France, Sweden and Norway today called for an investigation into a report by Danish Radio (DR), which said Danish secret services were helping the US National Security Agency (NSA) spy on leading European politicians between 2012 and 2014. If the allegations turned out to be true, it would be an “extremely serious” issue, according to French Minister for European Affairs Clément Beaun, which could also have implications for France’s cooperation with Denmark. Germany stated without any details that the case was being negotiated with foreign partners.
“It’s extremely serious, we need to verify that our EU partners, the Danes, have not made any mistakes or misconduct in cooperation with the US services. And as for the Americans, find out (…) whether there has been a spying on political figures.” told Beaune television station France Info.
“There must be trust between the allies, some minimal cooperation, so these possible actions are serious, we must verify them and then draw conclusions from them in terms of cooperation,” he added, noting that he did not yet know which French could be the target of possible espionage.
Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told local SVT television that he demanded full information about the case. Norwegian Defense Chief Frank Bakke-Jensen has said he takes the allegations seriously.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told today’s news conference that Berlin had taken note of reports of possible espionage. “He is now in contact with all relevant national and international locations for explanations,” Seibert said. He refused to talk about further details. “Please understand that the federal government does not comment on the activities of the secret services in principle,” he said. Seibert also declined to comment on whether the case would affect cooperation between Germany and Denmark.
Former German Social Democrat leader Peer Steinbrück, who was reportedly one of the spies, also commented on the case. He told ARD television that he said it was “grotesque for a friendly intelligence service to monitor (communicate) and spy on top officials.” “Politically, I consider it a scandal,” he added.
Referring to nine sources familiar with the situation, the DR reported that the NSA was spying on leading European officials in the period 2012-2014 with the help of the Danish secret service. The NSA has reportedly connected to submarine Internet cables, of which many flow in Denmark and lead, for example, from Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Britain. According to the report, the NSA used its special tool known as Xkeyscore, with the help of which it was able to filter the communication of selected agents from cables by their telephone number.
The NSA and the US administration have not yet commented on the allegations, as has Danish intelligence. Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen said she did not intend to comment on media speculation about the work of the secret services.