- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
European officials slam U.S. over bugging report
BERLIN (AP) — Senior European officials expressed concern Sunday at reports that U.S. intelligence agents had bugged European Union offices on both sides of the Atlantic, with some leftist lawmakers calling for concrete sanctions against Washington.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said he was “deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of U.S. authorities spying on EU offices” made in a report published Sunday by the German news weekly Der Spiegel.
The magazine said the surveillance was carried out by the U.S. National Security Agency, which recently has been the subject of leaks claiming it scanned vast amounts of foreign Internet traffic. The U.S. government has defended its efforts to intercept electronic communications overseas by arguing that monitoring has helped prevent terror attacks at home and abroad.
Rebecca Harms and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Green Party leaders in the European Parliament, called for an immediate investigation into the claims and suggested that recently launched negotiations on a trans-Atlantic trade treaty should be put on hold.
They also called for existing U.S.-EU agreements on the exchange of bank transfer and passenger record information to be canceled. Both programs have been labeled as unwarranted infringements of citizens’ privacy by left-wing and libertarian lawmakers in Europe.
In Germany, where criticism of the NSA’s surveillance programs has been particularly vocal, a senior government official accused the United States on Sunday of using Cold War methods against its allies by targeting EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels.
“If the media reports are accurate, then this recalls the methods used by enemies during the Cold War,” German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. “It is beyond comprehension that our friends in the United States see Europeans as enemies.”
Ms. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger called for an “immediate and comprehensive” response from the U.S. government to the claims in the Spiegel report, which cited classified U.S. documents taken by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the magazine said it had partly seen.
Spokespeople for the NSA and the office for the national intelligence director in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday.
According to Der Spiegel, the NSA planted bugs in the EU’s diplomatic offices in Washington and infiltrated the building’s computer network. Similar measures were taken at the EU’s mission to the United Nations in New York, the magazine said.
Der Spiegel didn’t publish the alleged NSA documents it cited nor say how it obtained access to them. But one of the report’s authors is Laura Poitras, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who interviewed Mr. Snowden while he was holed up in Hong Kong.
The U.S. has been trying to track down Mr. Snowden, who is believed to currently be at Moscow’s main airport with plans to travel to Ecuador to seek asylum.
The magazine also didn’t specify how it learned of the NSA’s alleged eavesdropping efforts at a key EU office in Brussels. There, the NSA used secure facilities at NATO headquarters nearby to dial into telephone maintenance systems that would have allowed it to intercept senior EU officials’ calls and Internet traffic, the Spiegel report said.
Also Sunday, German federal prosecutors said they were examining whether the reported U.S. electronic surveillance programs broke German laws. In a statement, the federal orosecutor’s office said it was probing the claims so as to “achieve a reliable factual basis” before considering whether a formal investigation was warranted.
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- CPAC 2014: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight for liberty
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- EDITORIAL: Connecticut revolts against gun controls that could criminalize 300,000
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Two liberals say Sarah Palin is right: Obama lacks substance
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Soldier who hid to avoid saluting the flag to be punished in secret; Army won't release details
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again