Danish state broadcaster says NSA partnered with Denmark to spy on Merkel

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) reported on Monday that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) had partnered with Denmark’s foreign intelligence unit to spy on leaders of other countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Speaking to nine unnamed sources close to the issue, DR reported that the NSA used Danish information sources to spy on officials in Sweden, Norway, France and Germany. This included Merkel as well as former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who currently serves as president of Germany. They also spied on former German Chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück, according to the report.

Speaking to DR, Steinbrück said he was unaware that he was being spied on before the news outlet’s report. He told DR that it was “absurd” and “grotesque” that Danish foreign intelligence had facilitated the NSA to spy on him. Steinbrück said he took it personally as both his mother and grandmother were Danish and as such he felt a connection to the country.

However Steinbrück said it would be difficult for Germany to be outraged at this revelation as it too had spied on allies and neighboring countries. In the 2013 NSA leak made by Edward Snowden, it was revealed that the German intelligence service BND had spied on other countries as well, both on its own and in collaboration with the NSA.

Merkel’s office declined to comment when contacted by DR, saying it would not comment on intelligence issues as a matter of principle.

As Reuters reports, senior officials from some of the countries believed to have been spied on by the NSA with Denmark expressing discontent at DR’s report.

Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Swedish media that he “demanded full information.” Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen and French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune both said they took the matter seriously.

“These potential facts, they are serious, they must be checked,” Beaune said, according to Reuters. He added that there could be “some diplomatic protests”.

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