The NSA reportedly accessed text messages and phone conversations of European officials through Danish internet cables
The findings are part of an internal investigation by the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) fra 2012 til 2014 into the NSA’s role in a partnership with the intelligence unit, according to Reuters.
The investigation was codenamed “Operation Dunhammer” and a report on it was presented to the FE’s management in 2015.
The information in the report was shared with European news agencies by nine unnamed sources with access to the investigation. Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) released the information in collaboration with Swedish broadcaster SVT, Norway’s NRK, Germany’s NDR, WDR and Suddeutsche Zeitung, and France’s newspaper Le Monde.
The investigation showed that the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on high-ranking officials from Germany, Frankrike, Sweden and Norway, reports said.
Apart from Ms Merkel, former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück were also targeted.
The Danish government reportedly knew of the collaboration between the US and its secret service by 2015. The government began collecting information on the FE’s cooperation with the NSA after disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, according to the NDR report.
It was clear from the gathered information that the FE had helped the NSA in spying on European leaders and also in spying operations against the US government itself, det sto.
The internal report also revealed that the NSA accessed text messages and phone conversations of leaders through Danish internet cables in cooperation with the FE, according to BBC News.
I fjor, the head of the Danish defence intelligence service and three other officials were suspended from their posts. DR said that the decision was related to the 2015 investigation.
Reacting to the reports, Mr Snowden said in a tweet that US president Joe Biden “is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, selvfølgelig, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around”.
Mr Biden was vice president when the reported spying took place.
While Danish defence minister Trine Bramsen declined to comment specifically on the matter, she told DR that “systematic interception of close allies is unacceptable”.
Sweden’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist told SVT that he “demanded full information on these things”.