The United States National Security Agency is accused of bugging European Union offices and monitoring their computer networks according to documents released by Edward Snowden.
Secret documents seen by German magazine Der Spiegel are reported to outline how the NSA bugged EU offices and spied on their internal computer networks in the US.
A report today claimed that a top secret 2010 document explains how the US was able to access EU discussion, emails and internal documents in Washington and at the United Nations headquarters.
The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies. Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg foreign minister
European Parliament president, Martin Schulz, has warned that if the report is true it will severely impact relations.
“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations,” he stated.
Speaking to Der Speigel he stated; “If it is true, it is a huge scandal. That would mean a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US. We now demand comprehensive information”.
Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, has told Der Spiegel the reports were “disgusting” if true.
“The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies,” he said.
“It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies”. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, German justice minister
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, German justice minister, has reacted furiously comparing the alleged actions to Cold War spying and backed calls for a full inquiry.
“If media reports are correct, then it is reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the Cold War,” she said in a statement.
“It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies”.
“There has to finally be an immediate and comprehensive explanation from the US as to whether media reports about completely unacceptable surveillance measures of the US in the EU are true or not.
“Comprehensive spying on Europeans by Americans cannot be allowed.”
According to Der Spiegel, the NSA also targeted telecommunications at the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, home to the European Council. The magazine claimed that five years ago security officers at the EU noticed several missed calls and traced them to NSA offices within the NATO compound in Brussels.
The revelations come from Edward Snowden, a former NSA worker turned whistleblower, who is currently believed to be in Moscow waiting to seek refuge in Ecuador.
Snowden, 30, surfaced in Hong Kong weeks ago after the Guardian revealed the huge levels NSA surveillance of internet and phone traffic.
Ecuador president Rafael Correa has spoken to US Vice President Joe Biden about Snowden’s request for asylum in Ecuador.
“He told me, well, Mr. Snowden is a fugitive of the law and has no passport. So then I told him, well the Isaiases are fugitives of Ecuadorian law and have no passport and you won’t extradite them,” Correa said.
“Let’s be consistent. Have rules for everyone because that is a clear double standard here. If the United States pursues someone, then everyone would have turn them over independent of what the person has accused them of doing”.
The Isaias brothers are bankers charged with embezzlement linked to the 1998 collapse of Filanbanco, once one of Ecuador’s biggest banks.
The brothers fled to the United States and Ecuador’s government has attempted to extradite them.