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A 2013 protest in Berlin against NSA spying.

A 2013 protest in Berlin against NSA spying. (Photo: Thielker/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Biden 'Well-Prepared to Answer for This,' Says Snowden After Report Denmark Helped US Spy on Merkel

The whistleblower wrote that Biden "was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around."

Andrea Germanos

Denmark helped the United States spy on senior European officials including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European media reported Sunday. 

Danish state broadcaster DR reported that nine unnamed sources viewed an internal classified report from the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) on its 2015 investigation into its relationship with the National Security Agency. The report covered 2012-2014, when Joe Biden was vice president in the Obama administration.

Disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 revealed that the NSA was spying on world leaders including Merkel. The Sunday reporting, a collaboration that included Swedish public broadcaster SVT, Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung, NDR, WDR, and France's Le Monde, reveals Denmark's abetting of the surveillance.

Other German targets of the surveillance included then-chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück and former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"The media reports describe a system of Danish-American cooperation used to surveil and stock data from underwater internet cables. DR reports that a data center was even built for that purpose at a Danish intelligence facility on the island of Amager, south of Copenhagen," Politico EU reported.

"Through targeted retrievals and the use of NSA-developed analysis software known as Xkeyscore," Reuters added, "NSA intercepted both calls, texts, and chat messages to and from telephones of officials in the neighboring countries, sources told DR."

Responding to the revelations, Steinbrück told ARD it was "grotesque that friendly intelligence services are indeed intercepting and spying on top representatives" of other countries.

According to Snowden, President Joe "Biden is well-prepared to answer for this when he soon visits Europe since, of course, he was deeply involved in this scandal the first time around."

"There should be an explicit requirement for full public disclosure not only from Denmark, but their senior partner as well," Snowden tweeted.

Snowden is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act—the charges were brought by Obama's Justice Department—and has been living in Russia.

Previous reporting showed that Denmark had approved a U.S. request for a rendition plane to land in Copenhagen in June 2013 to nab Snowden, who had fled Hong Kong.

Reuters also reported in 2013 that Biden had a call with then-Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa asking him not to grant asylum to Snowden, who had sought the protection from the Latin American country.


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