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France, Germany ‘seek all clarity’ from US, Denmark on espionage report

“If the information is true,” Macron said in a press release following a Franco-German virtual summit, these practices are “unacceptable between allies, and even less acceptable between allies and European partners “.

Revelations that the US National Security Agency (NSA) exploited Merkel’s cell phone emerged in 2013 after former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden shared documents with The Guardian showing that An American official had given the agency 200 phone numbers, including those of agencies to watch.

The report did not name any of the 35 world leaders who were on the list. However, a few months after the first reports, the German government said publicly that it had information that suggested the United States may have been monitoring Merkel’s cell phone. The German Federal Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into the allegation, but dropped it in 2015, saying it had uncovered insufficient evidence to successfully prosecute.

Denmark’s independent public service broadcaster DR released a report on Sunday saying the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) launched an internal investigation in 2014 into whether the NSA used its partnership with FE and cables Danish internet to and from Denmark, to spy on senior European officials, according to Reuters.

DR spoke with nine anonymous sources close to the FE investigation, Reuters said.

“The Danish government can and does not want to comment on speculation in the media about our intelligence services,” Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen said in a statement sent to CNN.

“The position of the Danish government is clear – systematic targeting against our close allied partners is unacceptable. Obviously, this is a well-established principle to which the Danish authorities adhere,” she said.

FE declined to comment on the report as a whole. The NSA also declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Merkel said the German government was seeking more information on the matter.

“The federal government has taken due note of the media coverage and is in contact with all relevant international and national authorities to clarify the matter,” Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday at a press conference government in Berlin.

Senior Swedish, French and Norwegian officials were also spied on using Danish news cables, the DR investigation revealed, according to Reuters, apparently confirming earlier findings made in the Snowden files.

The DR report also revealed that the NSA had spied on then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is now the country’s president, and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück, Reuters reported.

DR reported that the intelligence was gathered through a scan of software known as Xkeyscore, developed by the NSA. Reuters reported that the agency “intercepted calls, texts and chat messages to and from the phones of officials in neighboring countries,” citing DR’s report.

CNN’s Ivana Kottasová, Amy Cassidy, Jennifer Hansler and Colin Ivory Meyer contributed reporting.


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