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article imageEU demands ‘full clarification’ over NSA spying

By Anne Sewell     Jun 30, 2013 in World
Brussels - The president of the European parliament has demanded an explanation from the US government over the latest news of the NSA surveillance of EU diplomatic missions in Washington, New York and Brussels.
The EU is further warning of severe impact on relations.
Digital Journal reported on the revelations made in Der Spiegel that the NSA had bugged EU offices in Washington, DC and also in the United Nations headquarters in New York, in order to listen into phone calls and conversations.
It was further revealed that internal computer networks in the buildings were also under surveillance, giving the National Security Agency access to emails and documents of the European officials.
According to the media, President of the European Pariament, Martin Schultz said:
“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices.”
“If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations.”
“On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."
Germany's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, is also calling for an explanation from the US, stating that the news that Washington had bugged EU offices was "reminiscent of the Cold War."
"It must ultimately be immediately and extensively explained by the American side whether media reports about completely disproportionate tapping measures by the US in the EU are accurate or not," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement.
Shock has also been expressed by other EU diplomatics over the latest NSA leak, which was reported by Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday.
Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn 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."
Former deputy speaker of the Belgian parliament, Lode Vanoost (who can be heard in the video above) believes that the main purpose for the NSA surveillance was "economic spying" on the EU.
“At the moment, the EU is negotiating a new free trade agreement with the United States.”
“Well, [now the US can gather] what their opponent is already discussing internally of strategy. That is one of the possibilities.”
Vanoost apparently further believes that part of the reason for the spying was due to the decline in US economic strength, saying:
“On the economic level, [the US] is losing ground everywhere.”
"Look at what the BRIC countries are doing. The EU is having stronger ties with Russia, with Africa, with Latin America. And the US doesn’t seem to get its economic priorities imposed as it used to. So what I see is a big risk for economic spying.”
Vanoost added that there is “too much at stake” for a total breakdown in US-EU bilateral relations, However, he did say that “behind closed doors there will be some very tough words” exchanged between EU and US officials.
Reuters reported that a spokesman for the Office of the US Director of National Intelligence had no comment on the Der Spiegel story.
Meanwhile as Snowden appears to be stuck in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, more and more information is slowly being released.
Digital Journal reported on Sunday about the snippet released by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian newspaper, the journalist first approached by Edward Snowden.
Greenwald said at a conference on Friday that information will shortly be released on the billion cell phone calls that the NSA has the capability of storing for later listening.
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