European countries have expressed their displeasure after reports that the United States and Denmark cooperated to spy on prominent politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Radio Denmark reported that the Danish Defense Intelligence Service cooperated with the US National Security Agency to collect information between 2012 and 2014.
Angela Merkel, along with other officials, is awaiting clarifications related to these reports.
There was no immediate comment from either the Danish Defense Intelligence Service or the US National Security Agency.
The Danish Defense Minister, Trin Bramsen, did not confirm or deny the veracity of the report, but she told Agence France-Presse that “systematic eavesdropping on close allies is unacceptable.” Bramsen was not secretary of defense during the alleged spying operation.
“This is not acceptable between allies, and between allies and European partners,” French President Emmanuel Macron said after speaking with Merkel.
Merkel said she agreed with Macron. She was reassured by the criticism issued by the Danish Minister of Defense.
He claimed that the information gathering process affected other officials from Germany, France, Sweden and Norway, all of whom demanded explanations for what happened.
“It is unacceptable that countries that have close cooperation with allies feel the need to spy on each other,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told state broadcaster NRK.
What are the allegations of espionage?
With the help of Denmark’s Defense Intelligence Service, the US National Security Agency has gained access to text messages and phone calls of a number of high-profile individuals, according to a report by wiretapping Danish internet cables.
The report stated that the operation allowed the US National Security Agency to obtain information through the phone numbers of a number of politicians.
Radio Denmark conducted interviews with nine sources, all of whom said they had access to classified information held by the Defense Intelligence Service.
In addition to Angela Merkel, it was said that the espionage operation also affected Frank-Walter-Steinmeier, when he was the German Foreign Minister, and the leader of the opposition at the time, Peer Steinbrueck.
Similar allegations were raised in 2013, when former CIA contractor Edward Snowden said the agency had tapped the German chancellor’s phone.
At the time, the White House did not explicitly deny these allegations, but announced that Merkel’s phone was not a target for espionage and would not be in the future.
Following the release of the new report, Snowden accused US President Joe Biden of “gravely involved in this scandal when it first occurred.” Biden was Vice President at the time of the alleged eavesdropping.