© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Danish Overseas Minister Jeppe Kofod elbow bump on the finish of a joint information convention following conferences on the Danish Overseas Ministry in Copenhagen, Denmark, Could 17, 2021. Saul Loeb/Pool by way of REUTERS/
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -The U.S. Nationwide Safety Company (NSA) used a partnership with Denmark’s international 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 inside investigation within the Danish Defence Intelligence Service into NSA’s position within the partnership, DR mentioned, citing 9 unnamed sources with entry to the investigation.
In accordance with the investigation, which lined the interval from 2012 to 2014, the NSA used Danish info cables to spy on senior officers in Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, together with former German Overseas Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition chief Peer Steinbrück.
Requested for touch upon the DR report, a spokesperson for the German chancellery mentioned it solely grew to become conscious of the allegations when requested about them by journalists, and declined to remark additional.
Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen declined to touch upon “hypothesis” about intelligence issues within the media.
“I can extra typically say that this authorities has the identical perspective as the previous Prime Minister expressed in 2013 and 2014 – systematic wiretapping of shut allies is unacceptable,” Bramsen advised Reuters in an announcement.
In Washington, the NSA and the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence (DNI) declined to remark. A spokesperson for the Danish Defence Intelligence Service additionally declined to remark.
Denmark, an in depth ally of the USA, hosts a number of key touchdown stations for subsea web cables to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Holland and Britain.
Via 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 advised DR.
The inner investigation within the Danish Defence Intelligence Service was launched in 2014 following issues about former NSA worker Edward Snowden’s leaks the earlier yr revealing how the NSA works, based on DR.
Snowden fled the USA after leaking secret NSA information in 2013 and was given asylum in Russia.
Following DR’s report, Snowden posted a cryptic Danish-language touch upon Twitter saying: “If solely there had been some purpose to research a few years in the past. Oh why did not anybody warn us?”
Steinbrück advised German broadcaster ARD he thought it was “grotesque that pleasant intelligence companies are certainly intercepting and spying on high representatives” of different international locations.
“Politically I think about it a scandal,” he mentioned.
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist advised Swedish SVT broadcaster that he “demanded full info”. Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen advised broadcaster NRK that he took the allegations significantly.
In Paris, French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune advised France Information radio that the DR report wanted to be checked and that, if confirmed, it could be a “critical” matter.
“These potential info, they’re critical, they have to be checked,” he mentioned, including there might be “some diplomatic protests”.
A call in August final yr to droop the top of the Danish Defence Intelligence Service and three different officers following criticism and accusations of great wrongdoings from an unbiased board overseeing the company centred on the 2015 investigation, based on DR.
Denmark mentioned final yr it could provoke an investigation into the case based mostly on info from a whistleblower report. That investigation is predicted to be concluded later this yr.