Macron And Merkel Condemn U.S. Spying After New Wiretapping Report

Topline

In a renewed wave of tension among Western allies, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged President Joe Biden on Monday to respond to a report from Danish state media alleging the U.S. received help from Denmark, a staunch U.S. and European ally, to spy on Merkel and other high-level European politicians for two years last decade. 

Key Facts

In comments made Monday after a bilateral virtual summit between France and Germany, Macron said claims that Denmark’s secret service helped the U.S. National Security Agency spy on Merkel and other German politicians between 2012 and 2014 were “not acceptable amongst allies” if true.

Macron’s critique came after a Sunday report from Danish broadcaster Danmarks Radio alleging the NSA coordinated with the Danish Defence Intelligence Service from 2012 to 2014 to eavesdrop on telephone calls and text messages between European politicians by intercepting data running through Danish Internet cables.

“There is no room for suspicion between us,” Macron said Monday, adding that he requested Danish and U.S. officials “provide all the information on these revelations” and that he’s “waiting for complete clarity” on the matter.

“Apart from establishing the facts, this is a good starting point to arrive at relations that are truly based in mutual trust,” Merkel said Monday while doubling down on Macron’s demands for a response from the Biden administration, which has not yet commented on the matter.

The two were joined by a handful of officials from other countries the U.S. also allegedly spied on with Denmark’s help, including Sweden and Norway, with Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hulqvist telling Swedish media Sunday he “demanded full information” from the U.S and wants “the cards on the table.”

Spokespeople for the National Security Agency and Biden administration did not immediately respond to Forbes‘ requests for comments.

Crucial Quote 

“These potential facts, they are serious, they must be checked,” French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune told a radio station in France Monday, saying the claims may even prompt diplomatic protests if true.

Key Background

Though it was revealed during Obama’s presidency that his administration spied on Merkel and other European officials, the Sunday report adds a new layer of controversy by claiming the NSA coordinated with a Western ally to do the spying. After the initial spying reports in 2013, Obama acknowledged that the actions “damaged [German] impressions” of its U.S. government allies and their joint cooperation on foreign intelligence. He reportedly apologized to Merkel and promised not to spy on the chancellor again.

Further Reading

Macron, Merkel demand explanations from US, Denmark over spying report (France24)

Danish secret service helped US spy on Germany’s Angela Merkel: report (DW)

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