BRUSSELS: The European Parliament has asked for full clarification about the latest disclosure that the US has spied on European Union offices both in the US and in Europe, warning EU-US relations would be severely affected.
“I am deeply worried and shocked about the allegations of US authorities spying on EU offices,” said the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz in a statement on Sunday.
“If the allegations prove to be true, it would be an extremely serious matter which will have a severe impact on EU-US relations. 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 added.
EU commissioner for justice, Viviane Reding, also said that free-trade discussions between the EU and the US should be stopped until US officials provide full explanations about the reports.
On Saturday, a German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel, reported that the US National Security Agency has spied on EU offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and the heart of Europe, Brussels.
The German magazine said the revelations were based upon a September 2010 “top secret” NSA document obtained by American whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Der Spiegel also revealed on Sunday that the US spy agency taps 500 million phone calls, emails, and text messages in Germany in a typical month.
Germany’s justice minister has called for an immediate explanation from Washington, saying the US spying was reminiscent of “the methods used by enemies during the Cold War”.
Other documents disclosed by Snowden also blew the lid on two other NSA spying programs, one for gathering US phone records and another, called PRISM, for tracking the use of US-based web servers by American citizens and other nationals.
Washington has charged Snowden, who is currently in the transit zone of a Moscow airport, with espionage.
According to former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, espionage means giving “classified information to the enemy” and since Snowden “shared information with the American people,” the US government views US citizens “as the enemy”.