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Allegations of U.S. spying on allies leave Europe highly dismayed

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 30th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Courtesy of Edward Snowden, there are damning allegations against the United States that they electronically pried into the affairs of its closest allies - and not against so-called terrorist organizations, as the Obama administration has claimed. Enraged, the European Union says if true, there will be tremendous repercussions.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations," European Parliament President Martin Schulz said in a statement. "If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on E.U.-U.S. relations. On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the U.S. authorities with regard to these allegations."

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger "said if the accusations were true, it was reminiscent of the Cold War," ministry spokesman Anders Mertzlufft said, adding that the minister "has asked for an immediate explanation from the United States."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius voiced similar concerns. "These acts, if they are confirmed, would be absolutely unacceptable," he said in a statement.

Snowden, a former National Security Agency computer contractor, started spilling details of U.S. surveillance programs to reporters earlier this month. The German news magazine Der Spiegel reported that several U.S. spying operations targeted European Union leaders.

The magazine had claimed to have "in part seen" documents from Snowden that describe how the National Security Agency bugged EU officials' Washington and New York offices and conducted an "electronic eavesdropping operation" that tapped into a EU building in Brussels, Belgium.

Der Spiegel also noted that NSA spying has targeted telephone and Internet connection data in Germany more than any other European nation. An average of up to 20 million phone connections and 10 million Internet data connections are surveyed daily, Der Spiegel said, noting that the intensity of surveillance puts the U.S. ally on par with China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

In still another report, The Guardian newspaper reported that one NSA document leaked by Snowden describes 38 embassies and missions as "targets." Surveillance methods reportedly used included planting bugs in communications equipment and collecting transmissions with specialized antennae.

Targets included such long-standing and vitally important allies such as France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey, according to The Guardian.

U.S. officials did not immediately respond to the Guardian's report.

"The United States government will respond appropriately to the European Union through our diplomatic channels, and through the EU/U.S. experts' dialogue on intelligence that the U.S. proposed several weeks ago," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement.

"We will also discuss these issues bilaterally with EU member states. While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy, we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations."

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