Wiretapping: White House trying to appease

Reports of Danish aid Wiretapping: White House trying to appease

Joe Biden

US President Biden is planning a trip abroad to Europe in mid-June; there he will also meet Merkel and Macron at several summits. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP / dpa

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Embarrassed expressions in Washington, angry politicians in Berlin and Paris. Now the US government is trying to smooth things over in the wiretapping affair. And Copenhagen hopes for indulgence.

After the latest reports of Danish involvement in wiretapping of European leaders by the US secret service NSA, the US government is trying to appease.

The US has done a lot since past incidents, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Washington on Wednesday. In 2014, the United States produced an extensive review of oversight surveillance practices. The then US President Barack Obama also issued an order at that time that significantly changed the US approach in this regard.

The US government will continue to work with European allies to discuss any issues through the appropriate national security channels, said Psaki. And US President Joe Biden could reassure Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about the current stance of the United States. Biden is planning his first trip abroad in mid-June, which will take him to Europe and where he will also meet Merkel and Macron at several summits.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has meanwhile firmly called for the Danish-American espionage scandal to be clarified. "The nations involved in the case are NATO allies and have to bring all the facts on the table and find out what actually happened," said Jens Stoltenberg to the Danish broadcasting company DR. The case had put Denmark in an unfortunate light, the trust within the But NATO is intact.

Macron and Merkel also demanded comprehensive clarification from the government in Copenhagen. You called such an approach unacceptable among allies.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen refused systematic surveillance of allies on Wednesday. She said she doesn't think Denmark's relations with Germany and France, for example, have been damaged.

A research network around the Danish radio broadcaster DR as well as NDR, WDR, “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and other media had previously reported, citing anonymous sources, that the NSA had eavesdropped on Denmark's top European politicians like Merkel. The information is based on an internal analysis by the Danish military intelligence service FE from 2012 and 2014.

The whistleblower Edward Snowden - a former NSA employee - had already revealed the massive and worldwide spying by the NSA in 2013. Nine sources have now independently confirmed to the DR that the wiretapping had taken place with the help of the Danish military intelligence service FE. As reported by the media involved, the NSA apparently attacked the politicians' phones via a surveillance program operated by the FE.