Monday, May 31, 2021
Pressure on Denmark is growing
Paris: wiretapping allegations “extremely serious”
Chancellor Merkel and other top German politicians are said to have been wiretapped by the NSA – with the help of Denmark. Berlin is holding back with an assessment. In Paris, meanwhile, harsher words are being chosen. Copenhagen meanwhile distances itself from wiretapping of allies.
Pressure on Denmark grows after alleged espionage activities in support of the US are revealed. France’s European Minister Clément Beaune called the allegations “extremely serious”. If they apply, there will be “consequences for cooperation,” stressed Beaune. “We have to see whether the Danes, as our EU partners, have made mistakes in working with the US services.” There must be “trust” between allies.
Meanwhile, the Danish government distanced itself from the alleged wiretapping scandal: The current government is of the same opinion as the former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen expressed in 2013 and 2014, said Defense Minister Trine Bramsen. “Systematic wiretapping of close allies is unacceptable.” In Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: “We agree with your basic assessment.”
The federal government took note of the reporting, said Seibert. “She is in contact with all relevant national and international bodies for clarification.” As a matter of principle, the federal government does not comment publicly on any intelligence activities – “and that means that no statement is made as to whether a situation is correct or not”. Seibert emphasized that Merkel only found out about the topic through the inquiry from the researching journalists. Denmark’s neighbors Sweden and Norway called for the allegations to be clarified.
The background is media reports that Denmark is said to have helped the USA with the spying of Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others. The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) and German media such as NDR, WDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported that the Danish foreign and military intelligence service Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE) had enabled the US secret service NSA to use a secret listening station near Copenhagen.
Steinmeier also bugged?
From there in the years 2012 to 2014 European politicians. According to the reports, among those overheard were not only the Federal Chancellor but also the then Foreign Minister and current Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the SPD candidate for Chancellor at the time, Peer Steinbrück, and top politicians from Sweden, Norway and France. Defense Minister Bramsen announced that no one commented on speculation about possible secret service matters. The Danish military intelligence service also refused to comment on the reports when asked.
The whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the massive and worldwide spying by the NSA in 2013. Nine sources have now independently confirmed to the DR that the wiretapping took place with the help of the Danish military intelligence service FE. As reported by the media involved, the NSA apparently attacked the politicians’ phones via a surveillance program operated by the FE. According to information from the researchers, the extent of the Danish-American cooperation has not yet been known – not even that, in addition to Merkel and Steinmeier, Steinbrück was also among those intercepted.
Within the FE, a clandestine internal investigation called “Operation Dunhammer” (Operation Bulrush) was reportedly conducted into US espionage using submarine cables terminating in Denmark, on which a working group submitted a secret report in 2015. According to the DR, one result of the Dunhammer report is that the NSA has collected data from Norwegian, Swedish, German and French politicians in a targeted manner through the Danish-American cooperation. According to research by SZ, NDR and WDR, the Danes did not inform their German counterparts or the federal government of the results.