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Investigation reveals US and Danish authorities spied on Angela Merkel and other EU leaders

Investigation reveals US and Danish authorities spied on Angela Merkel and other EU leaders

Investigation reveals US and Danish authorities spied on Angela Merkel and other EU leaders

A report has revealed that the Danish secret service previously aided the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on EU leaders, including both the Chancellor and the President of Germany.

The NSA spying scandal

A European media report, published on Sunday, revealed that Denmark’s secret service, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE), helped the NSA to spy on EU leaders. Following allegations that the US was routinely spying on its allies, which first surfaced back in 2013, journalists have now managed to get their hands on reports investigating the FE’s cooperation with the NSA.

The information has been shared with Scandinavian broadcasters DR (Denmark), SVT (Sweden) and NRK (Norway). It was also shared with French and German newspapers, Le Monde and Süddeutsche Zeitung, as well as German public broadcasters NDR and WDR.

Danish complicity comes to light

The Danish intelligence service’s involvement came to light following a secret operation, conducted by the Danish government, following revelations made by former NSA staffer and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, in 2013.

In 2015, the Danish government began to collect information on the FE’s involvement in the scandal between 2012 and 2014 in the secret Dunhammer report, and eventually came to the conclusion that the FE had, in fact, helped the NSA spy on senior politicians in Europe, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

According to the report, the NSA had used Danish internet cables to spy on the senior political and official figures. In this way, the NSA was able to access politicians' mobile phones, text messages, telephone calls and internet history, including searches and other messaging services.

Last year, the Danish government forced the FE’s leadership to step down after the extent of the FE’s involvement with the NSA was revealed. "They made a clear decision to work with the Americans and against their European partners," said Danish secret service expert, Thomas Wegener Friis.

Merkel responds to the revelations

On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the French President, Emmanuel Macron, to discuss the findings of the report. Macron condemned the actions of the Danish intelligence service and called for answers from US and Danish authorities. "This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners," Macron said, adding that there was “no room for suspicion” in relations between Europe and the US.

Merkel agreed with Macron. However, the chancellor also said she felt “reassured” by the response from the Danish Defence Minister, Trinie Bramsen, who assumed the role in 2019. “Systemic eavesdropping on close allies is unacceptable,” Bramsen previously told DR. Merkel said that the response was "a good basis, not only for the resolution of the matter, but also to really come to trusted relations."

Several other politicians from other European countries have also condemned the actions of the Danish and American intelligence service. “It's unacceptable if countries which have close allied cooperation feel the need to spy on one another," said Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

William Nehra

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William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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