The US National Security Agency (NSA) used a partnership with Denmark’s overseas intelligence unit to spy on senior officers of neighbouring international locations, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish state broadcaster DR mentioned.
The findings are the results of a 2015 inner investigation by the Danish Defence Intelligence Service into NSA’s position within the partnership, DR mentioned, citing 9 unnamed sources with entry to the investigation.
According to the investigation, which lined the interval from 2012 to 2014, the NSA used Danish data cables to spy on senior officers in Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, together with former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition chief Peer Steinbrück.
Asked for remark on the DR report, a spokesperson for the German chancellery mentioned it solely turned conscious of the allegations when requested about them by journalists, and declined to remark additional.
Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen declined to remark on “speculation” about intelligence issues within the media.
“I can more generally say that this government has the same attitude as the former Prime Minister expressed in 2013 and 2014 – systematic wiretapping of close allies is unacceptable,” Bramsen instructed Reuters in a press release.
In Washington, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) declined to remark. A spokesperson for the Danish Defence Intelligence Service additionally declined to remark.
Denmark, an in depth ally of the United States, hosts a number of key touchdown stations for subsea web cables to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and Britain.
Through focused retrievals and using NSA-developed evaluation software program often called Xkeyscore, NSA intercepted each calls, texts and chat messages to and from telephones of officers within the neighbouring international locations, sources instructed DR.
The inner investigation by the Danish Defence Intelligence Service was launched in 2014 following issues about former NSA worker Edward Snowden’s leaks the earlier 12 months revealing how the NSA works, in keeping with DR.
Snowden fled the United States after leaking secret NSA information in 2013 and was given asylum in Russia.
Following DR’s report, Snowden posted a cryptic Danish-language remark on Twitter saying: “If only there had been some reason to investigate many years ago. Oh, why didn’t anyone warn us?”
Steinbrück instructed German broadcaster ARD he thought it was “grotesque that friendly intelligence services are indeed intercepting and spying on top representatives” of other international locations.
“Politically, I consider it a scandal,” he mentioned.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist instructed Swedish SVT broadcaster that he “demanded full information”.Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen instructed broadcaster NRK that he took the allegations severely.
In Paris, French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune instructed France Info radio that the DR report wanted to be checked and that, if confirmed, it could be a “serious” matter.
“These potential facts, they are serious, they must be checked,” he mentioned, including there might be “some diplomatic protests”.
A choice in August final 12 months to droop the pinnacle of the Danish Defence Intelligence Service and three other officers following criticism and accusations of great wrongdoings from an impartial board overseeing the company centred on the 2015 investigation, in keeping with DR.
Denmark mentioned final 12 months it could provoke an investigation into the case based mostly on data from a whistleblower report. That investigation is predicted to be concluded later this 12 months.