U.S. National Security Agency has exploited the collaboration with Denmark’s secret services in spying on European officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under the Barack Obama administration, a confidential Danish intelligence analysis claims as quoted by Danish public broadcaster DR and other news organizations in Germany, France, Norway and Sweden.
The media investigation was conducted in collaboration with French newspaper Le Monde, German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, German broadcasters NDR and WDR, and public broadcasters from Sweden (SVT) and Norway (NRK).
Reports of the NSA spying on U.S. allies, that went on from 2012 to 2014, first came to light in 2013 through disclosures by whistleblower Edward Snowden, but the new investigation published details alleged support from the Defense Intelligence Service (FE) in Denmark.
The so-called Dunhammer report, conducted by four specialized FE agents and concluded in 2015, found that the NSA was allowed to use Danish spying systems on submarine internet cables, with Denmark’s knowledge and agreement.
Not only that, but a data center was also built at a Danish intelligence facility on the island of Amager, that enabled NSA to obtain data using the telephone numbers of politicians as search parameters.
Denmark is a host of several key landing stations for subsea internet cables to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
According to the reports, main targets of the U.S. spying are not just the pinnacle of German politics but Super League of European politics and include German chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democrats Peer Steinbrück and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, along with leading politicians in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and France.
Steinbrück said that politically, he considers this a scandal and noted that the fact Danish authorities had been spying on their partners shows that they are rather doing things on their own. Danish FE also helped NSA to spy on the Danish foreign and finance ministries, a Danish weapons manufacturer as well as in spying operations against the U.S. government itself.
Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen declined to comment on the subject, writing only that systematic interception of close allies is unacceptable. Sweden’s Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist demanded full information on these things while Norway’s Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen emphasized that he took the allegations seriously.
French Europe Minister Clement Beaune told France Info radio on Monday said the allegations are extremely serious if proven and they need to see if the Danes have committed errors or faults in their cooperation with American services, pointing, at the same time that there must be trust and a minimal cooperation between allies, so these potential facts are serious.