Denmark’s military intelligence agency helped the United States spy on European politicians, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, The Guardian reports.
Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio first reported that the NSA used the Danish Defense Intelligence Service to spy on government officials in Germany, Sweden, Norway, and France between 2012 and 2014 under former President Barack Obama during and after the Edward Snowden scandal.
The NSA used Danish information cables to spy on officials, though it is unclear if the Danish government approved the taps.
Recently-installed Danish Defense Minister Trine Bramsen was informed of the spying last year, according to the report.
She told the outlet that “systematic eavesdropping of close allies” was “clearly unacceptable”.
Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that the government had “taken note of the reporting. It is in contact with all relevant national and international authorities for clarification.”
German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück, who was also spied on, said the report revealed a “political scandal.”
He said it was “grotesque that friendly intelligence services are indeed intercepting and spying on top representatives of other countries”.
World leaders call for answers:
“We want the cards on the table,’ Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hulqvist said, according to the Associated Press, adding it was “unacceptable to eavesdrop on allies.”
“The government must explain how come Denmark has been acting as a willing tool for a U.S. intelligence service, and what it will mean for cooperation with Denmark’s neighboring countries,” Denmark lawmaker Karsten Hoenge said.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said it was “unacceptable if countries that have close allied cooperation should feel the need to spy on each other or obtain information about them.”