Europe Angered By News Of NSA Spying On EU Offices

Europe Angered By News Of NSA Spying On EU OfficesEuropean officials reacted with fury Sunday to a report that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on EU offices. The European Union warned that if the report is accurate, it will have tremendous repercussions.

‘Electronic eavesdropping operation’

The outrage from European officials over the weekend was the latest fallout since Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency computer contractor, started spilling details of U.S. surveillance programs to reporters earlier this month.

Citing information from secret documents obtained by Snowden, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday that several U.S. spying operations targeted European Union leaders. Der Spiegel said it had “in part seen” documents from Snowden that describe how the National Security Agency bugged EU officials’ Washington and New York offices and conducted an “electronic eavesdropping operation” that tapped into a EU building in Brussels, Belgium.


‘Seeking asylum’

The Guardian newspaper reported that one NSA document leaked by Snowden describes 38 embassies and missions as “targets” and details surveillance methods that include planting bugs in communications equipment and collecting transmissions with specialized antennae. Targets included France, Italy, Greece, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey, according to The Guardian.

Snowden has revealed himself as the source of documents outlining a massive effort by the NSA to track cell phone calls and monitor the e-mail and Internet traffic of virtually all Americans. Critics slam him as a traitor. Supporters hail him as a hero. Now Snowden, who faces espionage charges in the United States, is in Russia and seeking asylum from Ecuador.

Do you believe the NSA was really spying on EU offices? What impact could this report have on the relations between the U.S. and Europe?

Source: Josh Levs and Catherine E. Shoichet | CNN

Image: International Business Times

Ecuador: U.K. Threatened To Arrest Wikileaks Founder Inside Embassy

Ecuador has accused the UK of making a “threat” to enter its embassy in London to arrest Wikileaks’ Julian Assange. Mr Assange took refuge at the embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over assault and rape claims, which he denies.

The Wikileaks website published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments, particularly the US, in 2010, and Mr Assange says he fears Sweden will pass him on to the American authorities.

At a news conference in Quito on Wednesday, Ecuador foreign minister Ricardo  Patino said a letter from the UK government was delivered through a British embassy official: “Today we received from the United Kingdom an express threat, in writing, that they might storm our Embassy in London if we don’t hand over Julian Assange,” he said. He said such a threat was “improper of a democratic, civilised and rule abiding country”.


A Foreign Office spokesman said the UK remained “determined” to fulfill its obligation to extradite Mr Assange. Police have so far been unable to detain Mr Assange for breaching the terms of his bail as he is on diplomatic territory. The law Britain has informed Ecuador it could use in the case is the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. It allows the UK to revoke the diplomatic status of an embassy on UK soil, which would potentially allow police to enter the building to arrest Mr Assange.

In 2010, two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers alleged that Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, had attacked them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture. Mr Assange claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated. He says he is concerned he may be sent later to the US to face espionage charges. In June, judges at the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed his final appeal against extradition to Sweden.

Should Ecuador just hand over Julian Assange to avoid more conflict? Do you think the Wikileaks founder is guilty of the assault and rape charges he is currently facing?

Source: BBC News

Image: Reuters