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New NSA spying allegations rile European allies

July 1, 2013 • Business


In this picture, taken Saturday June 29, 2013, a demonstrator protests with a poster against NSA in Hanover, Germany. Germany’s top justice official says reports that U.S. intelligence bugged European Union offices remind her of “the methods used by enemies during the Cold War.” Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was responding to a report by German news weekly Der Spiegel on Sunday June 30, 2013, that claimed the National Security Agency has eavesdropped on EU offices in Washington, New York and Brussels. The magazine cited classified U.S. documents taken by NSA leaker Edward Snowden that it said it had partly seen. The documents reportedly describe the European Union as a “target” for surveillance. (AP Photo/dpa, Peter Steffen)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration faced a breakdown in confidence Sunday from key foreign allies who threatened investigations and sanctions against the U.S. over secret surveillance programs that reportedly installed covert listening devices in European Union offices.

U.S. intelligence officials said they will directly discuss with EU officials the new allegations, reported in Sunday’s editions of the German news weekly Der Spiegel. But the former head of the CIA and National Security Agency urged the White House to make the spy programs more transparent to calm public fears about the American government’s snooping.

It was the latest backlash in a nearly monthlong global debate over the reach of U.S. surveillance that aims to prevent terror attacks. The two programs, both run by the NSA, pick up millions of telephone and Internet records that are routed through American networks each day. They have raised sharp concerns about whether they violate public privacy rights at home and abroad.

Several European officials — including in Germany, Italy, France, Luxembourg and the EU government itself — said the new revelations could scuttle ongoing negotiations on a trans-Atlantic trade treaty that, ultimately, seeks to create jobs and boost commerce by billions annually in what would be the world’s largest free trade area.

“Partners do not spy on each other,” said EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding. “We cannot negotiate over a big trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out Login to read more

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