American Espionage in Denmark: Five Minutes to Understand the Issue Shaking Europe

This isn’t a new episode of Bureau of Legends, but an investigation conducted by public Danish television. An internal Danish intelligence report, unveiled by journalists, showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on European politicians between 2012 and 2014 using the kingdom’s facilities.

what happened ?

According to what was revealed by the channel DrBetween 2012 and 2014, the National Security Agency would have connected itself with Danish telecommunications cables. “We have learned, since the Snowden case, that the US intelligence services were collecting huge amounts of information from ground stations,” explained Camille Morrell, Ph.D. Lyonnais Center for International Security and Defense Studies. These are the buildings where submarine cables connect and join the terrestrial networks. In these stations, there are equipment called black boxes, which can capture a certain amount of information in order to store, analyze or process it, the specialist continues.

However, Denmark is home to many submarine internet cable terminals to and from Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. CIA had access to data relating to text messages, calls, internet searches, and messaging services of several political figures. “Via submarine cables, they cannot access the content of the messages, but rather the metadata of the exchanges, that is, the technical information about the sender and the receiver, the date of contact, the place of sending, etc.”, recounts Camille Morrell.

Who was targeted?

Some names were revealed in the poll, which she broadcasted jointly with Radio Denmark, the worldThe Swedish channel SVT, the German channel NDR and WDR, the German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung and the Norwegian channel NRK. Among the victims were Angela Merkel, then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and then-opposition leader Peer Steinbrueck. There are also French political figures whose names have not been revealed.

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Did Denmark know this?

Denmark is one of Washington’s closest allies in Europe and there are a few things that cast doubt on it. In August 2020, the head of Danish Military Intelligence, his predecessor, and three other agents were sacked. The exact reason for their placement on the shelves has not been made public, but the government has accused them of “withholding basic and crucial information” and “providing incorrect information” about information obtained between 2014 and 2020. According to DR Channel, Defense Minister Trane Bramson, She was going to report European spying at the same time.

But at this point, it has not been proven that the Danish government knew that Washington was using its surveillance system to spy on its neighbors. Moreover, as Camille Morrell tells us, “There can be fairly direct agreements between the intelligence services, without the government formally accepting participation.”

What are the reactions?

France responded quickly. “It is very dangerous, we have to check whether our European Union partners, the Danish, have made mistakes or mistakes in their cooperation with US services (…). And then on the US side, see if there really is (…) ) Listen and spy on political leaders, “said the French Minister of State for European Affairs, Clement Boone, in France info This Monday morning. Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel said, “Interpretations await.”

One of the targeted persons, Per Steinbrück, called the case a political “scandal”. The Swedish defense minister said that he “requested complete information on these matters,” and his Norwegian counterpart confirmed that he “takes these allegations seriously.”

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What could be the consequences?

US espionage is not surprising. “We know that this country protects and promotes its interests and this passes through intelligence, despite public statements,” explains Olivier de France, Iris Research Director. Things get complicated when this espionage becomes public. “There may be a political and geopolitical cost,” says the specialist.

The real problem may lie mainly between Denmark and Germany – the countries are very close – and more broadly, between Denmark and the rest of the European Union. “It is a question of political trust between the member states of the European Union,” adds Olivier de France. However, the consequences can be minimal. On the other hand, because security and intelligence matters, traditionally, depend on each country. But also because “to be publicly condemned, other countries should have nothing to reproach themselves on this issue,” he asserts. Finally, the main danger is in the public’s perception of this.

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