Germany seeking to clarify US spying allegations

Government in touch with national and international authorities on matter, says spokesman for German chancellor.

Germany seeking to clarify US spying allegations

Germany has contacted “all relevant international and national authorities” to clarify reports of US spying on German leaders, a senior government official said Monday. 

“The German government has taken note of the reporting,” Steffen Seibert, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, said during a press conference in Berlin following reports that Denmark's intelligence agency helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy on European leaders including Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. 

Meanwhile, Denmark’s Defense Minister Trine Bramsen told the Danish news agency Ritzau that "systematic wiretapping of close allies is unacceptable.”

The revelations that Washington had been eavesdropping on its European allies first emerged in 2013, but it is only now that German journalists have gained access to inside reports about the role of the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) in providing support to the NSA.

The report indicated that Germany's northern neighbor and EU partner cooperated actively with the US on spying on German leaders.

The Danish government came to know about the involvement of the country's secret service in the NSA scandal by 2015 at the latest. The authorities began collecting information on the FE's cooperation with the NSA between 2012 and 2014 in the secret Dunhammer report following disclosures by former NSA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden, Germany’s NDR television reported.

The information they collected proved that the FE had helped the NSA spy on leading politicians in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and France as well as in Germany.

Denmark's secret service also helped the NSA spy on the Danish foreign and finance ministries as well as a Danish weapons manufacturer.

The FE also cooperated with the NSA on spying operations against the US government itself.

Following the discovery of the extent of the cooperation with the NSA, the Danish government forced the entire leadership of the FE to resign last year.