Wednesday

19th Jun 2019

NSA said to have spied on leaders at Danish climate summit

  • The then Danish PM Lokke Rasmussen and delegates at the COP15 meeting in 2009 (Photo: Image.net)

The US intelligence agency is said to have spied on leaders at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate change summit in an effort to gain strategic advantage on the decision-making process.

A top secret National Security Agency (NSA) document from whistleblower Edward Snowden, published jointly by the Huffington Post and the Danish daily newspaper Information on Wednesday (29 January), reveal the so-called “Five Eyes” snooping club of English-speaking nations were working together to spy on other government’s leaders and policy-makers at the summit.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The documents notes that “analysts here at NSA, as well as our second party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries' preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

Second party partners refer to intelligence agencies from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The two-week summit - US president Barack Obama's first climate change meeting - was billed as a major event aimed to cut global CO2 emissions but ended up as a five-page non-binding agreement seen as a victory for rich industrialised nations.

NSA-led signals intelligence, which intercepts telephone calls and emails, was used to “play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the 2-week event,” notes the document.

The information was then fed to US negotiators to keep them clued in on “intense last-minute policy formulating” as well as on side-discussions among and between other climate representatives.

The US is not alone in snooping on leaders at summits.

The Guardian newspaper last June reported that the UK’s GCHQ set up fake internet cafes and intercepted telephone communications of foreign leaders at two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009.

Obama earlier this month in a speech said he would not spy on leaders considered to be close allies "unless there is a compelling national security purpose.”

But the steady stream of revelations since last June has since eroded EU trust towards the US.

In a speech to the German Bundestag on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticised the scope of US intelligence gathering.

"Can it be right that in the end it isn't about defence against terrorism but about, for instance, gaining advantages over allies in negotiations at G-20 summits or United Nations meetings? Our answer can only be 'no', that can't be right," she said.

But the chancellor said the US would remain a close ally and a strategic partner, despite the revelations.

MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower

Ana Gomes, a socialist MEP from Portugal, has accused national authorities of erring on the side of corruption by detaining a whistleblower who helped expose tax evasion by some of Europe's biggest football stars.

Europol busts global cybercrime gang

A loose network of cyber criminals recruited from an online Russian forum managed to infect thousands of computers in an effort to steal online banking credentials. The gang has been dismantled, with some now on the run.

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

News in Brief

  1. New socialist group leader to push for Timmermans
  2. Romanian ex-PM frontrunner to head new liberal group
  3. France, Germany and Spain in fighter jet deal
  4. Tusk grilled in Poland over role as PM
  5. Italy is 'most credible' US partner in EU, says Salvini
  6. EU blames Sudan junta for killings and rapes
  7. Report: EU may suspend Turkey customs union talks
  8. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction
  2. Frontex transparency dispute goes to EU court
  3. Commission goes easy on scant national climate plans
  4. Macron and Mogherini decline to back US accusation on Iran
  5. EU summit must give effective answer on migration
  6. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  7. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  8. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us