- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

BRUSSELS Electronic bugging devices were found in offices used by several countries, including France and Germany, in a building where a summit of the European Union will open today, EU officials said.
The European Union is investigating the bugging in a headquarters building, EU spokesman Dominique-George Marro said yesterday.
EU diplomats said the listening devices were found in offices used by France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Britain and Austria. They were discovered Feb. 28 during regular sweeps by EU security services.
The French newspaper Le Figaro broke the story yesterday, saying Belgian police identified the bugs as American.
"At this point we cannot say who planted these bugs," said Cristina Gallach, a spokeswoman for Javier Solana, the bloc's high representative for foreign and security policy.
The U.S. mission to the European Union has "received no communication about the investigation from the EU," a mission spokesman said.
Mr. Marro said the security sweeps turned up "anomalies in the telephone lines." The news of the bugs was not announced immediately because investigators thought they had a better chance of catching the culprits if the discovery was kept secret.
Mr. Marro said only a small number of lines had been affected in the sprawling glass-and-marble Justus Lipsius building in central Brussels.
In Paris, a spokesman for President Jacques Chirac's Union for Popular Movement alliance said the leader was "surprised, very astonished and profoundly shocked" by the discovery.
"Everything concerning illegal devices, everything concerning the surveillance of friendly countries … is a pure and real scandal," Francois Baroin said.
Leaders of the 15 EU nations are scheduled to meet today and tomorrow for their annual spring summit, during which they are expected to discuss the Iraq crisis.
The building houses the secretariat of the EU council of ministers and Mr. Solana's offices. No devices were found on the phones in Mr. Solana's office or at the bloc's military wing, housed in the same building, Mrs. Gallach said.
Earlier this month, London's Observer newspaper reported that the United States was spying on other U.N. Security Council delegations. The Observer said a U.S. National Security Agency memo showed that the United States was monitoring the phones and e-mail of delegates of the United Nations in New York.
The White House declined comment at the time and a U.N. spokesman said no Security Council member had confirmed the report.
Two years ago, the European Parliament investigated reports that a U.S.-led global spy network dubbed "Echelon" purportedly snooped on Europe's business community. U.S. officials have not confirmed the existence of such a network and have said American agencies do not engage in industrial espionage.
The European Parliament warned EU nations at the time to step up security measures to protect sensitive government and business communications.

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