US Reportedly Spied on European Officials Using Denmark's Internet Cables

Through Danish internet cables, the NSA allegedly obtained text messages and phone calls of European politicians.
Derya Ozdemir

Denmark's secret service may have assisted the U.S. in eavesdropping on European politicians including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron using internet cables between 2012 and 2014, according to an investigation by Danish public service broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) on Sunday.

The Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) allegedly granted the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) access to Danish internet cables, allowing it to collect online data running through a number of European countries, according to the report.

Denmark is home to a number of important landing stations for underwater internet cables connecting Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, and Britain. According to DR, a data center was even created for this reason at a Danish intelligence facility on Amager Island, south of Copenhagen.

The NSA allegedly used Danish eavesdropping equipment on underwater internet cables this Denmark's knowledge and permission, and thanks to the method of monitoring and storing data from underwater internet cables, the agency could spy on "Norwegian, Swedish, German and French top politicians and officials."

The Danish broadcaster reported that the intelligence was collected through an analysis of NSA-developed software known as Xkeyscore. Thanks to this fruitful partnership, the NSA was able to obtain both calls, texts, and chat messages to and from officials' phones, as well as internet traffic, including searches, Reuters reports.

This is not the first time such allegations have been made. The new report expands on Edward Snowden's 2013 disclosures, in which the former NSA contractor revealed that the U.S had engaged in widespread spying on its political allies. The NSA had monitored the phone calls of 35 different politicians for an unknown period of time, according to the infamous leak.

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France and Germany are "seeking full clarity" on the report, CNN reports. French President Emmanuel Macron commented on the issue on Monday during a recent Franco-German video summit, "This is not acceptable between allies, and even less between allies and European partners. We requested that our Danish and American partners provide all the information on these revelations and on these past facts. We are awaiting these answers."

Similarly, Merkel said she agreed with Macron who said, "wiretapping between allies was unacceptable." 

Several current and former U.S. officials have responded to the claims by saying that such spying “should not come as a surprise, because allies routinely spy on each other," according to the Washington Post.

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