Latest Twist in Edward Snowden Saga: NSA Bugged the European Union and UN

By Knickerbocker, Brad | The Christian Science Monitor, June 30, 2013 | Go to article overview

Latest Twist in Edward Snowden Saga: NSA Bugged the European Union and UN


Knickerbocker, Brad, The Christian Science Monitor


The saga of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden took several more twists over the weekend as new revelations about US electronic snooping emerged.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that the NSA had bugged European Union offices and gained access to EU internal computer networks where it was able to read documents and emails. United Nations offices were similarly targeted, reports Der Spiegel based on information provided by Mr. Snowden.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, said that if the report was correct, it would have a "severe impact" on relations between the EU and the United States, reports Reuters.

"On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations," he said in an emailed statement.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn told Der Spiegel: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting. The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies. We must get a guarantee from the very highest level now that this stops immediately."

Snowden himself remains in what amounts to protective custody at the airport in Moscow - unable to leave a transit hotel because he doesn't have a Russian visa, unwilling at this point to return to the United States to face espionage charges, stuck there because no third country has yet to offer him asylum. As of Sunday, Snowden had been at the airport in Moscow for a week - a sort of "man without a country" (or at least without a proper US passport, since his has been invalidated).

For a while, it seemed, Snowden was headed to Ecuador (by way of Cuba), the country that has provided refuge to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London. But Ecuador appears to be having second thoughts about that; at least it seems to have created a Catch-22 situation by announcing that it can't consider asylum for Snowden until he presents himself in the country.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden has kept up official US pressure - urging Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in a telephone conversation Friday to reject any application for political asylum from Snowden.

"As in all of our communications with foreign governments regarding Edward Snowden, we have advised the government of Ecuador of the felony charges against Mr. …

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