in Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, France and even Danish finance industries were also targeted by the NSA with the help of Danish spies. The Danish government has reportedly known about the cooperation for years and forced FE leadership to step down in 2020 after discovering the full extent of the relationship following an internal investigation. They did not, however, report the findings to any European Union allies.
The spying was primarily done through hijacking Danish electronic communications systems as the country has landing stations for subsea internet cables between numerous countries, such as Germany and Sweden. By using politicians’ and officials’ phone numbers, authorities were able to pull texts and phone calls, while those being spied on were none the wiser.
Snowden, who made his revelations about the NSA while Biden was vice president, says the current president is “well-prepared” to answer the accusations and that there should be a requirement of “full disclosure” from both Denmark and the US.
“Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around,” he tweeted. “There should be an explicit requirement for full public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner as well.”
In response to explosive reports, Norway's Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen said they were “taking the allegations seriously,” while Sweden's Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said he “demanded full information on these things.” Neither the NSA nor the Danish Defence Intelligence Service have issued a comment yet.
Former German opposition leader and Merkel rival, Peer Steinbrück, who also reportedly had his communications monitored, told German broadcaster ARD that he considers the situation to be a “scandal.”
“It is grotesque that friendly intelligence services are indeed intercepting and spying on top representatives of other countries,” he said.