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article imageDer Spiegel: NSA bugged EU offices, hacked computer networks

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jun 30, 2013 in World
The German magazine Der Spiegel is reporting that it has seen "top secret" documents obtained by the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, that show that the NSA spy network targeted European Union offices in Washington and New York.
Referring to a September 2010 "top secret" NSA document its reporter who interviewed Snowden in Hong Kong saw, the US allegedly bugged European Union offices in New York and Washington DC and hacked into their computer networks.
The classified document, according to Der Spiegel, outlined how the NSA bugged the EU's offices in New York and downtown Washington DC, infiltrated their internal computer network, listened to conversations and phone calls and gained access to documents and emails. The document indicate that NSA's surveillance also targeted the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, where the offices of the EU Council of Ministers and European Council are located. The document specifically referred to the EU as "target."
Without specifying its sources, Der Spiegel claimed that about five years ago, EU security experts noticed repeated missed phone calls targeting the remote maintenance system in the Justus Lispsius Building in Brussels. EU security experts traced the calls to NSA offices located in the NATO compound in Brussels.
According to Reuters, NSA agents had apparently used secure facilities at the NATO headquarters to access the EU telephone systems and enable them intercept official calls and Internet traffic at the EU building.
The document also reveals that the NSA's British counterpart, the GCHQ, operated a similar program under the codename Tempora. The British program involved the monitoring of global telephone and Internet connections.
Although Der Spiegel did not publish the alleged NSA documents or give details of how it obtained the documents from Snowden, AP reports that one of the magazine's authors, an award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, interviewed Snowden while he was in Hong Kong.
The latest disclosure, if proven to be true, casts more light on the pervasive scope of NSA's domestic and global spying activities following details about its sinister PRISM program and other surveillance activities leaked to the media by the fugitive Edward Snowden. It will also further intensify the ongoing debate about the dividing line between civil liberties, privacy rights and national security issues.
Reuters reports that Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said that if the report is correct, it would have a "severe impact" on relations between the EU and the US. He said in an emailed statement: "On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."
Luxembourg's Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, also told Der Spiegel: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting.The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies. We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately."
According to AP, on Sunday, a top German official, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, accused the US of using "Cold War" methods against its allies. In a statement, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said: "If the media reports are accurate, then this recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War."
She added: "It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies."
She demanded for an "immediate and comprehensive" response from the US government and called on the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, to personally take charge of investigating the allegations.
Digital Journal reported that Snowden, a former NSA contractor, fled the US to Hong Kong after he leaked classified documents about NSA PRISM program to The Guardian and The Washington Post.
Digital Journal also reported that Snowden, 30, is presently stranded at the Moscow Sheremetyevo airport's transit area without a valid passport after the US authorities annulled his passport last Saturday.
The US is presently involved in diplomatic efforts to have him returned to face espionage charges.
More about Nsa, Eu, Der spiegel, National security agency, PRISM
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