US spied on Merkel, European allies with Danish help

Henrietta Strickland
June 1, 2021

DR also reported that other high-level officials had been surveilled from France, Norway and Sweden, though did not name them.

Similar allegations emerged in 2013.

Then, secrets leaked by USA whistleblower Edward Snowden alleged tapping of the German chancellor's phone by the NSA.

In addition to Merkel, the NSA spied on former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück, according to the DR report.

The NSA is said to have accessed text messages and the phone conversations of a number of prominent individuals by tapping into Danish internet cables in co-operation with the FE.

The spying was detailed in a secret, internal FE working group report codenamed "Operation Dunhammer" and presented to FE top management in May 2015, the report said.

What reaction has there been?

Citing multiple unnamed sources, Danish public broadcaster DR and other news organizations in Germany, France, Norway and Sweden reported that a confidential Danish intelligence analysis reviewed the NSA's relationship with FE from 2012 to 2014.

"This is not mainly about me but above all about all Germans".

"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 told Reuters in a statement.

Other European politicians have condemned the reports.

"That an intelligence service from a country like Denmark might also be involved, seems nearly like a farce, he told German's WDR broadcaster". Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told broadcaster NRK that he took the allegations seriously.

In a written comment to DR, Danish defence minister Trine Bramsen said the government can not discuss intelligence matters.

According to Snowden, President Joe "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". Mr Biden was U.S. vice-president at the time the reported surveillance took place.

"There should be an explicit requirement for full public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner as well", Snowden tweeted.

Snowden fled the United States after leaking secret NSA files in 2013 and was given asylum in Russian Federation.

Danish legislator Karsten Hoenge, of the left-leaning Socialist People's Party that is supporting Denmark's Social Democratic government, said he would quiz the Scandinavian country's defence and justice ministers in parliament about the case.

Mr Snowden found refuge in Russian Federation.

Prior to the evidence he exposed, top U.S. intelligence officials had publicly insisted that the NSA had never knowingly collected data from private phone records.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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