INTERNATIONAL – France, Germany and other European countries this Monday, May 31, summoned the United States and Denmark to explain the allegations of espionage by some officials, including the German Chancellor, a new page from the Allied wiretapping file eight years after the Snowden earthquake.
According to an investigation by Danish public television Danmarks Radio (DR) broadcast on Sunday evening with several other European media, Washington used the Danish submarine cable network at least until 2014 to listen to personalities from four countries (Germany , Sweden, Norway, France), among which Angela Merkel.
“If the information is correct (…) it is not acceptable between allies” and “even less between allies and European partners”, reacted Monday at the end of a Franco-German cabinet meeting in Paris Emmanuel Macron, whose words the German Chancellor immediately approved, as you can see in the video at the top of the article.
“I am attached to the bonds of trust that unite Europeans and Americans” and “there is no room for suspicion between us,” added the French president. “That’s why what we expect is complete clarity. We asked that our Danish and American partners provide all the information on these revelations and on these past facts and we are awaiting these answers ”.
“I can only associate myself with the words of Emmanuel Macron,” replied Angela Merkel. “I was reassured by the fact that the Danish government, including the Minister of Defense, has also made it very clear what they think about these things (…) It is a good basis not only to clarify the facts but also to establish relationships of trust ”, she added.
Asked the same day by AFP, the White House, the US State Department and the National Security Agency (NSA) declined to comment.
Washington’s spying on its European allies at the highest level has been widely known since the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden, but the role that some European Union countries could have played in the operation is further increasing. the scope of the scandal.
Without the Copenhagen Accord?
According to DR, the NSA was able to access text messages, phone calls and internet traffic, including searches, chats and messaging services, from officials, also including then-German Foreign Minister Frank. -Walter Steinmeier.
What did Copenhagen know? Could this espionage of leaders, made possible thanks to the collaboration of the services in the “XKeyscore” program, have taken place without his knowledge?
DR’s revelations are based on a confidential Danish Military Intelligence (FE) report. Dubbed “Operation Dunhammer”, it was ordered on an unknown date by FE management after the Snowden affair – suggesting that the service might not have been aware of it – then handed over in May 2015.
Asked by AFP, FE declined to comment. Without speaking directly on the facts, the Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen judged “unacceptable”, in a brief press release, “the systematic espionage of his close allies”.
“It is unacceptable if countries which maintain close cooperation between allies feel the need to spy on each other”, also considered the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg.
“That’s why we want to know as much as possible from Denmark. He set up a commission of inquiry. We asked for the information in its possession, ”she said, quoted by NRK radio and television.
Sweden also said it asked for an explanation.
The case sheds new light on the dismissal in August 2020 of FE chief Lars Findsen, his predecessor, Thomas Ahrenkiel – then promised a post of ambassador to … Berlin – and three other agents. They had been fired by Mrs Bramsen who, according to DR, was rightly informed of the spying of Europeans at the same time.
The precise reason for their exclusion has never been made public. But the government criticized them for “withholding essential and crucial information” and “providing incorrect information” on information obtained between 2014 and 2020.
The service was also accused of having obtained in an “unauthorized” manner information on Danish citizens and of “not having followed nor investigated further indications of espionage”.
“These are new pieces of the puzzle. This is exactly the same scandal as the one showing that the German services had helped the Americans to spy a few years ago, ”said Thomas Wegener Friis, an intelligence expert at the University of Southern Denmark.
The only Nordic country that is a member of both NATO and the EU, Denmark is one of the United States’ closest allies in Europe. As for Edward Snowden, who now lives in Russia, he called on Twitter Copenhagen and Washington for “complete” transparency on the matter.
See also on The HuffPost: Containment: Angela Merkel recognizes “an error” and asks “forgiveness”