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EU demands clarifications from US over spying allegations
June 30, 2013, 1:31 pm

Edward Snowden recently released secret documents about US Internet and telephone surveillance [The Guardian via Getty Images]

Edward Snowden recently released secret documents about US Internet and telephone surveillance [The Guardian via Getty Images]

In what could potentially disrupt its relations with the United States, the European Union has demanded full clarification from American authorities about reports that the National Security Administration bugged European Union offices.

Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine said on Sunday citing “secret documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden that Spiegel has in part seen” that an NSA document, dated 2010, names the European Union a “location target.”

“The document suggests that in addition to installing bugs in the building in downtown Washington, DC, the EU representation’s computer network was also infiltrated. In this way, the Americans were able to access discussions in EU rooms as well as emails and internal documents on computers,” Der Spiegel wrote in an English-language article.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, was quoted by Reuters as saying this would have a “severe impact” on relations between the EU and the United States, if the allegations were proved true.

“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations,” he said in an emailed statement.

This diplomatic row could also possibly cast a shadow over the proposed US-EU free trade agreement talks slated to begin next month.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, told Der Spiegel: “If these reports are true, it’s disgusting.”

According to the document, the EU mission to the UN was under a similar surveillance.

The information obtained by Der Spiegel also suggests that NSA was behind an “electronic eavesdropping operation” which apparently targeted the Justus Lipsius Building, home to the EU Council of Ministers and the European Council.

Without citing sources, Der Spiegel says that approximately five years ago European security officials had noticed “several telephone calls that were apparently targeting the remote maintenance system in the Justus Lipsius Building.”

“Security officials managed to track the calls to NATO headquarters in the Brussels suburb of Evere. A precise analysis showed that the attacks on the telecommunications system had originated from a building complex separated from the rest of the NATO headquarters that is used by NSA experts,” the magazine said.


With inputs from Agencies