The Danish Secret Service has helped the American intelligence service NSA eavesdropping German Chancellor Merkel. This is reported by the Danish public broadcaster DR, in collaboration with Swedish, Norwegian, French and German media.
Federal President and former Foreign Minister Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück of the SPD were also spying on in the same way, the media write. Prominent politicians from other European countries, including Denmark itself, would also have been tapped.
Last year, the Danish broadcaster already reported, on the basis of a whistleblower, that the NSA has been spying on European allies, including the Netherlands. This would have been an abuse of an agreement allowing the NSA to access Internet cables to Eastern Europe in exchange for Danish access to American fiber optic cables in Denmark.
According to todays publications, the Danish secret service actively participated in the espionage of European allies. The Danish government may have been aware of the activities since 2015.
Several submarine cables come together in and around Denmark, making the Scandinavian country a strategic internet hub. Emails, text messages and phone calls have been tapped, according to DR.
It is not the first time that journalism has shown that European services have helped the US secret service eavesdropping their own citizens. In 2015, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that the German Secret Service helped American counterparts obtain data from German politicians and companies to spy on them.
Break of trust
The NSA, the Danish Secret Service and the Danish Ministry of Defence do not want to respond to the investigation against broadcasting and newspapers. The Danish Defence Minister says that the government cannot speculate on media reports, but that eavesdropping close allies is unacceptable.
The German government claims to Deutsche Welle (DW) that it is not aware of the espionage practices. A spokesman informs Merkel that he has been informed of the revelations. Former SPD leader Steinbrück has announced that espionage is a political scandal.
CDU MP Patrick Sensburg, who leads a committee of inquiry into the NSA in the Bundestag, says he is not surprised by the revelations. “The intelligence system is not about friendships or ethics, but about defending your own interests,” says Sensburg to Deutsche Welle.
The left-wing Norwegian politician Audun Lysbakken claims to be shocked to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “If this is true, there is a deep, serious and disturbing breach of trust.” Swedish parliamentarian Jens Stolm demands that the matter be sorted to the bottom.