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European outrage over U.S. spying claims

Posting in Government

European officials have reacted angrily to reports that the U.S. has been spying on its allies in the European Union.

The latest NSA-related leak comes from German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which reported that American agencies have spied on E.U. offices in New York and Washington.

According to documents obtained from former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward J. Snowden, the U.S. has been watching its allies through data mining on computer networks, antennas, bugs and listening devices.

British newspaper The Guardian has reported that targets include the French, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Greek Embassies.

The aim of such eavesdropping is to gather insider knowledge on policy differences and be aware of potential political disputes.

The president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said that he was "deeply worried and shocked" by the reports.

Defending its surveillance policies, U.S. officials say that the country gathers the same kinds of intelligence as other nations to safeguard against foreign terror threats, according to the Associated Press.

The allegations come just before the E.U. and U.S. are due to begin talks on an important trans-Atlantic trade agreement. E.U. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said:

"Partners do not spy on each other. We cannot negotiate over a big trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators. The American authorities should eliminate any such doubt swiftly."

Read More: New York Times

Image credit: CNET

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— By on June 30, 2013, 8:09 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure