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US spied on ’60 million phone calls’ in Spain in one month

An aerial view taken shows cleaning works at the US embassy in Berlin. Photograph: Reuters/Euroluftbild.de/Robert Grahn An aerial view taken shows cleaning works at the US embassy in Berlin. Photograph: Reuters/Euroluftbild.de/Robert Grahn

Mon, Oct 28, 2013, 10:42

The US National Security Agency spied on more than 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month alone, according to a document published by a Spanish newspaper.

The report in El Mundo comes a week after Le Monde reported similar allegations of US spying in France, and German magazine Der Spiegel reported that a document shows that Washington tapped chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

El Mundo said that a document provided by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows that the NSA monitored the phone calls from December 10th, 2012 until January 8th, 2013 but not their content.

Meanwhile a German newspaper said yesterday that US president Barack Obama knew his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Dr Merkel as long ago as 2010, contradicting reports that he had told the German leader he did not know.

Germany received information this week that the NSA had bugged Dr Merkel’s mobile phone, prompting Berlin to summon the US ambassador, a move unprecedented in post-war relations between the close allies.

The NSA denied that Mr Obama had been informed about the operation by the NSA chief in 2010, as reported by the German newspaper. But the agency did not comment directly on whether Mr Obama knew about the bugging of Dr Merkel’s phone.

Both the White House and the German government declined comment. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA ended the program that involved Merkel after the operation was uncovered in an Obama administration review that began this summer. The NSA was not immediately available for comment on the report.

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Spain warns US of breakdown in trust after new NSA revelations

White House struggles to contain diplomatic crisis after claim that NSA harvested 60m Spanish calls

US Ambassador James Costos

US ambassador to Spain, James Costos, arrives at Spain’s foreign ministry to discuss the alleged US spying on Spanish leaders Photograph: Kote Rodrigo/EPA

The Spanish government has warned of a potential breakdown of trust with the US following reports that the National Security Agency monitored more than 60m phone calls in Spain in the space of one month.

As the White House struggled to contain a growing diplomatic crisis with its allies across the world, Madrid summoned the US ambassador to Spain to demand an explanation of the extent of US spying. The NSA is alleged to have intercepted 60.5m phone calls in Spain between 10 December 2012 and 8 January 2013.

In the latest revelations from the documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, El Mundo newspaper published an NSA graphic, entitled “Spain – last 30 days”, showing the daily flow of phone calls within Spain. On one day alone – 11 December 2012 – the NSA reportedly monitored more than 3.5m phone calls.

The outcry comes days after it emerged that the NSA spied on the phone calls of scores of allies, including the personal phone of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

It appears that the content of the calls was not monitored but the NSA recorded the serial and phone numbers of the handsets used, the locations, sim cards and the duration of the calls. Emails and other social media were also monitored in what human rights groups have called an extraordinary invasion of people’s privacy. El Mundo said software called Boundless Informant was used to process the information.

Following the meeting between the US ambassador, James Costos, and Spanish government ministers, the foreign ministry released a statement, saying: “Spain has relayed to the United States the importance of preserving a climate of trust … and its interest in understanding the full reach of practices that, if true, would be considered inappropriate and unacceptable between allies”.

Costos said Washington acknowledged “that some of our closest allies have raised concerns about the recent series of unauthorised disclosures of classified information”. However, he defended the NSA, saying it had not only played a critical role in protecting the US, but had “also played an instrumental role in our co-ordination with our allies and in protecting their interests, as well.”

 

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Obama ‘Aware Of Merkel Tapping Since 2010’

US President Barack Obama is being dragged further into the transatlantic spying row after new allegations are made.

Chancellor Merkel and President Obama

Video: The new claims contradict what Mr Obama told Mrs Merkel

Barack Obama knew three years ago that his intelligence service was eavesdropping on Angela Merkel, according to a newspaper, despite reports he told the German leader he knew nothing about the situation.

Bild am Sonntag claimed the US President allowed US intelligence to continue listening to the German Chancellor’s calls, after being briefed on the operation by the National Security Agency in 2010.

It also alleged that Mr Obama personally authorised the monitoring of Mrs Merkel’s mobile phone.

Germany received information last week that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had bugged Mrs Merkel’s phone, prompting Berlin to summon the US ambassador – a move unprecedented in post-war relations between the close allies.

The NSA denied Mr Obama had been informed about the operation by the NSA chief in 2010, as reported by the newspaper, but the agency did not comment on whether Mr Obama knew about the bugging of Mrs Merkel’s phone.

Both the White House and the German government declined to comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the NSA ended the programme that involved Mrs Merkel after the operation was uncovered in an Obama administration review that began this summer.

The programme also involved as many as 35 other world leaders, some of whom were still being monitored, according to the WSJ report, which was attributed to US officials.

 

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